Longford manager Glenn Ryan claimed the disappointment of defeat to Wexford in the Leinster Championship quarter-final replay was the inspiration behind his team’s three point victory over Derry in Round 1 of the All-Ireland Qualifiers.
Michael Wilson reports
Ryan said he wanted to use that heart-breaking defeat as motivation for the Qualifiers, having already secured Division Two football for next season.
“The Wexford defeat was hard to take,” explained the Longford manager, “We had to turn it around and use it to our advantage and rather than feel sorry for ourselves we had to go out and bounce back. Thankfully it worked out.”
The Longford manager admitted Derry’s two goals, both from Barry McGoldrick at vital times in the second half, could have left his team staring at defeat but Ryan said the Pearse Park men dug in deep and showed great hunger and desire to hit back each time.
“Those goals gave them a lift and they could have been killer blows for us but we managed to rescue the situation.”
Sean McCormack was the main threat for Longford, scoring 11 points, and his manager was full of praise for the sharpshooter but also the other players who performed their part in a memorable win for Longford who will now be fancied to defeat Limerick in Round Two.
“We can’t say much more about Sean as he was terrific but so were the other lads. Sean’s return on the pitch came from huge effort and hard work both on the pitch, in training and on his own. That’s the same as the other lads. That’s the ethic that’s there at the moment with the entire squad.”
“The team showed great resolve, great fight and commitment especially near the end. That’s the most important thing,” he added.
Ryan’s Derry counterpart John Brennan vented his frustrations at Sligo official Michael Duffy who disallowed a late Joe Diver ‘goal’ and sent off Barry McGoldrick on two yellow cards.
“Last year against Kildare we had only six days to prepare but we had two weeks to prepare for this game and we were well prepared but our bench was not as strong as we would have liked.
“We showed that the opposition defence was suspect with the two goals we got but we still have a lot to learn. Longford have won, good luck to them. They have a very partisan crowd, good support and I can only wish them the best of luck. How far they can go depends on who they get in the next round.
“We missed a handy free in the first half, we missed a goal chance going towards half time from players you would expect better from. We had a free - and I know it was close to the touch-line - the very last free of the first half, but for an experienced player to take it short to another player maybe summed up that 15 minute spell at the end of the first half which lost us the game.”