Mimnagh helps Killoe make history
Emmet Og1-14 Abbeylara 1-11
Longford SFC final Killoe Emmet Og secured back-to-back county titles for the first time after they put a resilient Abbeylara to the sword in front of a packed house at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in Longford yesterday.
Declan Rowley's men will savour this historic victory, but their celebrations presumably will be put on the back-burner as their attention turns to the Leinster championship. The Longford football final is by far the biggest sporting event in the county each year and 2015 was no different, with a huge attendance of more than 4,000. North Longford contenders Abbeylara were vying for their third senior title, their first since 2006, while Killoe now lie in joint third place in the roll of honour.
Abbeylara packed their defence in the opening exchanges, as Emmet Og tried in vain to penetrate their backline, well marshalled by the four Smyth brothers and county star Fergal Battrim. Abbeylara raced into a three-point lead midway through the first half, with their chief marksmen Robbie Smyth and Connor Berry on song. Emmet Og relied heavily on the free-taking of Denis McGoldrick and Sean McCormack to keep them with in touch. Slowly but surely they started to find gaps in Abbey's defence, and four consecutive points, the last a fabulous long-range effort from Mickey Quinn, sent them into the break with a one-point advantage.
After the break, the reigning champions continued to set the pace, with Simon Kiernan and Quinn controlling the tempo in the middle of the park. Emmet Og extended the advantage five minutes into the second half. A teasing run by McCormack picked out the well-timed run by centre-forward Daniel Mimnagh and he made no mistake with a breathtaking shot that rattled the back of the net. Abbeylara responded positively, with points from Jason Kelly and William Crawford that left three points separating the sides entering the third quarter. Killoe, nonetheless, refused to be removed from their pedestal and hit back with a brace of points from Paddy Thompson and McCormack.
With five minutes remaining, Abbeylara finally found the breakthrough, when substitute Sean Murphy bagged a brilliant goal, set up by Connor Berry. That set up an enthralling finale, but Abbeylara's hopes were dashed moments later when Kevin Smyth was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident. That enabled Emmet Og to regroup and they chipped on three further points in the added time to retain the Sean Connolly Cup.
Scorers - Emmet Og: D McGoldrick (3fs), S McCormack (3fs) 0-4 each, D Mimnagh 1-0, M Hughes, M Quinn 0-2 each, L Moran, P Thompson 0-1 each. Abbeylara: S Murphy 1-0, R Smyth (2fs), C Berry 0-3 each, J Kelly 0-2 (1f), K Mulvihill, W Crawford, E Gallagher 0-1 each. Emmet Og - C Burns; L Hughes, P McCormack, D Keogh; S Dowd, M Quinn, C Farrelly; P Thompson, S Kiernan; D McGoldrick, D Mimnagh, R McGoldrick; L Moran, S McCormack, M Hughes. Subs: E Clarke for Moran (44), J McCormack for McGoldrick (59). Abbeylara - D O'Connor: B Smith, F Battrim, C Smyth; B Smith, M McHugh, C P Smyth; A O'Connor, C Brady; K Mulvihill, C Berry, N Rabbitt; J Kelly, R Smyth, W Crawford. Subs: E Ledwith for B Smith (ht), E Gallagher for Mulvihill (ht), Sean Murphy for Rabbitt (51), K Smyth for Kelly (55). Ref - D Fahy (Ballymahon).