Longford footballers have now beaten Derry on three occasions in the All-Ireland qualifiers.The latest of these victories came last Saturday at Celtic Park.
It was the least expected. Not many gave Jack Sheedy’s side a chance as they headed north, following on from their defeat to Wexford and a league campaign that saw them drop down to the fourth tier.
And while Derry were short a few regulars, they were still expected to progress, with RTÉ pundit Kevin McStay envisaging at least a round-4 spot in the back-door for the Foylesiders. However, their season is now over, but for Longford a date with a beaten provincial semi-finalist now awaits.
Paul Barden bagged 1-02 against the Ulster opposition in what was a man of the match display.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport after the game, the veteran attacker said the squad were determined to seize the opportunity if victory presented itself at Celtic Park.
He said: “We had a chat after the Wexford game. It was a game where we didn’t play to our best but we did get ourselves into a winning position with a few minutes to go. We didn’t take the opportunity.
"From that we had to question ourselves as characters against Derry and see what we were really made of.
"We turned in our best performance in years; took our chances and saw the game through at the end.”
"We turned in our best performance in years"
Nine different players got on the score sheet for Longford and Barden was quick to salute the side’s profitability in front of goal.
“Every time we came forward, we looked like scoring on a day where the pitch was perfect and the weather was perfect,” he added.
“Our shooting was brilliant. Overall, they were very few wides in the game.
"At the end of the day it boils down to attitude and our attitude was fantastic from every man that came onto the field."