LONGFORD 3-13 LOUTH 0-12
Kevin Egan at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park
A hat-trick of goals from Dessie Reynolds powered Longford to a comprehensive win over Louth in this afternoon’s O’Byrne Cup final, as Paddy Christie’s side overwhelmed the Wee County with a wonderful display of attacking football at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, picking up their fourth ever win in this competition.
The introduction of Sam Mulroy as a late replacement on the Louth side suggested that Mickey Harte was keen for his side to put their best foot forward, with Bevan Duffy and Ryan Burns among the players that were brought in to make the first start of the year.
They hit the ground running too, with Burns firing over an immaculate strike from the left wing and Mulroy following up with a long distance free, both struck into the light breeze.
The contest changed however when Craig Lennon lost his footing coming out of the Louth back line, and once Mickey Quinn pounced to snaffle up the loose ball, possession was worked into Reynolds for the first of his three goals.
Again Louth settled about their work and they briefly retook the lead at 0-6 to 1-2, with Sam Mulroy running riot up front, while Oisín McGuinness caught the eye with a spectacular strike for the lead score.
Longford’s control of the Louth kickout and their simple, direct kicking game was to really come to bear in the 20 minutes either side of the half however, as they outscored Louth by 2-9 to 0-3 in that period.
Darren Gallagher and Fergal Sheridan were imperious in the middle, Iarla O’Sullivan and Joseph Hagan got through a mountain of work on the wings and up front, David McGivney and Reynolds seemed to be able to win their own ball most of the time, regardless of whether it came in high or low. Their finishing was mixed – Longford also racked up nine wides – but with the chances flowing freely, it never looked like they would pay for their profligacy.
1-7 to 0-7 at the break, Louth made a solid start to the second half with points from Mulroy and Jay Hughes either side of a McGivney free, but that all changed when Daniel Mimnagh and McGivney scored in quick succession, and then yet another error in the Louth backline allowed O’Sullivan to play in Reynolds, and the Seán Connollys clubman duly placed a perfect low shot inside Martin McEneaney’s near post.
Louth tried to rally but they struggled to get separation up front, with Andrew Farrell and captain Barry O’Farrell producing several turnovers for Longford, and the contest was settled when one of several excellent diagonal deliveries into the Louth parallelogram was fielded by Dessie Reynolds and rifled into the top corner of the net.
A dismal afternoon for Louth was rounded off when they were awarded a late penalty that was sent high and wide by Mulroy, ensuring that they will feel that they have a lot of work to do ahead of a devilishly tough tie in Ennis next Sunday.
For Longford, who face a much shorter trip up the road to Enniskillen, spirits will be high as they celebrate their silverware, and the spectacular fashion in which it was secured.
Scorers for Longford: Dessie Reynolds 3-3, David McGivney 0-4 (0-2f), Darren Gallagher 0-3 (0-2 45s), Fergal Sheridan 0-1, Daniel Mimnagh 0-1, Michael Quinn 0-1.
Scorers for Louth: Sam Mulroy 0-6 (0-3f, 0-1 45), Jay Hughes 0-2, Ryan Burns 0-1, Tom Gray 0-1, Oisín McGuinness 0-1, Conall McCaul 0-1.
Longford: Paddy Collum; Barry O’Farrell, Andrew Farrell, Ryan Moffett; Peter Lynn, Gary Rogers, Iarla O’Sullivan; Fergal Sheridan, Darren Gallagher; Dylan Farrell, Joe Hagan, Michael Quinn; Dessie Reynolds, Daniel Mimnagh, David McGivney.
Subs: Aaron Farrell for D Farrell (56), Robbie Smyth for Quinn (61), James McGivney for Mimnagh (64), Jack Macken for Reynolds (66), Peter Foy for O’Sullivan (68), Brian Masterson for Lynn (68), Rúairí Harkin for Rogers (68), Tadhg McNevin for Gallagher (70), Conor Keenan for Hagan (70), Jayson Matthews for D McGivney (70).
Louth: Martin McEneaney; Alan Connor, Bevan Duffy, Páraic McKenny; Oisín McGuinness, Liam Jackson, Craig Lennon; Tommy Durnin, Conall McCaul; Shane Matthews, Ciarán Keenan, Ryan Burns; Jay Hughes, Sam Mulroy, Tom Gray.
Subs: Niall Sharkey for Lennon (41), Gerard Browne for McKenny (54), Jack Murphy for Matthews (64), Conor Clarke for Connor (66), Evan Maher for McCaul (68)
Referee: Keith O’Brien (Westmeath)