Never-say-die Longford came from behind in both normal time and extra-time to earn a replay with Kildare following an epic Leinster SFC quarter-final at Bord na Mona O'Connor Park.
Trailing by seven points after 41 minutes, Padraic Davis' underdogs fought back to force extra-time on a 2-14 to 1-17 scoreline with Mark Hughes' 54th minute goal proving the catalyst for their comeback. After the top of the upright had denied Longford's James McGivney a winning point in the last action of normal time, Kildare started extra-time in whirlwind fashion to open up a three-point lead, but Longford levelled again through a Mickey Quinn goal at the end of the first period.
The second period produced no further scores, meaning the sides will return to Tullamore next Sunday for the replay (throw-in 3pm), with All-Ireland champions Dublin awaiting the winners in the provincial semi-final.
The Leinster championship gets a lot of bad press, but this was a brilliant contest which ebbed and flowed throughout. David Hyland gave Kildare an early lead against the run of play and further efforts from Ben McCormack, Adam Tyrrell and Hyland had them to 0-4 to 0-0 in front before Longford rallied with three David McGivney frees and a James McGivney points from play.
After Daniel Mimnagh and Adam Tyrell traded points, Darragh Doherty raised the game's first green flag in the 22nd minute to propel Longford into a three-point lead. Kildare levelled through points from McCormack, Eoghan O'Falherty and Paddy Brophy before Tyrrell bagged 1-1 in the closing stages of the half to leave Cian O'Neill's men perched on a 1-12 to 1-8 lead at the interval.
Longford's James McGivney looks on as his late effort to win the game in normal time hits the post. ©INPHO/James Crombie.
Further scores from David Hyland and Tyrrell stretched out the Lilywhites' lead to seven points on the restart, but Longford refused to throw in the towel as David McGivney and John Keegan had points either side of Hughes' crucial goal.
Two points from the excellent Tyrrell cancelled out efforts by Barry McKeon and Hughes before substitute Aidan McElligott brought Longford level in the 71st minute.
After having that huge let-off at the end of normal time, Kildare looked to have finally broken Longford's resistance with three quick points at the beginning of extra-time from David and Jimmy Hyland, and the reintroduced McCormack.
But after James McGivney and Jimmy Hyland exchanged points, captain Quinn fired home a third Longford goal to restore parity for a final time following a clever knockdown by David McGivney.
Longford - P Colum; P Fox, A Farrell, B O’Farrell; C P Smyth, P McCormack, D Quinn; J Keegan (0-1), D McGivney (0-4f); G Rogers, B McKeon (0-1), M Quinn (1-0); D Mimnagh (0-3), J McGivney (0-4), D Doherty (1-0). Subs: J Hagan for A Farrell, M Hughes (1-1) for D Doherty, S Kenny for G Rogers, A McElligott (0-1) for C P Smyth, R McEntire for S Kenny, D Doherty for M Hughes.
Kildare - M Donnellan; M Dempsey, D Hyland (0-4, 1m), M Hyland; P Kelly, E Doyle, K Cribbin; K Feely, F Conway (0-2); D Slattery, B McCormack (0-3), E O’Flaherty (0-1f); A Tyrrell (1-7, 0-3f), P Brophy (0-1), N Flynn. Subs: C Hartley (0-1) for B McCormack, N Kelly for E O’Flaherty, J Hyland (0-2) for N Flynn, T Moolick for F Conway, C McNally for A Tyrrell, B McCormack for P Brophy, K O’Callaghan for D Slattery.
Referee - N Cullen.Tweet