A brace of extra-time goals saw Longford complete a remarkable comeback to beat Monaghan 4-15 to 1-17 in extra-time of an enthralling SFC qualifier in Clones. The Leinster side trailed 0-6 to 1-5 at the break and the Farney men led 1-15 to 1-11 with just a few minutes remaining of normal time. However, Liam Keenan netted a late Longford goal before Padraig Davis, who notched eleven points in total, hit the equaliser. In extra-time, Longford scored 2-3, including goals from Paul Barden and Trevor Smullen.
The home side sprung from the traps early with Damien Freeman, set up by brother Tom, finishing to the Longford net on five minutes. They went on to hit eight wides in the half, however, as Davis (0-04), Paul Barden and Martin Mulleady (0-01 each) played Longford back into the frame.
Barden and Gary McQuaid snapped over points immediately after Freeman’s goal and a brace from Davis saw Longford finish the quarter-hour just a point behind – and that’s how it stayed until half-time.
Freeman and Davis exchanged further points after the restart before James Coyle hauled down burly forward Niall Sheridan in the Monaghan area. Paul Barden lashed home the resulting penalty on 39 minutes for a 1-07 to 1-06 Longford lead. Monaghan failed to lie down and through sheer persistence grabbed seven of the next nine points to regain the ascendancy on 65 minutes at 1-13 to 1-09.
David Barden and Davis hit the Longford points with substitute Ciaran Tavey, rather strangely on for the influential Woods, grabbing a hat-trick of Monaghan scores, McQuaid notching his second point on 43 minutes and the Freemans also adding two more.
Davis, an immense figure up front for Longford, then hit three more surefooted points (2 frees), cancelling Nicholas Corrigan and Tavey points, and Keenan’s sudden goal sent the match into extra-time at 1-15 to 2-12.
David Barden’s goal three minutes in set up Longford to end the first period five points in front, with Davis and Smullen rallying his troops. Woods came back onto the field to add a 15th Monaghan point after Corrigan had notched his second, but Longford clinically closed out the win when Smullen finishing smartly past goalkeeper Glen Murphy.