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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 20 January, 2019

Meath edge Longford in historic free-taking competition in near darkness

Meath will face Westmeath in the O’Byrne Cup final.

Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

MEATH DEFEATED LONGFORD 2-1 in a free-taking competition to book their place in the O’Byrne Cup final against Westmeath next Sunday.

The Royals and Longford were locked level at 2-16 to 1-19 after extra-time as Michael Quinn fired in a late 1-1 to bring the away side on level terms.

That forced a free-taking shoot-out rather than a replay, with five players from either team taking frees out of the hands from the 45m line.

The Meath venue was in near darkness by the time the frees were taken due to a lack of floodlights – Pairc Tailteann had its floodlights removed in 2015 when a fault was found in the foundations.

Mark McCabe and Cillian O’Sullivan converted their kicks for the Royals, while only Sean McCormack could find the target for Longford.

In the other semi-final, Westmeath were 1-9 to 1-7 winners over Offaly at TEG Cusack Park.

Colin Kelly’s side won their third game under the new management as Denis Corroon’s first-half goal proved decisive. The Lake County led by 1-7 to 1-2 after a wind-assisted opening 35 minutes, while Joey O’Connor found the net for Offaly.

Michael Brazil and Cian Johnson arrived off the bench to force the issue for the Faithful in the second period, but late scores from Luke Loughlin and Alex Gardiner sealed the Westmeath win.

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Kevin O'Brien

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