THEY hung on by the skin of their teeth in the end, only scoring twice -- both frees -- in the entire second half.
But that was enough for Longford to clinch back-to-back league titles and also settle an additional score for the newly minted Division 3 football champions.
After climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand for a second consecutive year, their captain Paul Barden spoke candidly. "We were a bit disappointed last year," he said. "We won a trophy (Division 4), but everyone said Roscommon were preparing for the championship. That annoyed us a bit."
There were certainly no conspiracy theories after Saturday night's victory before a tiny but vocal crowd of 7,514.
Manager Glenn Ryan looked cool afterwards, but surely sweated buckets as the clock ticked down.
"You're not going to get a perfect 70 minutes out of any team," he said. "The second half was disappointing but, by God, the overriding feeling at the moment is delight," he grinned.
Perfection pretty much summed up Longford's first half when they tore into a sensational 10-point (1-10 to 0-3) lead. But they got sucked into a defensive vortex then, which saw them outscored by 0-2 to 0-10, and their advantage dwindled alarmingly to just three points with four minutes of normal time remaining.
Wexford's Ciaran Lyng had a 25-metre free in the dying stages, which he might have used to probe for an equalising goal, but manager Jason Ryan had no quibbles with his decision to point it.
"If a score presents itself, you take it and hopefully then you'll create another one because you really never know how much additional time you're going to get," he said.
In fairness, there were many other Wexford players who took a lot worse options earlier in the game, especially in that first-half horror-fest, when they scored a paltry 0-3.
Their first point, a Lyng free, didn't come until the 12th minute; their first from play not until the 28th.
Much of the credit for tying up their star forwards had to go to Longford's brilliant defence, particularly the fullback line of Dermot Brady, Barry Gilleran and Declan Reilly.
Mickey Quinn, the young Aussie Rules returnee at centre-back, totally dominated the central channel in the first half, though he was helped hugely by the fact that Colm Morris was used so wide and deep.
The only time Glenn Ryan bristled afterwards was when asked how much Quinn's return from Oz last winter has improved his team.
"We can't start highlighting individuals. We're a small county and we've to get the best out of the lads we have, whether they're No 1 or 31," he insisted, stressing that they've benefited from several good minor and U-21 teams.
Yet, try as Longford will to deflect attention from the ex-Essendon starlet there will be no escaping it. He kicked two marvellous assists and, at one stage, while on his knees, had the presence of mind to transfer the ball to his other hand to get it away safely.
He has exceptionally good feet and balance for a big man and is a wonderful combination of strength, skill and vision, even if there is some debate as to his best position.
As Longford built up their unassailable lead, they had plenty of skill and vision upfront, too, from veteran captain Barden and, particularly, Sean McCormack, who kicked points off either foot in an impressive replica of his starring role at Croker last year.
Their manager deserved kudos for whipping off McCormack's young brother Padraig (19) soon after his yellow card. His replacement Paul Kelly goaled with his first touch off a brilliant Brian Kavanagh pass in first-half injury-time.
Wexford had injury problems and Niall Murphy and Ben Brosnan passed late fitness tests but were heavily strapped. Murphy limped off after 20 minutes and Brosnan looked short of match fitness. Things improved considerably when they introduced Paddy Byrne, Rory Quinlivan and Shane Roche. Once they started running at the Longford defence they got them on the back foot and started clocking up scores.
Longford shot nine of their 14 wides in the second half, when their only scores were two McCormack frees, and failed to score at all in the final 20 minutes. But in the last 10 minutes they kept their discipline well and Wexford were guilty of some bad decision-making.
Defeated manager Ryan insisted this lop-sided display was not a worry.
"We played very poorly in one half but were very positive and direct in the second and didn't let our heads drop. In the past when we've lost games, we usually come back better so hopefully we'll learn from this."
Scorers -- Longford: S McCormack 0-8 (6f), P Kelly 1-0, P Barden 0-3, B Kavanagh 0-1. Wexford: C Lyng 0-4 (3f), R Barry 0-3 (1f), S Roche 0-2, A Flynn, B Brosnan, E Bradley, PJ Banville 0-1 each.
Longford -- D Sheridan 8; D Brady 9, B Gilleran 9, D Reilly 8; CP Smyth 8, M Quinn 8, S Mulligan 8; B McElvaney 7, J Keegan 6; P McCormack 7, P Barden 8, N Mulligan 6; D McElligott 6, B Kavanagh 7, S McCormack 9. Subs: P Kelly 8 for P McCormack (36), J McGivney 6 for Mulligan (59), P Foy 6 for Keegan (67), F McGee for McElligot (70).
Wexford -- A Masterson 8; R Tierney 5, G Molloy 6, N Murphy 7; B Malone 7, D Murphy (capt) 6, A Flynn 7; A Shore 6, D Waters 6; E Bradley 7, PJ Banville 6, B Brosnan 6; R Barry 7, C Lyng 7, C Morris 5. Subs: L Chin 6 for Murphy (inj, 20), P Byrne 7 for Shore (45), R Quinlivan 8 for Brosnan (45), S Roche 8 for Morris (50), C Carty for Bradley (70).
REF -- C Lane (Cork).