Tuesday 20 February 2018

Lyons helps Warwickshire end 40-year drought

Warwickshire 2-16, Longford 0-10

Warwickshire repelled a strong Longford challenge in the middle third of this game to emerge comfortable victors at Croke Park.

Warwickshire repelled a strong Longford challenge in the middle third of this game to emerge comfortable victors at Croke Park.

It was their first appearance in a national championship final since winning the All-Ireland junior title in 1973.

Although there was no questioning the merit of their win, the final margin was a little unfair to Longford, as goalkeeper Eanna Daly mishandled Eamon Gleeson's shot from distance into the net with two minutes remaining.

Daly had helped keep his side in the game with a couple of smart saves, as well as a pointed free from his own half in the first period, while Longford also made a number of clearances off their line before the Birmingham-based outfit pulled clear.

Enda Lyons was in scintillating form early on for the winners and his 23rd-minute goal, allied to some fine free-taking by Sean Hennessy, established an eight-point advantage for Stephen Ahern's crew.

However, Eoin Donnellan and Joe O'Brien slotted some excellent Longford points to leave it at 1-9 to

0-8 at the break, with the momentum having switch to the eventual losers.

Hawk-Eye had helped that late Longford first-half surge when overturning a decision to award a Warwickshire point from a Hennessy effort five minutes before the interval, with O'Brien slotting over at the other end from the next attack.

Half-time stemmed that Longford flow, though, and Warwickshire resumed their slick play after the resumption.

While Karl Murray blazed inches wide with a snap-shot for goal in the 50th minute, Warwickshire were getting the upper hand and it took some frantic defending to keep them at bay.

Daly made another save and a there was a third clearance off the line, but excellent placed-ball striking from Hennessy, accompanied by scores from Alan Morrissey, Conal Maskey, Conor Robbins and Lyons, gradually edged Warwickshire clear once again.

SCORERS – Warwickshire: S Hennessy 0-6 (3fs, 2 '65s'), E Lyons 1-3, E Gleeson 1-0, P Duggan, M Bermingham 0-2 each, C Maskey, C Robbins, A Morrissey 0-1 each. Longford: E Donnellan 0-7 (6fs), J O'Brien 0-2, E Daly 0-1f.

WARWICKSHIRE – T Goulding; B Bermingham, L Knocker, C Brough; D Kennedy, E Gleeson, C Maskey; M Bermingham, A Morrissey; C Robbins, P Duggan, C Behan; S Hennessy, A O'Neill, E Lyons. Subs: R McEntee for O'Neill (49), S Wallace for Kennedy (55-61), E McCabe for Robbins (59), Wallace for M Bermingham (61), D Sheedy for Behan (68), D Kelly for Morrissey (69).

LONGFORD – E Daly; P McGarry, T Stakem, B Stakem; C Egan, T Roche, D Corcoran; R Donnellan, C Finucane; E Donnellan, K Connelly, D Tanner; K Murray, J O'Brien, J Newman. Subs: M Coyle for R Donnellan (21), M Farrell for Newman (47), R Breslin for Murray (70+2), K Cox for Corcoran (70+2).

REF – L McAuley (Antrim)

Irish Independent

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