HomeFootballCian O’Donnell scores injury-time winner as Longford beat Louth to reach first...

Cian O’Donnell scores injury-time winner as Longford beat Louth to reach first Leinster MFC final in nine years


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The hosts trailed by four points 12 minutes into the second half but Louth failed to register again and a stunning finish by the hosts – that included conversions by James Hagan (2), Conor Doherty and O’Donnell (2) – saw them pip the Wee county at the very end.

Louth led by five points after 17 minutes and could have been further in front only for Andrew O’Reilly’s dropping shot to have been scrambled off the goalline as Longford battled to stay in the contest.

The excellent Cillian McQuillan (2), Michael McGlew, O’Reilly (2) and Donnacha Skinnader pointed for Louth during their most dominant spell, with O’Donnell offering the home side’s sole contribution until the centre-forward doubled his tally in the 19th minute.

This triggered an improvement in Longford’s performance with Hagan finding the target on three occasions as the Midlanders outscored Louth by 0-3 to 0-1 during the latter part of the first period – McQuillan adding to the visitors’ total from a free.

Trailing by 0-7 to 0-5 at the break, O’Donnell halved Louth’s lead almost immediately after the restart as Longford maintained their momentum but they scuppered three further opportunities to score, allowing the Reds – who were more clinical throughout – to settle and stretch the gap out to four through Tom Maguire, Conor Clinton and Luke Keenan.

Though the home side were wasteful, bringing their wides tally to seven by the midway stage of the second half, they were gifted a clear-cut goal opening when Joshua Marsh robbed Ciarán Devine of possession and set-up Hagan to race through.

His attempt to chip Senón Connolly was unsuccessful but he pointed a subsequent free.

Longford were very much on top by now and after Doherty’s point, Hagan flicked Mark Cooney’s pass over the crossbar with the net gaping, as Louth led by just the minimum with eight minutes to go.

They remained ahead past the hour mark but a black card for influential midfielder Maguire was a blow for the visitors and a brace of successful free-kicks by O’Donnell punished Louth’s indiscipline, sparking wild scenes of celebration at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.

Scorers – Longford: J Hagan (3f), C O’Donnell (3f) 0-5 each; C Doherty 0-1. Louth: C McQuillan (1f) 0-3; A O’Reilly 0-2; F Skinnader, M McGlew, C Clinton, T Maguire, L Keenan 0-1 each.

Longford: J Ross; A Mimnagh, C McHugh, D Mulligan; C Doherty, M Cooney, B Blessington; S Fagan, P Farrell; J Shannon, C O’Donnell, C Flynn; K O’Hara, J Walsh, J Hagan. Subs: L Greene for O’Hara (h-t), L Donnelly for Farrell (43), O Kane for Shannon (43), Keelan Hudson for Mulligan (53).

Louth: S Connolly; B McKeown, C Devine, F Coyle; C Clinton, D Skinnader, M McGlew; T Maguire, M O’Shaughnessy; T Devanney, L Keenan, C McQuillan; A O’Reilly, B Cassidy, E Hoban. Subs: J Hanlon for O’Reilly (37), R Nugent for Keenan (49), F Markey for Cassidy (60).

Referee: E O’Connor (Offaly).

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