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Dublin: 13°C Sunday 16 May 2021

Kildare come good in the end to overcome Longford in All-Ireland qualifier

The Lilywhites enjoyed a three-point win at Pearse Park this evening.

Kildare's Chris Healy celebrates his goal.
Kildare's Chris Healy celebrates his goal.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Kildare 1-16
Longford 1-13

Ger McNally reports from Pearse Park 

KILDARE PRODUCED THEIR own version of the late, late show to emerge victorious following a thrilling encounter in Pearse Park this evening.

In a game where the teams were level on ten occasions, Kildare only went ahead for the first time when Eoin Doyle fisted over with 90 seconds of normal time remaining.

Once in front, they never relinquished their lead but there was still almost nine minutes of injury time to negotiate.

The home side will feel hard done by as they were the better team for large spells but were left to rue two shots that hit the Kildare crossbar in the first half — first Liam Connerton in the 23rd minute and then Donal McElligott in the 33rd minute.

Longford led by two points at two periods in the first half but other than that there were never more than a point between the sides and they were ahead 0-9 to 0-8 at the break.

In warm, energy-sapping conditions it was more of the same in the second half and the teams were all-square a further five times before Darren Gallagher put Longford 0-13 to 0-12 ahead in the 56th minute — but that was their last score for over 20 minutes.

Gradually the fresh legs introduced by Kildare paid dividends and after Doyle nudged Kildare ahead, as Kevin Feely kicked an outstanding point with his first touch in injury time.

Donal McElligott dejected after the game A dejected Donal McElligott. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Kildare, who were reduced to 14 men in the 75th minute following a second yellow card shown to Peter Kelly, looked to have sealed the win when Daniel Flynn, Kevin Flynn and David Slattery combined to move the ball the length of the pitch and leave Chris Healy with a simple tap in for his first championship goal in the seventh minute of injury time to leave Kildare 1-15 to 0-13 ahead.

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Remarkably, there was still more drama to come and Longford went straight up the other end and ended their scoring drought with a Robbie Smyth goal to reduce the Kildare lead back to two points.

There was to be no happy ending for Denis Connerton’s team though and Paul Cribbin made sure of the win for Kildare with a fisted effort in a dramatic climax.

Scorers for Kildare: N Flynn 0-5(3f), C Healy 1-0, P Brophy, P Cribbin and T Moolick 0-2 each, D Flynn, E Doyle, D Hyland, K Feely and F Conway 0-1 each.

Scorers for Longford: R Smyth 1-5(4f), D Gallagher 0-2, L Connerton, S McCormack, D McGivney, C Berry, D McElligott and P Collum(’45) 0-1 each.

Kildare: M Donnellan; P Kelly, D Hyland, M O’Grady, J Murray, E Doyle, K Flynn; F Conway, T Moolick; P Brophy, P Cribbin, K Cribbin, N Flynn, D Flynn, N Kelly. Subs: E O’Connor for N Kelly, 3 b/c; D Slattery for K Cribbin, 44; J Byrne for Murray, 50; C Healy for Moolick, 52; C McNally for O’Connor, 56; K Feely for Conway, 68 b/c.

Longford: P Collum; P Fox, P McCormack, D Masterson, M Quinn, D McElligott, D Nimnagh; D Gallagher, C Berry; D McGivney, D Reynolds, B McKeon, R Smyth, S McCormack, L Connerton. Subs: B Gilleran for P McCormack, 52 b/c; A Farrell for Berry, 70; D Quinn for Mimnagh, 72; P Foy for Fox, 75.

Referee: J McQuillan.

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About the author:

Ger McNally

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