Longford produce the shock of the championship as they continue qualifier streak by upsetting Monaghan
Longford produced the shock of the summer to send the 2015 Ulster champions Monaghan crashing out of this year’s championship race in a thriller in Clones.
The only other championship meeting between these two ended with Longford shocking Monaghan in Clones in 2004 and they repeated the dose this evening for a famous win.
It was a thoroughly deserved success for Denis Connerton’s men who recovered from a Monaghan blitz before the break to seal a remarkable win.
Longford may have started the opening half in a blaze of glory but it was Monaghan who finished it in style to lead by 1-9 to 1-6 at the end of an entertaining opening half.
Longford, playing against the breeze, could not have hoped for a better start with Robbie Smyth edging them in front with a free before Mickey Quinn finished to the net after Liam Connerton had been denied by Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan.
Monaghan, playing their third game in 14 days, took a long time to settle and while Conor McManus fired over a brace of points, Longford led by 1-4 to 0-2 after 15 minutes thanks to a couple of points from James McGivney and a free from Brian Kavanagh.
The sides twice exchanged points to still leave five between them after 27 minutes but Monaghan took over and finished the half powerfully.
Conor McCarthy and Jack McCarron both got their second points of the match before Longford’s Donal McElligott was black-carded.
Another McCarthy point was the prelude to a huge breakthrough for Monaghan when they countered from deep and while McCarron’s shot was smothered, Colin Walshe followed through and side-footed the ball to the net.
Another McManus free and a good point from Ryan McAnespie saw Monaghan lead by three points at the interval.
Longford made a great start to the second-half with Diarmuid Masterson pointing in just ten seconds and Brian Kavanagh pointed a sideline from the left to cut the gap to the minimum.
Goalkeeper Beggan went forward to point a free for Monaghan but the Longford supporters in the crowd of 6,262 got hope when Masterson and McGivney pointed to level the game at 1-10 apiece after 44 minutes.
Kavanagh and Connerton then found the range for Longford as Monaghan continued to miss good chances.
But efforts from McCarthy and Shane Carey drew Monaghan level with 12 minutes left.
However, it was Masterson who struck the next point for Longford and then Connerton soloed through to set up Robbie Smyth for a goal which pushed them four in front with eight minutes left.
Monaghan cut the gap to a point but never looked like salvaging their summer as Longford secured a remarkable victory.
Scorers - Monaghan: C McCarthy & C McManus (0-3f) 0-4 each; C Walshe 1-0; J McCarron 0-2; R Beggan (0-1f), R McAnespie & S Carey 0-1 each.
Longford: R Smyth 1-3 (0-2f); D Masterson, J McGivney & B Kavanagh (0-1f, 0-1 s-l) 0-3 each; M Quinn 1-0; L Connerton 0-1.
Monaghan: R Beggan; C Walshe, D Wylie, C Boyle; K O'Connell, V Corey, F Kelly; N McAdam, D Hughes; R McAnespie, D Malone, T Kerr; J McCarron, C McManus, C McCarthy.
Subs: O Duffy for Malone (h-t), S Carey for O'Connell (h-t), D Mone for Kerr (50), K Hughes for McCarron (56), S Gollogly for Duffy (63).
Longford: P Collum; C Farrelly, P McGee, B Gilleran; D McElligott, M Quinn, B McKeon; M Brady, D Gallagher; D Masterson, D Brady, J McGivney; R Smyth, B Kavanagh, L Connerton.
Subs: B O'Farrell for McGee (24), D Reynolds for McElligott (31, black card), M Hughes for M Brady (h-t), R Connor for McKeon (60, black card), B Farrell for Gallagher (65), S Hannon for Smyth (72).
Referee: C Branagan (Down)