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Early goal sets up title for Abbeylara

Abbeylara 1-9 Slashers 0-10 Longford SFC final AFTER winning the Senior Football Championship title for a historic first time in 2000, Abbeylara were crowned the kings of Longford football once again when they got the better of Slashers in yesterday's final played in front of a 4,000 attendance at Pearse Park.

The crucial only goal of the game came very early when Niall Sheridan netted with just ten seconds gone.

It was a wonderful start for Abbeylara, who were minus the services of the suspended Kevin Smyth - one of their key players - while Slashers were forced to field without their injured chief marksman Stephen Phillips. He proved to be a serious loss for the Town side, who missed a number of frees during the course of the game.

However, Abbeylara were the better side with Man of the Match Sheridan a constant threat and their greater experience told as Slashers made poor use of the ball and were in deep trouble when trailing by 1-6 to 0-3 at the break.

While a terrific double save by 'keeper Gordon Hourican in the closing stages of the first half denied Sheridan and Pádraig Berry a second goal for Abbeylara, the north Longford outfit also had a very lucky escape when a last ditch block prevented Eamonn Nolan from finding the back of the net in the final attack of the first half.

Although Slashers had the advantage of the wind in the second half, they continued to kick costly wides and when the always busy Brian Smyth got a deserved point in the 45th minute, Abbeylara were in a commanding 1-9 to 0-5 lead and apparently coasting..

However, they failed to register another score and it was Slashers who dominated the final quarter to fire over five points without reply - four from influential substitute Mark Smith, while Trevor Glendenning landed a glorious effort to give his side a glimmer of hope but it was not to be for the Sky Blues.

SCORERS - Abbeylara: N Sheridan 1-4 (0-4f), M O'Connor, P Berry 0-2 each, B Smyth 0-1. Longford Slashers: M Smyth 0-5 (0-4f), T Glendenning, E Nolan 0-2 each, N Mulligan 0-1f.

ABBEYLARA - D O'Connor; P Brady, D Ledwith, D O'Reilly; C Drake, J McEntyre, Michael O'Connor; E Ledwith, A O'Connor; Brian Smyth, Maurice O'Connor, B Meaney; W Crawford, N Sheridan, P Berry. Subs: J Kiernan for Meaney (48); T Drake for Crawford (51).

LONGFORD SLASHERS - G Hourican; D Mannion, M Brady, T O'Rourke; D Brady, D Glennon, B Farrell; D Sheridan, S Campbell; N Mulligan, B Gilleran, T Glendenning; J Glendenning, E Nolan, P Kelly. Subs: G Matthews for Campbell (27); M Smith for J Glendenning (34).

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Ref: J Bannon (Legan).

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