The Limerick footballers were beaten 0-13 to 1-8 by Longford in Sunday’s Allianz Football League Division 3 game in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.
For a second week in a row, Limerick footballers were overhauled in the closing minutes after a second half revival compensated for a sluggish opening period.
However, Sunday’s National League clash against Longford in Pearse Park didn’t produce a last gasp escape and this second round defeat now leaves John Brudair’s side more concerned with survival rather than promotion.
Away victories don’t come around too often in Division Three where just one such success can be the difference between going up and going down and this was maybe Limerick’s best chance of their campaign. Even more frustrating for Brudair and his backroom team, this one was lost for almost exactly the same reasons as the point dropped against Tipperary.
Once again, the visitors failed to hit the ground running and wasted the advantage of the wind and a majority share of possession before the break on slow buildup, lateral passing movements and fruitless deliveries to outnumbered front men. And once again, they threw away a match-winning advantage by reverting back to everything they were doing wrong in the first-half despite their opponents picking up three black cards.
It gave a Longford the chance to recover from their disappointing opener against Offaly and, after half-time sub Tom Lee got the game’s only goal, they hit back with seven unanswered scores to grab a deserved win.
Limerick didn’t waste any time getting off the mark as Ian Ryan sent over a free inside a minute after Gearóid Hegarty was pulled back heading down on goal. But they failed to build on the wind advantage as Francis McGee struck back immediately and Brian Kavanagh followed up with a free. Although long strikes from Danny Neville and Peter Nash put the visitors back in front, slow buildup robbed them of the chance to exploit their dominance of possession and were lucky to escape when a fast Longford counter ended with Robbie Smyth crashing off the crossbar.
After five successive Limerick attacks broke down, Longford showed them how as quick runs from deep led to Kavanagh and McGee put them back in front but they were overtaken when Ryan sent over a pair of frees. However, Kavanagh was fouled coming and punished it to leave the sides tied on 0-5 at the break.
Limerick lifted it on the restart, could have had a goal but Cian Sheehan’s fist off a ‘45’ was inches wide and, after Liam Connerton pointed off a Longford break, could have had another when Paddy Collum just beat Nash off Seanie Buckley’s pass into the square. Persistence paid, however, when Ryan put them back in front with a pair of frees. Longford picked it up when Nash a struck to create the first two-point advantage of the game but shot a few wides and were punished when a fast attack led to Nash’s goal shot being saved only for Lee to scramble over the line. Five points up, the game was there for the taking but Limerick failed to keep up the pressure.
Given more space as their opponents packed back, the Midlanders made the most of the opportunity. Mark Hughes, Barry McKeon and Dessie Reynolds all scored from distance to wipe out the goal within three minutes and there was just a single point in it when Kavanagh pointed a free brought in for dissent.
At that point, the rally halted and Limerick had a few chances to strike back but didn’t move quick enough to finish them. And when Kavanagh found the equaliser, the momentum pounded against them for a Kavanagh free and Brian Farrell’s injury time closer to seal Longford’s victory.
SCORERS - Longford: Brian Kavanagh 0-6 (four frees), Francis McGee 0-2, Liam Connerton, Mark Hughes, Barry McKeon, Dessie Reynolds, Brian Farrell 0-1 each; Limerick: Ian Ryan 0-5 (all frees), Tom Lee 1-0, Peter Nash 0-2, Danny Neville 0-1.
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum; Dermot Brady, Barry Gilleran, Colm P Smyth; Donal McElligot, James McGivney, Dessie Reynolds; Michael Brady, Diarmuid Masterson; Barry McKeon. Brian Kavanagh, Robbie Smyth; Darren Gallagher, Liam Connerton, Francis McGee. Subs: Mark Hughes for Michael Brady (half-time), Andrew Dalton for Diarmuid Masterson (black card, 46 mins), Brian Farrell for Barry McKeon (62 mins), Paul McKeon for James McGivney (65 mins), Francis McGee for Brian Farrell (black card, 69 mins), Robbie Smyth (not replaced, black card, 72 mins).
LIMERICK: Donal O’Sullivan; Johnny McCarthy, Paudie Browne, Seán O’Dea; Stephen Cahill, Iain Corbett, Brian Fanning; Gearóid Hegarty, Darragh Treacy; Cian Sheehan, Pa Ranahan, Seanie Buckley; Danny Neville, Ian Ryan, Peter Nash. Subs: Paul White for Darragh Tracey (25 mins), Tom Lee for Pa Ranahan (half-time), Tommy Childs for Gearóid Hegarty (62 mins).
REFEREE: James Molloy (Galway).