Smyth proves a thorn in Wicklow's side
Longford1-7 Wicklow 1-6
Longford got their new season off to a positive start with a one-point win over Wicklow, but Garden County manager John Evans will have taken plenty of positives from the defeat in Newtownforbes on a dreadful night for football.
The concession of a horrible goal after 10 minutes and 10 first-half wides left an experimental Wicklow just a point to the good at the break at 1-3 to 1-2; their goal coming from a moment of sublime magic from Gearoid Murphy on the half-hour mark.
Robbie Smyth led the charge for the Longford men with three scores and by being a thorn in the side of the visitors all evening.
He opened the scoring after two minutes with a peach, grabbed his second after 50 minutes and fired over a truly wonderful point from a ridiculously tight angle late on.
Longford's goal came from a poor shot from Barry McKeon that bounced in front of Wicklow goalkeeper Robert Lambert and proceeded to take the most hideous of bounces and flew low off the drenched ground to the back of the net.
Daniel Mimnagh, Colm P Smyth and corner-back Darren Quinn, with a wonderful point, pushed Longford out to a 1-5 to 1-3 lead after 43 minutes.
Wicklow hit back through Conor McGraynor and Chris O'Brien either side of a Robbie Smyth effort and a Rory Finn free left the sides level at 1-6 apiece with 15 minutes to go.
The visitors were dropping deep to defend, and this was limiting their attacking options. Smyth beat that defensive crowding with a precise effort off his left to give Longford the lead.
Wicklow got one more chance with a free from Finn but the Kiltegan man proved wayward.
Scorers - Longford: R Smyth 0-3; B McKeon 1-0; D Gallagher (1f), D Mimnagh, C P Smyth, D Quinn 0-1 each. Wicklow: G Murphy 1-0; A McLoughlin (2f), R Finn (1f) 0-2 each; C McGraynor, C O'Brien 0-1 each.
Longford: P Farrell; D Quinn, B O'Farrell, S Donohue; P Lynn, M Quinn, D Mimnagh; D Gallagher, P Hanley; N Rabbitte, R McEntire, B McKeon; R Smyth, A Farrell, I O'Sullivan. Subs: M Hughes for I O'Sullivan (h/t), C Lee for A Farrell (45), B McKeon for P Hanley, J Hagan for N Rabbitte (65).
Wicklow: R Lambert; K Kirwan, R O'Brien, J Snell; C Healy, S Mooney, D Fitzgerald; P O'Toole, C McGraynor; G Murphy, A McLoughlin, R Finn; M Kenny, C O'Brien. P O'Connor. Subs: M Fitzsimons for C McGraynor (24), D Keane for P O'Connor (34), F O'Shea for C Healy (34), C McGraynor for A McLoughlin (42), N Meldon for M Kenny (45), T Maher for J Snell (49), P O'Connor for C McGraynor (58), C O'Shea for D Keane, M Doyle for G Murphy (70), C Healy for C O'Brien (70).
Ref - N Ward (Westmeath).