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Longford Claim Minor Title

May 21st, 2024

Longford 0-15 Dublin 1-10 AET

By Kevin Egan at Glenisk O’Connor Park

Longford’s fifth Leinster minor title and their first since 2010 will live long in the memory of the roughly 2,000 people that were there to see it in Tullamore, as they produced a performance of incredible heart and resilience to hang in there against an athletic and talented Dublin side. Dublin will rue a series of missed goal chances over the course of 80 incredible minutes of action.

While Enda McGahern’s men were never out of the game, they took their only lead through an excellent finish from Luke Donnelly, but were soon chasing the game after Senan Bolger palmed in the game’s only goal for Dublin.

It wasn’t the only time that Dublin found their way through the Longford defence, as players like Ryan Ennis, Killian Costello and Charlie Loughran were incredible fast and slick on the ball around the middle third, but despite moving 1-4 to 0-3 ahead at the break, they will feel that they could easily have added one or two more goals to their tally.

For their part, Conor McHugh and TG4 man of the match Mark Cooney were outstanding along the spine of the Longford defence, winning a series of key turnovers, but the scores just didn’t come as easily to them, even when they enjoyed plenty of possession.

James Hagan and Doherty kicked the first two points of the second half before Karl O’Hara brought them within one, but they couldn’t quite get on level terms. Dublin continued to run the ball very well and it felt like they had done enough when they led by three points with just over ten minutes remaining in a contest that up to that point, had just 13 scores registered.

Longford’s character started to come to the fore, however, with Ben Blessington sending over a haymaker of a point, Luke Doherty striking well to follow up and captain Mark Cooney playing the hero with an outstanding free kick to send the game to overtime.

Again Dublin looked to have the upper hand early with points from substitutes Finn Costello and Cillian McCabe, the former benefiting from a subtle but incredibly clever flick of the ball from Senan Bolger, but Liam Greene crowned a wonderful team move to reduce the gap to one by the turnaround, and it felt like all the energy was on Longford’s side on the back of that score.

For the last 10 minutes, they were rampant, winning nearly every breaking ball and coming up with heroic blocks, particularly one from Seán Fagan, on the rare occasion that Dublin did mount an attack. Cian O’Donnell kicked two wonder points and an historic night for Longford football was crowned when Karl O’Hara capitalised on Joseph Hagan’s good work on a fast break to clinch a memorable win with the last attack of the game.

Scorers for Longford: James Hagan 0-3 (2fs), Luke Donnelly 0-3, Karl O’Hara 0-2, Cian O’Donnell 0-2, Alan Mimnagh 0-1, Ben Blessington 0-1, Mark Cooney 0-1f, Cormac Flynn 0-1, Liam Greene 0-1.

Scorers for Dublin: Rían Doherty 0-6 (5fs), Senan Bolger 1-0, Ryan Ennis 0-1, Charlie Loughran 0-1, Finn Costello 0-1, Cillian McCabe.

Longford: James Ross; Conor McHugh, Darragh Mulligan, Alan Mimnagh; Conor Doherty, Mark Cooney, Ben Blessington; Seán Fagan, Peter Farrell; Cormac Flynn, Cian O’Donnell, James Shannon; James Hagan, Joshua Marsh, Luke Donnelly.

Subs: Oisín Kane for Flynn (24), Karl O’Hara for O’Donnell (37), Keelan Hudson for Shannon (47), Michael Glennon for Mimnagh (56), Cian O’Donnell for Marsh (56), Cormac Flynn for Farrell (full-time), Liam Greene for Kane (66), Joshua Marsh for Fagan (80).

Dublin: Finn McDonnell; Jack O’Keeffe, Dara O‘Sullivan, Shane Devane; Josh Kennedy, Finn McGinnis, Ryan Ennis; Cian Gavin, Killian Costello; Charlie Loughran, Senan Bolger, Donach Magee; Danny McGill, Fintan Lydon, Rían Doherty.

Subs: Finn Costello for Gavin (37), Cillian McCabe for Lydon (39), Eoghan O’Donovan for Devane (51), Cian Gavin for Costello (67), Jack McNair for Ennis (half-time in ET), Hugh O’Neill for Doherty (half-time in ET), Shane Devane for Kennedy (79).

Referee: Darragh Byrne (Wicklow).

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