Saturday 24 March 2018

O Griofa stars for Tribesmen as Longford come up short

Galway 0-10
Longford 1-6

Longford's hopes of a first ever All-Ireland minor football title went up in smoke at Hyde Park on Saturday as they faded when it mattered most against Galway.

Hopes were high that Longford -- who have not reached a minor final since 1929 -- might be in line for glory this year after recovering from an opening-round 2-19 to 0-3 mauling by Offaly to gain sweet revenge in the Leinster final.

But their aspirations came unstuck in a poor game as Galway recovered from their Connacht final defeat to a book a place in the last four.

The Tribesmen -- devastated by three goals in a five-minute spell by Mayo in the Connacht final -- advanced thanks to a great scoring burst from Peadar O Griofa in the second half.

The Micheal Breathnachs clubman was unable to start the Connacht final due to injury but hit 0-5 after being introduced that day in Castlebar.

The talented attacker did likewise in the second half on Saturday to break Longford's hearts as the Leinster champions were sent packing.

Neither side managed to get on top in a poor opening half and they went in level at 0-3 each.

Longford looked to be well on track when Robbie Smith pounced to finish to the net after 45 minutes to put them 1-4 to 0-5 in front. But the switch of O Griofa to full-forward proved decisive as he found the range from a variety of angles to haul the westerners back into contention.

Longford kept in touch but could not haul Galway back as Gerry Fahy's charges advanced, with Conor Rabbitte's third point of the afternoon proving to be the match winner.

"We are absolutely delighted with the win," said Galway manager Gerry Fahy. "Credit must go to the lads, they went for it hammer and tongs in the last few minutes and thankfully we got those couple of scores that just about saw us over the finish line."

Scorers -- Galway: P O Griofa 0-5 (0-2f), C Rabbitte 0-3, S Maughan (0-1f), C O'Neill 0-1 each; Longford: R Smith 1-1 (0-1f), D Farrelly, B McKeon, J Noonan, D Cooney (0-1f), J McGivney (0-1f) 0-1 each.

Galway -- J Keane; P Ezergalis, J Shaughnessy, P Varley; F O Bearra, M Kelly, T Curran; E Commins, F O Curraoin; N Quinn, P O Griofa, S Maughan; C O'Neill, C Rabbitte, N Walsh. Subs: T Flynn for Quinn (37), D Black for O Bearra (39), J Vaughan for Ezergalis (43), A Varley for O'Neill (47).

Longford -- P Collum; D Bennett, D Quinn, R Keogh; C Clarke, J McGivney, S Donohoe; D Cooney, D Gallagher; J Noonan, P McCormack, D Farrelly; B McKeon; R Smith, D Mimnagh. Subs: C Lynn for Farrelly (53), O Farrell for Mimnagh (59).

Ref -- R O'Donnell (Donegal).

Irish Independent

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