Longwood and Trim played out an entertaining, high scoring game in Round 3 of the Senior Hurling Championship at Páirc Tailteann on Sunday.
With both teams already assured of a place in the knock-out stages, the only imponderable was would it be an automatic semi-final place or a slightly more circuitous route through the quarter-finals?
Trim, playing with the breeze at their backs, were quick to settle and rattled off three quick-fire points to take an early lead after just four minutes. An excellent point from Sean Coloe got Longwood off the mark and this was quickly supplemented by a Mickey Burke point from play.
Trim responded strongly and scored five of the next six points to take command. Alan Douglas was proving to be a real thorn in Longwood's side and picked off some excellent points from play.
Trim would go on to dominate the remainder of the opening half and at one point had stretched their lead out to 9 points.
With half-time looming, Longwood won a free close to the opposition 20 metre line. The sight of Damien Healy standing over the ball would surely have alerted the Trim rear-guard, nevertheless they were powerless to stop the ensuing pile-driver which rattled the net.
Hope at last for Longwood. Crucially, Trim would respond with two points before the interval, one a particularly memorable side-line cut from young James Murray.
Half-time: Trim 0-15 Longwood 1-4
Longwood needed a quick start to the second half and their wish was granted when an Anthony Healy free split the posts inside the opening minute. While Trim responded with a point, Longwood gained a crucial foothold in the game courtesy of Anthony Healy, who drilled a low shot to the net from a tight angle.
The teams traded points over the next 15 minutes points before Damien Healy netted Longwood’s third goal on the 23rd minute. Once again it was from a deal ball, this time slightly further out from goal than his first half effort. Longwood were now just a point behind. Try as they might, they could not find an equaliser. Trim reeled off three successive points to reach relative safety but Longwood responded with Ryan Moore and Anthony Healy raising white flags before the scoring concluded with a Trim point from play.
So a three point victory for Trim but both teams will have taken much from the game.
Longwood, despite conceding a sizeable lead in the second quarter, performed with great heart and commitment. Their customary work-rate was once again to the fore. The full back line, despite conceding a couple of early scores to Brian Dowling, worked extremely hard and ensured that Trim created little in the way of goal-scoring opportunities. Further up the field Sean Coloe, Mickey Burke and the Healy brothers carried the fight to their opponent with typical determination.
Ryan Moore was forced to leave the action late in the second half due to a leg injury. We can only hope that he will recover in time for the quarter-finals when Longwood will square up to their neighbours from Na Fianna.
Longwood: Enda Dixon, Kevin Maguire, Niall Mulvey, Ross Kerrigan, Paul Gill, Karl Ennis, Sean Coloe (0-1), Damien Healy (2-1), Ryan Moore (0-2), Bob Maguire, Jim Dorran, Gavin Griffith, Aaron Ennis, Anthony Healy (1-7), Mickey Burke (0-1). Subs: Cathal Campbell for Jim Dorran, Johnny Furey for Ryan Moore
All fixtures/results/news can be found on www.longwoodgaa.com