Longwood’s intermediate footballers continued their excellent start to Championship 2018 with a two point victory over a dogged Kilmainham outfit in Navan on Friday evening last.
Despite the obvious difficulty for both sets of players of playing championship football on a Friday evening after a week’s work, Longwood exploded from the blocks with an early goal from ace marksman, Aaron Ennis. Kilmainham would struggle to contain Ennis for the duration of the contest but to their credit they did gain a foothold in the game, and trailed by just a single point, 1-1 to 0-3, after 16 minutes.
This doesn’t tell the full story however as Longwood were moving the ball quickly through the hands, displaying great energy levels and attacking at every opportunity. With inside forwards, Wayne Leonard, Evan Coyle and the aforementioned Ennis showing well for possession, Longwood created at least another two goal scoring openings but failed to take advantage. That said, a run of 4 successive points from Mickey Burke, Evan Coyle (2) and Chris Lynch put Longwood in control and ensured that they took a 3 point lead to the dressing rooms at halftime.
Longwood resumed in blistering fashion, the 3rd quarter was undoubtedly their strongest period during which time they registered a further 5 points without reply. Most of these scores were the result of some excellent interplay as Longwood dominated possession, helped in no small measure by a towering midfield display from Anthony Healy, ably supported by Niall Mulvey.
With 15 minutes to go, Longwood looked set for a comfortable win as they led by 1-12 to 0-6 but credit must go to Kilmainham as they dug deep and started to chip away at the deficit. Longwood’s defence will no doubt be a little annoyed at conceding a goal from a 14 yard free from former Meath forward Michael Newman. Having conceded a free kick, Longwood dropped their guard for just a split second and Newman took full advantage finding the net with a rasping drive.
The game was now up for grabs and Kilmainham sensed that a seemingly improbable victory was now within reach. With 8 minutes to go, Longwood suffered a serious blow when Niall Mulvey was given a straight red card to the bemusement of the player himself and the Longwood supporters in attendance. While there was some contact between the players, it appeared to most that Mulvey had in fact been the injured party.
With their tails up, the men in red & black raised 3 successive white flags to reduce the deficit to just a single point. Longwood could have been forgiven for feeling that the game was slipping away from them but instead they showed commendable composure to craft an opportunity that saw Aaron Ennis finish the game exactly as he had started it, by burying the ball in the opponent’s net. He followed up with another point to extend the lead to 5 points.
The drama wasn’t over however as Kilmainham manufactured an excellent goal to once again reduce the deficit to just 2 points. Kilmainham won the ensuing kick out and surged forward but Longwood, helped by a tremendous high catch from Damien Healy, stood firm and held on for a deserved victory.
So it’s two wins from two championship outings and Longwood can look forward to the weeks and months ahead with a degree of confidence.
Final score: Longwood 2-13 Kilmainham 2-11
Longwood: Darragh Maguire, Johnny Furey, Damien Healy, Joey Stenson, Bob Maguire, Eoin Lynch (0-1), Chris Lynch (0-1), Anthony Healy, Niall Mulvey, Mickey Burke (0-2), Ryan Moore (0-2), Evan Coyle (0-2), Aaron Ennis (2-5), Karl Ennis, Wayne Leonard. Subs: Gavin Griffin for Wayne Leonard, Paul Gill for Chris Lynch.
A special note of thanks to the senior players and management who made the effort to come out and support our Bingo night fundraiser for our Féile panel after Friday’s championship victory. It was a tremendous gesture of support for our juvenile players and was very much appreciated by all concerned.