Longford wanted Rackard win more than Tyrone - John Devlin
Nicky Rackard Cup round 2B: Longford 4-18 Tyrone 3-17
TYRONE selector John Devlin admitted Longford wanted the win more after his side were beaten by the midlanders in the Nicky Rackard Cup.
Devlin said: “We were a bit loose in the first-half. Longford were hungrier for the ball and wanted the game more, that’s the bottom line. Hopefully, we can regroup and not get relegated and come again next year.”
Tyrone now face into a relegation play-off with Fermanagh, a team they defeated in the league promotion/relegation play-off a few weeks ago: “I suppose you could say we robbed them in the relegation play-off. We’ll train and then see where we can go from there. We have to not get relegated,” added Devlin.
Three goals were scored in a frantic opening 15 minutes - Matthew Mulgrew got Tyrone’s, while Paddy Farrington grabbed two for Longford. His first put Longford ahead for the first time in the game in the eighth minute and it was a lead they didn’t relinquish.
Despite carrying an injury, Damian Casey kept Tyrone very much in the game, with fantastic accuracy from deadballs. Longford were ahead by seven points in the 31st minute, but a goal from Ryan McKernan left four between them at the break, 4-10 to 3-9.
There were no goals in the second-half, but the game was still played at a hectic pace. Longford built up a six-point lead in the 46th minute, but Tyrone responded with three points from Casey (one free) and an Aidan Kelly effort that cut the gap to two in the 51st minute.
Both Casey and Longford’s Joe O’Brien traded frees as the game remained in the melting pot with five minutes remaining. Farrington hit over two fine points for Longford to give them a cushion. Casey replied for Tyrone, but they couldn’t get that fourth goal and, in stoppage-time, Paddy Corcoran got an insurance point for Longford.
Devlin believes Tyrone will have to improve if they are to stay in the Nicky Rackard: “They are good enough players there to retain the status. There needs to be more effort put in. There are too many excuses. You get what you deserve at times.”
Longford boss Ray Gavin is looking forward to the quarter-final, with no pressure on his side at all: “We are in bonus territory. We have nothing to lose. I’m delighted for the group and the county. We look forward to next week with renewed hope again,” he said.
Longford: R Murray; G Moore, K Murray, J Gaffney; J Mulhern, B Hanley, P Walsh (0-1); M Coyle, J Casey; K Cox, K Conneely (1-1), P Corcoran (0-1); Starman J O’Brien (0-9, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ’65), P Farrington (2-2), C Mullane (1-4).
Tyrone: C McElhalton, C McNally (0-1), C Cross, D Rafferty; T Morgan (0-1), J Kelly, M O’Gorman; A Kelly (0-2), R McKernan (1-0); Conor Grogan (0-1), D Casey (1-11, 0-6 frees, 0-1 ’65), S O’Grogan; M Mulgrew (1-0), Sean Muldoon, Gerard Gilmore (0-1); Subs: L Armstrong for S Muldoon (33), E O’Sullivan for D Rafferty (59).
Referee: J Heffernan (Wexford).