Sheedy takes pride at reaction to Dubs rout
Longford 2-15 Carlow 1-8 All-Ireland SFC qualifier
Longford got their Championship back on track with a comprehensive victory at Pearse Park on Saturday evening.
Jack Sheedy's men were expected to make amends following their humiliating defeat by Dublin three weeks ago, and they delivered the goods in front of an appreciative home support.
Any teams who have travelled to Pearse Park will know that the Longford venue is not an easy place to come away with the spoils.
Over the years, Longford have held their own with the game's superpowers on home soil - six years ago, they caused a major upset when they dumped Mayo out of the Championship
This victory against Carlow wasn't as spectacular but it gives Sheedy a little breathing space before the next encounter in two weeks' time .
Sheedy is a realist and you can probably assume that he does not expect to reach the business end of the Championship; however, he does expect his team to play with a sense of purpose.
And Longford stamped their authority throughout this encounter. Mickey Quinn dictated the midfield possession with gusto, while the inside forward line of Brian Kavanagh and Liam Connerton settled any jitters with three early points.
The hosts set the pace throughout the first half. Dessie Reynolds and Liam Connerton terrorised Carlow's defence and Longford could have been out of sight if they had converted a number of goal opportunities that presented themselves.
The visitors were forced to live off scraps for long periods of the first half. Brian Murphy was their target man, while David Bambrick and Sean Gannon took full advantage of the wind with a brace of long-distance points to earn parity.
However, Longford, however, stepped on the gas and stretched their lead out to three points by the interval.
On resumption, Longford continued to rue missed opportunities in front of the posts before Connerton set up Reynolds for the game's first goal.
Carlow instantly responded with a wonderful goal from Daryl Roberts, but in the space of one minute Quinn had picked out Connerton, who superbly drilled his shot into the top corner.
From here on in, it was plain sailing for the host.
Kavanagh maintained his deadly accuracy from placed balls, while a series of rapid-fire points from Diarmuid Masterson, Quinn and corner-back Fergal Battrim wrapped up the contest for the Midlanders.
After the game, Jack Sheedy admitted that his side were despondent after their crushing defeat against his native Dublin and praised the efforts of the squad in the build-up to Saturday's game.
"The lads were obviously disappointed after the Dublin game but to their credit worked hard over the last three weeks," he said.
"We got off to a slow start and made silly mistakes in the first half where we took the wrong option and as a result balls went astray.
"In the second half, we cut down on the mistakes, particularly in the final quarter of the game.
"Our inside full-forward line worked hard all evening. We delivered ample ball into Brian Kavanagh and Liam Connerton throughout the game, and they combined well together.
"Liam has been playing well and Brian brings a lot of experience.
"From now on we will be approaching it one game at a time. We have no targets set, but naturally we will be keen to extend our summer campaign."
Despite the heavy defeat, Carlow manager Turlough O'Brien felt his team had put up a decent performance.
"The result is disappointing but I thought we were very competitive. Our game-plan worked well in the first half. However, the lads tired as the game went on. We can have no complaints about the result," he said.
"We bounced back from the Laois game. The turning point there today was the second Longford goal. I am proud of the lads. From the bottom of Division 4, they have showed real commitment.
"Thirty-five lads committed at the start of the year and they have always given me 100pc."
Scorers - Longford: B Kavanagh 0-7 (6fs), L Connerton 1-2, D Reynolds 1-1, D Masterson 0-2, M Quinn, F Battrim, R McEntire 0-1 each. Carlow: B Murphy 0-3 (2fs), D Roberts 1-0, D Bambrick, S Gannon, G Power, M Meaney, D St Ledger 0-1 each.
Longford - P Collum 7; D Brady 7, B O'Farrell 8, F Battrim 7; C P Smyth 6, B Gilleran 7, D Masterson 7; M Quinn 7, K Diffley 6; P Foy 6, R McEntire 6, R Connor 6; L Connerton 8, B Kavanagh 7, D Reynolds 7. Subs: P Gill for P Foy (47), T Gallagher for D Masterson (61), R McNerney for D Reynolds (65), C Quaine for B Kavanagh (67).
Carlow - R Molloy 7; D Kelly 6, S Redmond 7 , K Nolan 6; G Power 7, D St Ledger 6, B Kavanagh 6; S Gannon 7, E Ruth 6; M Meaney 6, D Foley, D Bambrick 6; B Murphy 7, D Hayden 6, D Roberts 6. Subs: D Moran for D Kelly (21), C Moran for D Bambrick (55), E Finnegan for M Meaney (61), D O'Brien for D Roberts (64), A Kelly for E Ruth (66), M Fitzgerld for B Kavanagh (66).
Ref - D Gough (Meath)
Game at a glance
Man of the Match: Liam Connerton (Longford)
The plucky corner-forward was called up into the starting 15 after a late injury to Ross McNerney and proved a real handful. He set up the first goal and scored the second that killed of any possible chance of a Carlow comeback. He will surely start Longford's next game in two weeks' time.
Two goals in three minutes was the platform that set up the Longford victory.
Mickey Quinn's pin- point pass that set up the second Longford goal was sublime; Connerton's finish to the roof of the net wasn't bad either.
David Gough kept a firm control in this encounter, helped by the spirit with which both teams played.
Longford progress to round two of the qualifiers in two weeks' time, while Carlow are left to lick their wounds for another year.