Longford win All-Ireland and make history

06 May 2003
Football n Longford received another boost when the County Vocational Schools team overcame Galway in the All-Ireland Vocational Schools Inter-County A Final and made history becoming the first County to win the A and B All-Ireland’s.

Longford 2-13
Galway 1-6

By Ray Donlon


From the word go the Longford side were the far superior side, with Longford dominating the game for almost the entire 60 minutes, with Brian Kavanagh scoring 2-4 for the winners. Longford came out on top with 10 points to spare, with Galway only managing to register 1-1 in the second half.

Longford much like their County minor counterparts last year had a fairytale run to the final, winning the Leinster B Final, Leinster A Final, All-Ireland B Final, with wins over Wexford, Wicklow and Tipperary along the way, they also beat Meath and Dublin on the road to the final, with convincing wins in all games.

In Galway’s defence they never stopped plugging away or dropped the heads, with Tomas O Conghaile’s goal in the 4th minute of the second half, almost turning the game around, however Longford were the stronger team and were deserving winners at the final whistle.

Longford got off to a flying start recording the first 3 points of the contest, with fine scores from Padraig Berry, Brian Kavanagh and Paddy Dowd, however Galway came back with 3 points on the trot from Shane Hogan (0-2) and Tomas O Conghaile, to bring it back to a draw game.

However it was all Longford for the next 10 minutes of the first half, with Brian Kavanagh smacking over the next point of the game from a well-taken free. 3 minutes later Brian Kavanagh hammered home Longford’s first goal of the game, with a lovely finish from the Longford full-forward. Kevin Smyth fired over the next 2 points on the trot for Longford.

Galway came back with the next 2 points of the first half, with Niall O Cadhain and Tomas O Conghaile converting them, Longford notched 1 more score before half-time, with Kevin Smyth sending it over, Longford lead at the break, 1-7 to 0-5.  

Galway opened the scoring in the second half with Kevin Ruane firing it over from play. Galway looked as if they might come back into the contest somewhat with Tomas O Conghaile blasting home their only goal of the game with a fantastic finish from O Conghaile, 4 minutes into the second half.

Longford then showed real determination with Longford coming back with the remaining scores of the game and some soiled defending from the Longford backs with Shane Mulligan and Joseph Keogh to the fore.

Brian Kavanagh pointed Longford’s next score of the game with a well-taken point from play, Conor Casey went on to notch the next point, with Brian Kavanagh and Fergus Kelly firing over the next 2 points of the game for the eventual winners.

Brian Kavanagh who had a memorable game for the winners wrapped up the game as a contest in the 52 minute when scoring his and Longford’s second goal of the game, with another excellent finish from Kavanagh, with the Galway goalkeeper however a bit unlucky on both occasions.

Galway almost recorded a second goal in the 55 minute of the contest with Niall Callanan’s rocket of a shot going off the post. Conor Casey went on to register Longford’s last point of the game with his second point of the afternoon, which was the last action of the final.

The Longford side were crowned the 2003 All-Ireland Vocational Schools Inter-County A champions and thus making history in becoming the first County ever to win both the A and B titles and also becoming the first Longford team to win this competition, final score from a very wet Athlone GAA Grounds, read Longford 2-13 to Galway 1-6, with the good times continuing for the Midlands County.   

SCORERS - Longford: Brian Kavanagh 2-4 (3F), Kevin Smyth 0-4 (1F), Conor Casey 0-2, Padraig Berry 0-1, Paddy Dowd 0-1, Fergus Kelly 0-1. Galway: Tomas O Conghaile 1-2, Shane Hogan 0-2 (2F), Kevin Ruane 0-1, Niall O Cadhain 0-1.

LONGFORD - P Boyce; J Keogh, D Sheridan, M Egan; M Connell, S Collins, S Mulligan; P Dowd, K Smyth; B McElvanney, F Kelly, C Casey; P Berry, B Kavanagh, A Dooney. Subs:- E Madden for M Connell (47 mins); C Flynn for P Berry (48 mins); D Hussey for A Dooney (58 mins); J O’Shea for F Kelly (59 mins).

GALWAY - A O Cleirigh; D Reilly, P Eoin O Ceidigh, C O Loideain; T Griallais, I Mac An Riogh, N Healy; N O Cadhain, M Creaven; C Kilroy, M O Cathasaigh, T O Conghaile; K Ruane, S Hogan, N Callanan.

REFEREE: Brian Crowe (Cavan).