By Daragh Small
Ciara Healy’s penalty turned the game as Longford claimed their first ever All-Ireland Minor B title with victory over Roscommon at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe.
Carol Manning’s side were 1-7 to 0-3 ahead at half-time but fell behind late on after goals from Aimee O’Connor and Oonagh Kelly signalled a revival for Roscommon.
But Healy found the net in the 53rd minute to seal an historic victory for Longford.
Roscommon had lost the 2012, ’16 and ’18 deciders since they last won this competition in 2009 and they were coming up against a Longford side who had never featured in a minor final.
However, it was the Longford girls who made the fast start and after a couple of great points from Dearbhaile Rooney and Healy, Clodagh Lohan found the net.
Lauren McGuire and Molly Mulvihill combined to create the opening and then Lohan finished low past the advancing Holly Martin.
Longford played with the slight breeze in the first half but they were still well worth their 1-2 to 0-0 lead after just ten minutes of action.
It took until the 18th minute for O’Connor to land Roscommon’s first point from a free but Ellen Irwin’s superb point quickly brought the deficit down to a goal.
Roscommon were still right in contention but Longford scored five of the last six points in the half to wrestle control by the interval.
Grace Shannon and Healy scored points with Kate Harrington’s point leaving Roscommon trailing by 1-4 to 0-3 after 25 minutes.
Points from Lohan, Rooney and McGuire pushed the lead out to seven points and then Roscommon corner-forward Oonagh Kelly saw her shot saved by Riane McGrath at point-blank range.
It was 1-7 to 0-3 at the start of the second half and Orla Nevin’s brilliant block denied Irwin a chance at goal on the resumption, while McGuire blazed wide up the other end.
O’Connor hit back for Roscommon and it was a crucial score when a speculative ball deceived McGrath in the Longford goal. That reduced the margin to 1-7 to 1-3 and then
O’Connor scored her second free.
Longford still hadn’t scored in the second half, when Lauren Shanagher’s long shot was saved by McGrath but Kelly was on hand to score the second Roscommon goal.
The teams were level 2-4 to 1-7 in the 42nd minute and seven minutes later Roscommon took the lead for the first time with O’Connor on target once again but it was short-lived.Megan McKeon fouled McGuire and Healy stepped up to secure the historic win.
Scorers – Longford: C Healy 1-2 (1-0 pen), C Lohan 1-1, D Rooney 0-2, G Shannon 0-2, L McGuire 0-2.
Roscommon: A O’Connor 1-3 (2f), O Kelly 1-0, E Irwin 0-1, K Harrington 0-1.
Longford – R McGrath; K McLoughlin, S Dawson, C Sutton; C Mulligan, O Nevin, M Claffey; K Shannon, G Shannon; L McGuire, C Healy, D Rooney; H Glennon, M Mulvihill, C Lohan. Subs: E Shannon for Rooney (42), K Burke for Mulvihill (44).
Roscommon – H Martin; R Mulligan, S Wynne, K McPhillips; E Kildea, K Colgan, M McKeon; E Irwin, K Shine; S Kilroe, S McVeigh, M Kelly; A O’Connor, O Kelly, K Harrington. Subs: M Keogh for McVeigh (8, inj), J Brennan for Mulligan (30), L Shanagher for Harrington (36), E Byrne for O Kelly (44), K Earle for Irwin (55).
Ref – Kevin Corcoran (Mayo).