O'Byrne Cup final: Longford bridge 20-year gap

January 18, 2020

Longford's Rian Brady and Michael Brazil of Offaly

Longford 1-12

Offaly 0-11

Captain Mickey Quinn's 16th minute goal proved decisive as Longford claimed the O'Byrne Cup for the first time in 20 years with victory over Offaly at Bord na Mona O'Connor Park.

Longford manager Padraic Davis was the scoring star when the county last won the O'Byrne Cup in 2000 at Westmeath's expense, while his selectors Paul Barden, Gavin Tonra and Donal Ledwith also played in that final in Mullingar. The quartet will be delighted with this success, especially in light of their side's poor start. Offaly looked to be on course for their fifth win on the trot when they roared into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead inside eight minutes, but then Quinn's goal restored parity for Longford against the run of play.

Anton Sullivan and Shane Horan edged John Maughan's men back in front with points, but the double sin-binning of Shane Nally and Sullivan took its toll as Rian Brady and Oran Kenny replied to tie up the scoring at half-time, 1-3 to 0-6. Indeed, Offaly had the crossbar to thank not just once but twice in the 27th minute when Brady and Kevin Diffley were both denied in the same passage of play.

The visitors pushed on after the restart with scores from Quinn, Darragh Doherty, Dessie Reynolds and Darren Gallagher before the hosts reduced the deficit to two points with 10 minutes remaining. But the blue and golds weren't to be denied as late points from Brady and Gallagher sealed the win.

Longford - P Collum; P Fox, A Farrell, B O’Farrell; I O’Sullivan, G Rogers, CP Smyth; D Gallagher (0-2, 1f), K Diffley; M Quinn (1-1), D Mimnagh, D Reynolds (0-2); R Brady (0-2, 1f), J Hagan, O Kenny (0-2). Subs: P Lynn (0-1) for I O’Sullivan, D Doherty (0-2) for K Diffley, L Connerton for D Reynolds, A McGuire for R Brady.

Offaly - P Dunican; D Dempsey, E Rigney, N Darby; C Donohue, S Nally, J Hayes; C Mangan, M Brazil; E Carroll, C McNamee, S Horan (0-2); A Sullivan (0-3), B Allen (0-5, 2f), R McNamee. Subs: D Hogan for S Nally, C Johnson for R McNamee, A Leavy (0-1) for M Brazil, C Donnelly for C Donohue, C Farrell for R McNamee.

Referee - S Mulhare.

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