Full-time: Longford 2-9 Wexford 0-15
All square was about fair in Croke Park after a fine game of football. Contrasting styles made for a fascinating afternoon as Longford stayed deep and broke fast while Wexford kept possession while prodding and poking in the hope of finding a gap. In the end it took a Sean McCormack free with the last kick of the game to save Glenn Ryan’s side. As for those who starred, Paul Barden netted twice, Brian Kavanagh had a fine first half before going out of it after the restart while Adrian Flynn kicked five points from play from wing-back. We’re already looking forward to the replay.
13.48 – Welcome to a cold and wet and windy Croke Park for Leinster quarter-final day. On top of that it is largely deserted and it’s really a stupid venue for a game of this nature. Last week we saw how a provincial venue like Dr Cullen Park is ideal for these match-ups as a small crowd creates a great atmosphere. Not here though.
13.50 – Anyway, rant over, on to the first game of the day and it’s a rematch of the Division Three final. Longford beat Wexford there as they did in the round-robin stages. Can they make it three in a row?
13.55 – With the teams warming up, here’s a quick look at those teams and there are a couple of changes to the Wexford line-up with Conor Carty and Lee Chin in for David Murphy and Colm Morris.
LONGFORD D Sheridan; D Brady, B Gilleran, D Reilly; C Smith, M Quinn, S Mulligan; B McElvanney, J Keegan; D Barden, P Barden, N Mulligan; D McElligott, B Kavanagh, S McCormack
13.57 – Chin comes into a half-back line that will be game-deciding. Graeme Molloy is a serious full-back yet Wexford have been hugely leaky at the back so far this season because of that half-back line. With two Bardens facing them, they’ll have to contain them to progress.
13.59 – As for other key areas, Wexford will expect to take over at midfield with Rory Quinlivan back. If they do get on top, Michael Quinn may have to move there from his number six position and that will open room up for Shane Roche and Ben Brosnan. Closer to goal Ciaran Lyng is always dangerous but needs help here from Eric Bradley and Red Barry.
14.00 – We are about to get underway. As for a more complete preview, you can read it here. http://thescore.thejournal.ie/togging-out-here%E2%80%99s-the-weekend%E2%80%99s-football-championship-previews-2-471486-Jun2012/
14.04 – 1 minutes, Longford 0-1 Wexford 0-0: Fine score from Brian Kavanagh gets things moving. Lovely point around the corner in difficult conditions. He’ll be expected to have a big game in a season where he looks the player who thrilled us three of four years back.
14.06 – 4 minutes, Longford 0-1 Wexford 0-1: As for the other marquee forward, it’s Ciaran Lyng who gets Wexford on the board. We expected that from him but crucially it was Red Barry finding space for the assist. As for style, Longford are sitting deep, Eric Bradley has gone out deep and Shane Roche is playing closer to goal.
14.10 – 8 minutes, Longford 0-2 Wexford 0-2: Adrian Flynn finds some space as Longford defend deep and in numbers but it still took a great finish from the outside of the boot. Wexford are already getting the better of midfield in a half where they are playing into the wind. They are patient with possession too as they’ll have to be against a defensive system. Meanwhile at the other end, Longford are direct. They’ve few forwards in Wexford territory but they don’t need many with Brian Kavanagh finishing like that. His second and it’s as close as we expected.
14.14 – 13 minutes, Longford 0-2 Wexford 0-3: With Longford back in numbers it is allowing Wexford’s wing-backs to get into scoring positions. Adrian Flynn this time finds space after a late run from the deep and that’s a great score. His eye is in.
14.18 – 1 minutes, Longford 0-3 Wexford 0-3: We talked about how good a man-marker Graeme Molloy is yet Brian Kavanagh has just kicked his third point. Very hard to keep tabs on that though, he was way out the field but that’s straight over the bar.
14.21 – 18 minutes, Longford 0-4 Wexford 0-3: We wouldn’t quite call this Chelsea-Barcelona but you can see where we are going. Longford are happy to let Wexford have the ball in safe positions, but when they do turn it over they are breaking quick and there is room inside for Kavanagh because of the two-man full-forward line. They win a free here and hit the front through Sean McCormack who has been a revelation from dead balls this year.
14.26 – 21 minutes, Longford 0-4 Wexford 0-3: We see there how Longford expect to win this. They turn the ball over thanks to great work from Dermot Brady, Paul Barden breaks into space but a goal chance for Sean McCormack is saved. Niall Mulligan too has a goal chance minutes later but puts it high and wide. They still lead though, as do Down in the north who are off to a good start and lead Fermanagh 0-4 to 0-2 in Brewster Park.
14.28 – 25 minutes, Longford 0-4 Wexford 0-4: Ben Brosnan free there. And they needed the free because Longford are defending so well, they can’t get a shot off in open play. It’s actually enjoyable viewing. Styles make fights and this is a good one.
14.31 – 30 minutes, Longford 1-4 Wexford 0-5: Ciaran Lyng with another close-range free. But there’s a penalty for Longford at the other end. Niall Mulligan makes a break, lovely side-step and one-two with Sean McCormack and he’s taken down by Daithi Waters when through on goal. Paul Barden slots it home. Big score in a close game and needed for Longford too because they do have a breeze at their backs.
14.33 – 32 minutes, Longford 1-5 Wexford 0-5: That is class by Brian Kavanagh. He gets out in front of Molloy, cuts back leaving his marker dead, and hammers it over with complete confidence. His fourth from play. All Star nomination on the way for him (and we say that based on the season as opposed to the day).
14.35 – 33 minutes, Longford 1-5 Wexford 0-6: Equally good score from Eric Bradley but Wexford are having to take on difficult shots each and every time.
14.38 – Half-time, Longford 1-6 Wexford 0-7: There is one big problem with Longford’s tactics, it has allowed the Wexford wing-backs to overlap and Adrian Flynn again from the outside of the boot hits his third. David Barden needs to get on the back foot as well as the front foot and trek back. But Longford have finished the half with a score as Sean McCormack puts over a free.
14.40 – Cup of coffee time but that is a really fascinating game out there. Hugely enjoyable and the second half will be intriguing as both styles will be tested as Wexford will have the wind at their backs and may be able to point from distance and avoid the Longford blanket defence while playing into that wind may assist the Longord diagonal ball into their inside forward line of Kavanagh and McCormack.
14.57 – We are back underway here.
14.59 – 37 minutes, Longford 1-6 Wexford 0-8: Good start to the second half by Wexford. Loads of intent and a score from Red Barry. Fine effort. They are still getting the better of midfield too. How long before Michael Quinn has to move out to centrefield?
15.03 – 39 minutes, Longford 1-6 Wexford 0-10: Adrian Flynn has his side back level as he heads for Man of the March. And it’s interesting that the one criticism of Longford in a great season is their inability to put two good halves together. They’ll need to here if they are to head to a semi-final. But it’s Flynn with his fifth from play. That one from way out.
15.04 – On a side note, PJ Banville is on for Conor Carty who was a late replacement before throw-in for Colm Morris.
15.06 – 43 minutes, Longford 2-6 Wexford 0-10: What a brilliant goal by Paul Barden. Holds off an Adrian Flynn tackle and from 14 yards and a horrible angle, he lashes the ball to the roof of the net. As good as it is important.
15.08 – 47 minutes, Longford 2-7 Wexford 0-10: David Barden should have a goal as well but his shot is right at the keeper after nice work by the Longford half-forward line. But there is the consolation of Niall Mulligan slotting over. Longford going through a purple patch here.
15.12 – 48 minutes, Longford 2-7 Wexford 0-11: Part of the reason Ben Brosnan is an All Star there for all to see. He kicks a free from outside the 45. Lovely striker of the ball, although he’s struggled to play-make thus far as he did throughout 2011. However, he’s working extremely hard and is back defending now.
15.13 – 37 minutes, Longford 2-7 Wexford 0-12: Damien Sheridan has looked oddly uncomfortable under a high ball today and he struggles to tap a high Red Barry shot just over. Back come Wexford. Anyone’s game.
15.19 – 59 minutes, Longford 2-8 Wexford 0-12: Sean McCormack’s game has developed so much under Glenn Ryan. He drops a shoulder there, turns his man and slots over. Bringing more to the game than just his free-taking and offering a genuine alternative to Brian Kavanagh when it comes to diagonal ball in.
15.21 – 61 minutes, Longford 2-8 Wexford 0-13: Extra-time anyone? Ciaran Lyng point after a sweet pass by PJ Banville. As an aside, games in Connacht and Ulster starting shortly and not that The Score would promote gambling or take responsibility for losses but Leitrim for an outright win and Down -2 have already seen us empty some of our account.
15.26 – 64 minutes, Longford 2-8 Wexford 0-13: Colm Morris, that old dog for the hard road, is on for Rory Quinlivan as we head down the stretch. Summer largely at stake here over the next five minutes.
15.27 – 65 minutes, Longford 2-8 Wexford 0-14: Ben Brosnan with a lovely free from close to the Cusack Stand touchline. Longford look a little nervous right now.
15.31 – 69 minutes, Longford 2-8 Wexford 0-15: The most unlikely of heroes. Debut corner-back Rob Tierney comes from nowhere to take a Ciaran Lyng pass and slots over.
15.32 – We’ll have two minutes of injury-time for Longford to save their provincial campaign.
15.35 – Full-time, Longford 2-9 Wexford 0-15: Sean McCormack draws the sides level for the seventh and final time with a free from in front of the posts but what will Jason Ryan think of the defending. They should never have turned over ball, even if it was tireless work from Bernard McElvaney.