A season that once promised so much fo r the Limerick footballers ended in very disappointing fashion in Longford on Saturday when they were beaten when they were well beaten by the home side in the first round of the All Ireland SFC Qualifiers.
Coming off the back of the big loss to Cork in the Munster championship, Limerick were looking to restore some pride.
But it never worked out that way asLongford pulled well clear in the second half and Limerick finished with 13 men following the dismissal of Michael Reidy and John Riordan late on.
While Limerick beat Longford in the corresponding game last year after extra time, Longford were at a low ebb themselves coming into this game. They had lost all seven games in Division 2 of the Allianz Football League and were then beaten by Wicklow in the first round of the Leinster championship.
But Glenn Ryan’s side produced a highly charged display in a determined bid to redeem themselves.
The Longford supporters who comprised the vast majority of the 2,000 attendance had plenty to shout about on this occasion as the home county showed the far greater urgency to demolish a poor Limerick outfit and were full value for their eventual 11 points victory in gaining sweet revenge for the setback against the same opposition in Round 2 of the Qualifiers last year.
Promising U-21 player O’Farrell figured most prominently alongside the also effective Padraig McCormack and Shane Mulligan in a commanding half-back-line that paved the way for the win and O’Farrell was the architect of the crucial first goal for Longford with three minutes gone on the changeover.
Leading by 0-8 to 0-4 at the break with five of the points (three frees) coming from Sean McCormack while JJ Matthews (2) and John Keegan also got their names on the scoresheet, Longford made a wonderful start to the second half in adding another 1-2 to their tally.
Quick points from McCormack and Paul Barden (a great strike from a tight angle) was followed by a goal from Francis McGee with Barry O’Farrell linking up with Barden to create the clear-cut chance and Limerick were dead and buried when they pressed the self destruct button in the 47th minute.
A misdirected free out of defence by Seanie Buckley went straight to JJ Matthews and he raced through unchallenged to fire home the second goal for Longford that put the issue well and truly beyond all doubt.
That left Limerick trailing by 2-11 to 0-6 and their tale of woe was complete when they had two players sent-off. The first to go was substitute Michael Reidy for a straight red card offence in the 59th minute and John Riordan was dismissed for a second booking in the 69th minute.
The other Longford scores in the second half came from Sean McCormack (two frees) along with a fine brace of points (play) from substitute Niall Mulligan while on target for Limerick were Eoghan O’Connor (3), Seanie Buckley (3), Ger Collins, Ian Corbett and substitute Derry O’Connor.
SCORERS - Longford: Sean McCormack 0-8 (five frees), JJ Matthews 1-2, Francis McGee 1-0, Niall Mulligan 0-2, John Keegan, Paul Barden 0-1 each. Limerick: Seanie Buckley (one free) and Eoghan O’Connor (one free) 0-3 each, Ger Collins, Ian Corbett and Derry O’Connor (free) 0-1 each
LONGFORD - Damien Sheridan; Dermot Brady, Barry Gilleran, Declan Reilly; Barry O’Farrell, Padraig McCormack, Shane Mulligan; John Keegan , Michael Brady; Bernard McElvaney, Paul Barden , Peter Foy; Francis McGee, Sean McCormack, JJ Matthews. Subs: Niall Mulligan for P Foy (49 mins); Colm P Smyth for P Barden (61 mins); Kevin Diffley for J Keegan (64 mins); Aidan Rowan for F McGee (66 mins); Shane Doyle for B McElvaney (66 mins).
LIMERICK - Brian Scanlon; Andrew Lane, Johnny McCarthy, Mark O’Riordan; Stephen Lavin, Paudie Browne, Pa Ranahan; Bobby O’Brien, John Galvin; John Riordan, Thomas Lee, Ian Corbett; Ger Collins, Seanie Buckley, Eoghan O’Connor. Subs: Derry O’Connor for T Lee (half-time); Stephen Lucey for B O’Brien (42 mins); Michael Reidy for I Corbett (45 mins); Seamus O’Carroll for G Collins (49 mins); Cian Coady for A Lane (66 mins).
Referee - David Gough (Meath).