By Padraig O’Brien
CARLOW came away from Longford with a six-point defeat in their second O’Byrne Cup clash of the new season on Sunday. After last week’s win over Wicklow, this defeat means Carlow will have to get a win against Kildare in the first weekend of the new year if they are to make the knock-out stages of the competition.
But far more important here is the opportunity for Turlough O’Brien to try some new combinations and see how the squad is developing ahead of more serious challenges in the new year.
A sparse attendance in the region of 150 at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park watched players like Niall Roche and Mikey Bambrick of Old Leighlin, Andrew Kehoe and Stephen Reilly of Palatine and Josh Moore of Rathvilly get game-time while more established names such as Darragh Foley, Shane Redmond and Daniel St Ledger were also on duty.
Carlow got their opening score from a free converted by Paul Broderick in the eighth minute of the game.
But Longford then took over to fire over six points in a row, a brace apiece from Darren Gallagher and Rian Brady with Joseph Hagan (mark) and Oran Kenny also getting their names on the scoresheet.
Longford’s other points in the first half came from Dessie Reynolds and Gerard Flynn while Darragh Foley (free), Daniel St Ledger (45) and Andrew Kehoe replied for Carlow.
Joseph Hagan was clean through on goal in the 27th minute but his point-blank shot was well saved by Carlow keeper Robert Sansom. At half time the hosts led by 0-8 to 0-4.
A good start to the second-half yielded another Longford score from Rian Brady (mark) and then Oran Kenny shot over the bar with hard-working Carlow midfielder Sean Murphy landing a point in between.
Converted frees from Darren Gallagher and Paul Broderick were exchanged before Gallagher slotted over another free in the 52nd minute.
Longford found the net in the 56th minute when Oran Kenny and Colm P Smyth linked up to leave Dessie Reynolds with the simple task of flicking the ball to the net. That goal made it 1-12 to 0-6 for the hosts.
But Carlow showed good battling qualities to close the gap with points from Daniel St Ledger, Stephen Reilly and a brace from Paul Broderick (from play and a free). The last Longford score came from substitute Darragh Doherty who fisted the ball over the bar in the 64th minute.
Longford: Pat Farrell; Patrick Fox, Andrew Farrell, PJ Masterson; Iarla O’Sullivan, Barry O’Farrell, Gerard Flynn (0-1); Darren Gallagher (0-4, two frees), Kevin Diffley; Peter Lynn, Colm P Smyth, Dessie Reynolds (1-1); Rian Brady ( 0-3, 0-1 mark), Joseph Hagan (0-1, mark), Oran Kenny (0-2). Subs: Liam Hughes for I O’Sullivan (28 mins); Darragh Doherty (0-1) for P Lynn (52 mins); Gary Rogers for G Flynn (52 mins); Aidan McGuire for O Kenny (58 mins); Shane Farrell for P Fox (63 mins); Daire Duggan for D Gallagher (63 mins); Eoghan McCormack for D Reynolds (63 mins); Michael Cahill for PJ Masterson (65 mins); Thomas McGann for J Hagan (65 mins).
Carlow: Robert Sansom; Danny Moran, Shane Redmond, Liam Roberts; Stephen Reilly (0-1), Ray Walker, Niall Roche; Sean Murphy (0-1), John Murphy; Paul Broderick (0-4, 0-3 frees), Darragh Foley (0-1, free), Conor Doyle; Andrew Kehoe (0-1), Conor Crowley, Daniel St Ledger (0-2, 0-1 45). Subs: Josh Moore for N Roche (ht); Diarmuid Walsh for A Kehoe (44 mins); Mikey Bambrick for D Moran (52 mins); James McGrath for C Doyle (55 mins); Alan Kelly for C Crowley (70 mins).
Referee: Ciaran Reilly (Dublin)