Determined Slashers cut Clonguish down to size to retain title
Longford Slashers 0-7 Clonguish 0-6
Longford Slashers bagged a second consecutive county title yesterday following a slender victory over Clonguish at Pearse Park.
The gale-force winds swirling around the Longford venue made football conditions extremely difficult but Slashers adjusted the better and registered the game's first point in the seventh minute.
The reigning champions held the initiative early on, converting three unanswered points before Clonguish got off the mark.
Man of the match Paul Kelly stamped his authority on proceedings, covering every blade of grass, while the sweeping Dermot Brady played a captain's role at the heart of their defence.
The game's solitary goal opportunity fell to Slashers midway through the first half as Adrian Murphy whipped a soccer-style pass into the Clonguish goalmouth.
Colin Smith quickly offloaded to Stephen Phillips but the full-forward pulled his shot wide of the posts.
As the weather conditions significantly worsened, so too did the standard of football. Despite having the wind advantage in the first half, Slashers failed to capitalise -- kicking a total of eight wides.
After the break, things failed to improve greatly. Clonguish -- led by the Barden brothers and Paddy Dowd -- endeavoured to improve their efforts and reduced the deficit back to two points -- unfortunately from their point of view this was as good as it got for the 2009 champions.
Six minutes had passed after the interval before Slashers opened their second-half account, Trevor Clendenning breaking through the Clonguish rearguard and fisting over a nicely taken point.
Eight minutes later, they completed their tally after Niall Mulligan played a ball into space and Aidan Murphy put three between the sides.
Clonguish, however, refused to accept defeat and if not for some wayward shooting, things may have panned out differently. Nevertheless, they did make it a very nervy finale after a converted free from Paddy Dowd put only one point between the sides.
Slashers, to their credit, kept rigidly to their game plan and battened down the hatches to secure back-to-back titles.
Scorers -- Longford Slashers: C Smith 0-4, P Brady, A Murphy, T Clendenning 0-1 each. Clonguish: P Dowd 0-4f, E Williams, D Barden 0-1 each.
Longford Slashers -- C Farrell; R Barrins, B Gileran, G Ghee; P Brady, D Brady, C Clarke; N Mulligan, D Sheridan; A Murphy, C Smith, T Clendenning; M Nevin, S Phillips, P Kelly.
Subs: S Flynn for Barrins (49), M Tarmey for Clarke (48), P Dobson for Murphy (54).
Clonguish -- S Watters; B Burke, J O'Brien, A Watters; C McGuire, E Williams, P Cooney; D Barden, P Dowd; J O'Brien, P Barden, B Devine; C Williams, D Faughan, K Burke. Subs: N O'Reilly for C McGuire (h-t), J Dowd for D Faughnan (49).
Ref -- F Toher (Killoe)