Sheedy delighted after Longford 'dig very deep' to bring down Banner
Longford 2-12 Clare 1-12 All-Ireland SFC Qualifier Rd 2
Jack Sheedy pronounced himself "thrilled" as his Longford side "dug very deep" to secure victory in Ennis.
In front of a crowd of 14,268 at Cusack Park, Clare led at half-time by 1-7 to 1-6, even though they kicked nine wides in that first half, as opposed to Longford's one.
Clare captain Gary Brennan opened the scoring with a free early on, but Brian Kavanagh soon levelled. The visitors got the game's first goal after six minutes when Kavanagh converted from the penalty spot, to leave his side 1-1 to 0-2 ahead. Dean Ryan put the Banner back in front - 1-5 to 1-4 - when he fired home a goal from close range on 26 minutes after some clever work from Eoin Cleary and Jamie Malone.
Clare held on to that advantage until the break, although they were left to rue a series of missed chances before half-time Shortly after the resumption, Rory Connor levelled, and then six minutes in, Dessie Reynolds got the game's vital score, a Longford goal. Connor supplied him with a pass and his speculative shot deceived keeper Joe Hayes. Longford kept their noses in front, despite Clare's best efforts - two late frees by Brian Kavanagh sealed the deal.
"We are thrilled," declared Sheedy. "The lads dug very deep. They had to dig very deep. You couldn't ask any more of them. "I thought we were going to get hurt by some of the ball that we were giving away but they worked very hard to get it back when they did. "We deserved our win. I think we were good value for it, even though the pacemaker's not working so well at the moment." The former Dublin star spoke about his side's scores, or at times lack of them.
"We were able to get the right guys on the ball a lot of the time. But we probably should have got a few more scores to make ourselves a little bit more comfortable. "We had some really good opportunities which we didn't take. We didn't convert. We got inside their '45' and inside their '21' and we didn't convert chances and we've got to do that."
Scorers - Longford: B Kavanagh 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-4fs), D Reynolds 1-1, R Conner, L Connerton 0-2 each, D Masterson, M Quinn 0-1 each. Clare: D Tubridy 0-5 (3fs), D Ryan 1-1, G Brennan (1f), E Cleary (1f) 0-2 each, S Collins, P Burke 0-1 each. Longford - P Collum (8); C Farrelly (7), B O'Farrell (8), F Battrim (7); C. P. Smyth (6), B Gilleran (7), D Masterson (7); K Diffley (7), M Quinn (9, Capt.); P Gill (6), R McEntire (7), R Connor (7); L Connerton (7), B Kavanagh (8), D Reynolds (7). Subs: S Doyle (7) for Gill (48), R McNerney (7) for Mc Entire (61), P Foy (6) for Connor (66). Clare - J Hayes (7); C Russell (7), K Harnett (7), M McMahon (7); S Hickey (7), G Kelly (7), D Ryan (7); G Brennan (7,Capt), C O'Connor (6); Sean Collins (7), J Malone (7), K Sexton (5); E Cleary (7), D Tubridy (6), P Burke (6). Subs: S McGrath (6) for O'Connor. (18), E Coughlan (6) for Cleary (54), Stephen Collins (5) for Kelly (60). Ref - A Nolan (Wicklow).