Longford used an impressive display from Keith Gillick to defeat Celtics in a very entertaining Junior B contest.
Gillick had six points from play and really stood forward after the winners lost Paul O’Hara to injury early in the second half.
They also had to reply to a man getting sent off in the closing six minutes and actually outscored their rivals with the numerical disadvantage.
Longford dominated the open play in the first half. They were ahead 0-7 to 0-3 at the break.
O’Hara was the main force with three of the points from frees and plays. He was doing a lot of work in open play and was always the option when a teammate needed one.
After the first three scores the Celtics did have a point from a Chris Green free, but they had to thank Brendan Cole for keeping them in the game as he made a brave block on a Hynes shot. Gillick had a beautiful catch and drive, but again Cole made brilliant stops on goal chances as Longford were foregoing point opportunities to try and walk the ball to the net.
They adapted and had scores from Gillick, O’Hara and Rodgers, but Celtics did have one in reply from Dylan O’Neill, a screamer that got his side back within four.
O’Hara continued his good play with two further points to open the second half, but then had to go off due to a leg injury. Celtics then had their best period as they scored 1-2, with Green snatching the goal. It came after a defensive mistake that was punished with a four-player move in the other direction.
The sides split four points as the game intensified in its enthusiasm before scores from Robbie O’Neill (a quick turn and shot) and Darren Lynch a fisted score to extend their lead to 0-13 to 1-7.
Hamill had a point for Celtics, but good defensive play by Brendan Donaghue and Ciaran Gormley quelled a number of attacks. When Longford lost Lynch to a straight red -- he was third man in -- they handled the pressure superbly.
Gillick added to his total with a superb point from play, his sixth before Ronan Rodgers closed the game out with the 16th score.
Longford had excellent displays from Ciaran Gormley, particularly in the second half, Mike Creegan, whose tackling was an inspiration, and Brendan Donaghue, who cleaned up a lot of ball. O’Hara was outstanding before his injury and Kevin Smith also had a lot of positive attributes.
Shane Lynch was excellent in open play but can count himself lucky in the skirmish that resulted in Lynch’s ejection. Tommy Nolan worked hard and the shooting will come as the season wears on. Keith Gillick on this display should be drafted higher up the New York food chain.
For the Celtics, Brendan Cole for a young man was outstanding. Gerry Hamill, Ryan McCusker and Dylan O’Neill were others who shone bright.
Longford: 1 Billy McGovern, 2 Con Murphy, 3 Ciaran Gormley, 4 John McQueeney, 5 Graham Gillespie, 6 Mike Creegan, 7 Brendan Donaghue, 8 Kevin Smith, 9 Paul O’Hara (0-5), 10 Ronan Rodgers (0-2), 11 Shane Hynes (0-1), 12 Darren Lynch (0-1), 13 Robbie O’Neill (0-1), 14 Tommy Nolan, 15 Keith Gillick (0-6). Subs: Niall McCormack, Tomas McGarry, Michael Gregg.
Celtics: 1 Brendan Cole, 2 Michael Lang, 3 Brian Green, 4 Mick Burke, 5 Gerry Hamill (0-2), 6 Joe Carolan, 7 Francis Cole, 8 John McArdle, 9 James Smith (0-1), 10 Ryan McCusker (0-2), 11 Derek McKenna, 12 Dylan O’Neill (0-1), 13 Keith Lang, 14 Chris Green (1-2), 15 Ryan Lang (0-1).
Referee: Peter McCormack.
Man of the match: Keith Gillick (Longford).