Antrim lose high-scoring encounter in Longford

Ruairi McCann was again among the goals for Antrim
Ruairi McCann was again among the goals for Antrim Ruairi McCann was again among the goals for Antrim

Allianz Football League Division Three round seven

Longford 3-17 Antrim 3-12

IN a game with nothing at stake, already-relegated Longford produced a fine performance to record their first win of the campaign in the final game. 

Despite both counties playing for just pride there were some fantastic scores in a game that was played in a good sporting manner. Both Andy McEntee and Paddy Christie made several changes to their starting 15 named before the game. 

Longford made a great start to the game and were ahead by eight points after 13 minutes of play, Keelin McGann with his, and his side’s, first goal in the 13th minute.

Antrim’s first real attack yielded a goal with Colm McLarnon racing through before firing to the net. 

Two minutes later, Ruairi McCann got Antrim’s second goal to cut the gap to two points. Both sides exchanged points before Longford hit a purple patch again before the break, with full-forward Daire O’Brien hitting over three marks and a fine point from play. The Midlanders held a six-point half-time lead – 1-13 to 2-4.

Longford extended their lead further in the 40th minute when Darragh Doherty picked up possession about 40 metres out from goal and soloed through before hitting a terrific strike past Ronan Hanna.

There were seven between the sides when Dylan Farrell fired over a free in the 50th minute but Antrim were back in the game in the 52nd minute when Patrick McCormick found the back of the net with a fine finish.

Patrick McBride followed up with a point to cut the deficit to three in the 53rd minute. Once again the Longford response was excellent with Doherty and Darren Gallagher (free) firing over points before McGann hit a fine effort for Longford’s third goal in the 63rd minute.

Antrim weren’t giving up yet with Odhrán Eastwood, McCann and Peter Healy kicking over points to leave four between the sides entering stoppage time. 

Dylan Farrell then hit over a superb free in stoppage time before the Saffrons were awarded a free with the last play. With Longford crowding the goals, McCann’s effort was blocked and tipped over the bar for a point and the last score of the game. 

Attention now turns to the Championship for Andy McEntee and Antrim, and their Ulster preliminary-round game with Armagh on April the 8. 

Longford M Hughes; P Fox (0-1), A Farrell, Byran Masterson; P Lynn, M Quinn (0-1),P Foy; T McNevin, F Sheridan (0-1); K McGann (2-2), D Doherty (1-2), O Kenny (0-2,0-2 frees); A Farrell; D O’Brien (0-4, 0-3m), D Farrell (0-4,0-3 frees, 0-1 ‘45)

Subs J Kiernan for Sheridan (49), R Harkin for Quinn (53), D Gallagher (0-1,0-1 free) for Kenny (61), C Keenan for Doherty (63), Daniel Reynolds for O’Brien (65)

Yellow cards: K McGann (64)

Antrim R Hanna; E McCabe, D Lynch, J McAuley; P McCormick (1-1), B McCormick, M Jordan; C McLarnon (1-1), J Dowling; C Hynds, R McCann (1-4,0-4 frees), P McBride (0-1); D McEnhill, S McGarry, O Eastwood (0-2)

Subs P Finnegan for Hynds, R Murray (0-2,0-2frees) for McGarry and P Healy (0-1) for McCabe (h-t), L Mulholland for Hanna (47), J Finnegan for Lynch (51)

Yellow cards E McCabe 31, B McCormick 70+2

Referee  McKenna (Monaghan)