Thursday 14 December 2017

Defensive frailties a concern for Ryan

Longford's frustrating league campaign took a downward turn when they let a four-point lead slip in a game where sloppy goals undermined both sides.

But at the end of the contest, Galway's promotion hopes were back on track and Longford, beaten by no more than two points in each of their opening three games, were left licking their wounds after another tough defeat.

A lengthy post-mortem ensued in the Longford dressing-room, and when he finally emerged manager Glenn Ryan admitted it was a bad loss.

"A disappointing result and a disappointing performance," the former Kildare star summed up. "It leaves us in a poor position, so we just need to keep working hard at it and try turn it around.

"We came back well in the second half and showed what we are capable of, but it is frustrating that we are not getting the consistency to continue throughout the game."

Longford's cause was not helped by the concession of two goals in the final quarter when they failed to deal with high deliveries from impressive Galway corner-forward Michael Martin.

"In the past few years we have prided ourselves on the way we defended for goals but this year we are struggling to do so, but I would be hopeful we can get it sorted," added Ryan.

Alan Mulholland acknowledged that Galway may have got the rub of the green with those goals, but having seen his side implode in the second half of games this season, the manager was pleased with the way they came from behind to nail a second win of the campaign.

"I'd imagine they will not be happy with a couple of the goals they conceded but it was just so important for us to hit back this time. I think we deserved the victory on the balance of play," he said.

"We haven't been sealing the deal in the second half of games, so when we fell four points behind it was good to come back and go on and win by four points.

"It was a vital victory. We have four away games. If we didn't get a win in this one then we would be looking behind us in the table, but now we can look ahead towards promotion. The two points are invaluable."

His side were in a good position when they led by 1-6 to 1-5 at the interval having played against the breeze on a freezing day at Pearse Park in Longford.

The Tribesmen got a big boost when Martin blasted home after 11 minutes before Donal McElligott responded to shoot to the net at the end of a good passing movement and level the game at 1-3 each after 17 minutes.

Martin landed a brace of points and midfielder Niall Coleman was also on target, but Longford finished the half strongly with Colm Smith and McElligott scoring to reduce the margin to a point at the break.


Galway went a goal in front just 45 seconds after the restart with points from Meehan and Eoin Concannon.

Longford hit back: David Barden set up Sean McCormack for his first goal after 38 minutes and two minutes later he pounced when he dispossessed Micheal Boyle and again fired to the net to put Longford 3-5 to 1-8 in front.

McElligott extended Longford's lead to four points after 45 minutes with another good point.

But Galway hit back when Concannon fisted home a cross from Martin after 55 minutes. Coleman equalised with a point, and then McCormack and Martin exchanged points to tie the sides for the sixth time nine minutes from the end.

The game could have gone either way in the closing stages but three minutes from time the Longford defence again failed to deal with a high delivery from the right wing and Paul Conroy got a fist to it to send it into the bottom corner.

Victory was assured moments later when Gary Sice pointed.

Man of the match: M Martin (Galway)

Scorers – Galway: M Meehan, P Conroy(0-1 each), E Concannon 1-1 each, M Martin 0-5 (2f), N Coleman 0-2, G Sice 0-1. Longford: S McCormack 2-4 (0-3f), D McElligott 1-2, C Smith 0-1.

Galway – J Egan 7; J Duane 7, F Hanley 6, G Sweeney 6; G Bradshaw 6, G O'Donnell 6, G Sice 7; N Coleman 8, A Griffin 6; J O'Brien 6, P Conroy 7, M Boyle 6; E Concannon 7, M Meehan 7, M Martin 8. Subs: F O Curraoin 6 for Griffin (43), S Armstrong 7 for Boyle (48), K Kelly 6 for Bradshaw (49), D Cummins 6 for Meehan (58), S Denvir 6 for Concannon (68).

Longford – D Sheridan 5; D Brady 5, B Gilleran 5, F Battrim 6; M Quinn 7, C Smith 7, S Mulligan 6; J Keegan 6, M Brady 6; B McElvanney 7, D McElligott 8, A Rowa6; F McGee 7, D Barden 6, S McCormack 8. Subs: N Mulligan 6 for Rowan (32), K Diffley 5 for Keegan (34), D Reilly 6 for Diffley (60), P McCormack 6 for Barden (65), P Foy 6 for Quinn (70).

Ref – N Mooney (Cavan).

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