IFC semi-final: 'Wood win by a whisker

September 16, 2018

Longwood's Corran Byrne with David Finn Ballinabrackey during the Meath IFC semi final at Pairc Tailteann

Longwood staged a grandstand finish on Sunday evening at Pairc Tailteann to overcome Ballinabrackey in the second Meade Potato Company IFC semi-final. 

Longwood ....................  1-10
Ballinabrackey ............... 0-12

With the breeze and the sun at their backs, Longwood looked set to exit when trailing by two points heading into the 59th minute of a close contest. 

David Flynn's men managed a trio of scores to reach the IFC final where they will face Ballinlough who eliminated their neighbours Oldcastle in dramatic fashion at this venue 24 hours earlier.

The sides were tied five times over the hour. Mickey Burke's 59th minute effort from distance left Longwood in arrears by the minimum. 

The hour was almost up when Anthony Healy landed a point from about 35 metres. In the first minute of added time Ryan Moore landed what proved to be the match-winning score. 

Scores were tied four times before a gripping final quarter unfolded. Ballinabrackey had a claim for a penalty that wasn't given. In the 52nd minute Chris O'Connor's goal attempt was gathered by Longwood 'keeper Gary Heneghan. 

Ballinabrackey failed to capitalise on a poor kickout by Heneghan with Aaron Ennis sending wide. Even then a Longwood rally seemed unlikely. Then just as in the first IFC semi-final there was drama at the end. 

Playing with the breeze blowing towards the town goal, Ballinabrackey started on the wrong foot. The sides shared two points before Aaron Ennis placed Damien Healy for an eighth minute goal. 

Ballinabrackey responded well to this early setback outscoring Longwood by 0-8 to 0-2 over the remainder of the half.  The Bracks hit four points on the bounce to hit the front in the 15th minute when Daniel Quinn landed one of his three pointed first-half pointed frees. 

A Ryan Moore (free) for Longwood tied the scores for the second time, in the 19th minute, However, Darren Bannon's men outscored the 'Wood by 0-4 to 0-1 in the run-in to half-time. 

Seamus Curry's left-footed free was one of those scores while Seamus Curry's score finished off the move of the half and left Ballinabrackey leading by 0-9 to 1-3 at the break. 

Moments earlier Richard Coffey got off the mark with Ballinabrackey's penultimate first-half score. The team in green and gold posted three unanswered scores in the lead-in to the interval with a Daniel Quinn free getting the sequence going. 

Ballinabrackey led by 0-9 to 1-3 at the break. From the resumption, Danny Quinn dropped a free into Heneghan's hands. Longwood rallied with three points on the spin. Mickey Burke latched onto Anthony Healy's delivery to post the leveller. 

Scores were tied once more before the Bracks moved two clear by the 52nd minute. It was the prelude to the dramatic finale that propelled Longwood to their first IFC final since 1942.  

Longwood - Gary Heneghan; Paul Gill, Christopher Lynch, Bob Maguire; Joey Stenson, Eoin Lynch, Karl Ennis; Niall Mulvey, Anthony Healy (0-3, 1f); Damien Healy (1-0), Ryan Moore (0-3, 2fs), Evan Coyle; Aaron Ennis, Mickey Burke (0-2), Wayne Leonard (0-1). Subs - Corran Byrne for Gill (29), Sean Sheridan for K Ennis (51)

Ballinabrackey - John Curry; Michael Kearney, Nicholas Judge, Stephen Donoghue (0-1); Sean Bannon, Derek Flynn, Richard Coffey (0-1); Eric Clancy, Daniel Quinn (0-4, 3fs); Seamus Curry (0-2, 1f), Trevor Bannon (JC), Dean McNamee; David Finn, Damien Carroll (0-3, 2fs), Chris O'Connor (JC) (0-1). Subs - Diarmuid Melady for S Bannon (bs 14-15), David Thompson for Finn (51).

Referee - Padraic Coyle (Seneschalstown).

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