McGee leads charge for fluent Longford
Longford 1-19 Carlow 2-7
CARLOW footballers recovered from a disastrous first-half showing in which they failed to score but it wasn't enough to overcome a fluent Longford side at Dr Cullen Park.
Jack Sheedy's side were in blistering form in that opening half. The dominated all over the field and with forwards Brian Kavanagh, Francis McGee and Paul McKeon in top scoring form, went in at the break 1-13 to nil ahead.
Carlow just did not turn up in that first half and could not even convert the few scoring opportunities from frees that came their way.
Longford's goal came in the 32nd minute and it was a fine individual score from centre-forward McGee. That put Longford 1-12 to nil ahead and in total control of the match.
The introduction of star midfielder Brendan Murphy at half-time lifted the Barrowsiders and the big Rathvilly clubman pointed from play within a minute of the restart to get his side off the mark.
Carlow won the second half by 2-7 to 0-6 but it was simply a matter for damage limitation for Anthony Rainbow's men by that stage.
Goals in the 44th and 52nd minutes from Carlow's Shane McGrath and Seamus Kinsella brought respectability to the scoreline but left the home support to reflect ruefully on the poverty of the opening-half display.
Longford did take their foot off the pedal in the second half and suffered through the loss through injury of their top scorer, the influential McGee, in the 40th minute.
Seven of the Longford players shared in the scoring in what was an impressive showing -- they now face Kildare on Wednesday night.
There were two black cards issued by Laois referee Eddie Kinsella, both to Carlow players.
Right full-back Barry John Molloy was off after six minutes for a rash tackle on Brian Kavanagh, while his replacement Mark Curry saw black for a tackle on substitute Padraig Gill on 55 minutes.
Scorers -- Longford: F McGee 1-4 (2 '45s), B Kavanagh (1f), P McKeon (1f) 0-5 each, C Mimnagh 0-2, K Diffley, B Farrell, P Gill 0-1 each. Carlow: S Kinsella 1-3 (3fs), S McGrath 1-0, D St Ledger 0-2 (1f), B Murphy, D Foley 0-1 each.
Longford -- P Columb; D Keogh, F Battrim, A Rowan; G Farrell, F Reilly,G Smith; K Diffley, J Keegan; B Farrell, F McGee, D Cooney; P McKeon, B Kavanagh, C Mimnagh. Subs: P Gill for McGee (40), C Smyth for G Smith (53), S Cox for Reilly (60), S Doyle for McKeon (67), E Williams for Farrell (68), P Brady for Keogh (68).
Carlow -- A O'Brien; B J Molloy, M Meaney, R Mahon; K Nolan, B Kavanagh, G Power; H Gahan, D Foley; R O'Brien, D St Ledger, D Bambrick; S McGrath, J Kane, S Kinsella. Subs: J O'Donoghue for BJ Molloy (BC, 6), M Curry for Meaney (22), B Murphy for Kane (h-t), D Kinsella for Curry (BC, 55).
Ref-- E Kinsella (Laois)