Longwood edge out Ballinlough in exciting league encounter

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Longwood secured their second victory of the league with a deserved, if ultimately nail-biting victory over a typically determined Ballinlough on Tuesday evening.

Despite conceding an early point, Longwood would reel off six consecutive points to take a commanding lead midway through the opening half. The first five points were from open play with Ryan Moore, Gavin Griffith and the Sheridan brothers, Ciaran and Sean, very much to the fore.

Ballinlough rallied with two quick points before Thomas Coloe extended Longwood’s advantage with a well taken goal. This ensured Longwood took a four-point lead to the dressing rooms at the interval.

Billy Hogan’s accuracy from long range frees was very evident, the young county goalkeeper splitting the posts on two occasions from 45 metres plus. In addition, Hogan also kicked a fine point from play in the second half. This was a crucial score as it came at a time when Ballinlough were exerting serious pressure on the home defence.

Longwood followed up with another excellent point from Sean Coloe, a tremendous team score that saw the ball quickly transferred through many hands before it arrived in the grateful arms of Coloe who applied the necessary finish with style. The midfield general has been hampered by injury in recent games but, as always, he leaves everything on the pitch. Such courage and determination is to be admired and it certainly seemed to inspire Longwood’s tenacious young defenders, Coyle O’Brien and Adam Leacy. Despite their tender years, these boys crave the physical exchanges and they are learning their trade and improving with every passing game.

With Longwood leading by four points with ten minutes remaining, victory looked likely but the men from North Meath had other ideas and they reduced the margin to a single point as the game moved into injury time.

Longwood’s players and supporters had to endure a further eight minutes before the final whistle finally arrived. Credit to the boys, they defended tigerishly and with great discipline as their opponent sought an elusive equalising score.

So two more league points for the boys. They were hard-earned but very well deserved.

Longwood: Billy Hogan (0-3), Kevin Maguire, Bob Maguire, Coyle O’Brien, Adam O’Brien, Niall Mulvey, Ciaran Sheridan (0-1), Sean Coloe (0-1), Anthony Healy, Gavin Griffith (0-1), Ryan Moore (0-3), Louis Butler (0-1), Jacob Baldwin, Thomas Coloe (1-0), Sean Sheridan (0-2). Subs: Adam Leacy for Kevin Maguire, Mark Kennedy for Louis Butler, David Coloe, Josh Meagher, Sam King

Next up for the boys is a Hurling League battle with Gaeil Colmcille in Grangegodden on Saturday evening.

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