A thrilling end-to-end encounter in Tullamore ended with Longford progressing to a Leinster quarter-final clash with Meath next Sunday afternoon, and they'll hope to carry this impressive attacking form into Páirc Tailteann in a bid to cause the first big upset of the year.
In possession, Pádraic Davis men were little short of superb here.
Both corner-forwards, Rian Brady and Robbie Smyth, registered 0-05 from play while 11 players in total raised white flags. They attacked Carlow with pace, purpose and energy from the start, and could have been out of sight by the first-half water break but for two incredible saves from Ciarán Cunningham that denied Darren Gallagher from close range.
The first opportunity summed up the type of attacking football that Longford produced time and again.
A 50-metre raking pass from Michael Quinn found Robbie Smyth in the right corner, and with Longford forwards making runs in different directions to open up space, Smyth was able to play the ball into Gallagher’s chest and open up a one-on-one with the Carlow keeper.
Cunningham was equal to the challenge, as he was again when Gallagher took him on from eight metres out shortly afterwards, and Carlow will have felt the more fortunate side to be just 0-04 to 0-02 adrift at the water break.
At midfield however, Carlow were struggling. Longford picked off scores from tight angles, from distance, and sliced through the Carlow defence at will. 0-04 to 0-02 became 0-12 to 0-03, and it seemed like yet another hammering was in store on a weekend when landslide victories were commonplace in both the football and hurling championships.
Carlow's introduction of Paul Broderick steadied the ship however and by half-time, the gap was seven. Five minutes after the restart, it was 0-13 to 0-09 and game on.
What followed was another incredibly impressive spell of attacking play from Davis’ side.
They shot five of the next six points, conceded a stunning goal to Carlow corner-forward Conor Crowley and got right back on the horse, picking off the next three points to restore their comfortable lead.
Space was not hard to find all over the pitch in Tullamore, as the pace of the game underneath the summer sun started to take a toll on both sides.
Tackles were failing to find the mark as the two teams created overlaps time and again, and both goalkeepers were called into action repeatedly, with Chris Blake, Michael Quinn and Broderick all denied by some fantastic goal-line saves.
Davis’ decision to withdraw Smyth and Brady suggested that the Longford management felt relaxed about their prospects as time expired, but a catch and finish from Darragh Foley cut the gap to five and increased tension levels once again.
Time was their enemy at this stage however and Longford easily saw out the six minutes of stoppage time, with Oran Kenny adding their final score.
Longford: P Collum; P Fox (0-01), A Farrell, E Macken; I O'Sullivan, M Quinn (0-01), C P Smyth; K Diffley (0-01), D Gallagher (0-04, 0-03 frees); D Reynolds (0-02), D McGivney (0-02), D McElligott (0-01); R Smyth (0-05), J Hagan (0-02), R Brady (0-05).
Subs: D Mimnagh for CP Smyth (33), L Connerton for McElligott (56), O Kenny (0-01) for Brady (58), D Doherty for R Smyth (61), D Farrell for Reynolds (66)
Carlow: C Cunningham; L Roberts, S Redmond, J Moore; J Morrissey; J Murphy, S Bambrick; E Ruth, S Gannon; R Dunphy, C Hulton (0-02), J Clarke; C Blake (0-03), D Foley (1-04, 0-03 frees), C Crowley (1-00).
Subs: M Bambrick for Ruth (33), P Broderick (0-04, 0-03 frees) for Dunphy (33), T Kenny for Murphy (half-time), J Lowry for Roberts (ht), C Lawlor for Bambrick (66)
Referee: C Lane (Cork)