St. Columba’s Mullinalaghta 1-8 Abbeylara 0-8

A second half goal from Aidan McElligott saw St. Columba’s Mullinalaghta end 66 years of hurt when they claimed the Longford SFC title with a fine win over their near neighbours and rivals Abbeylara.

The half parish were full value for their win despite trailing by two at the break, 0-5 to 0-3.

Jayson Matthews and Gary Rogers combined in the opening minute of the second half to set up McElligott who blasted the ball to the net for the game’s only goal.

Abbey levelled matters in the 35th minute through Nigel Rabbitt but Mullinalaghta hit a purple patch with John Keegan and young David McGivney in exceptional form. Matthews fired over two fine points to give his side a two-point lead in the 47th minute.

A Robbie Smyth free in the 49th minute cut the deficit to just one but that was the closest they were to get to Mullinalaghta as Mickey Graham’s charges pulled ahead in the final 10 minutes with McGivney kicking over three fine frees to put four between them in the 58th minute.

Smyth was on target again with a free in stoppage time, but try as they might they couldn’t get that elusive goal and for the second year in a row they had to settle for second best.

Aided by a significant breeze Abbey dominated the opening half with Smyth in terrific form kicking over three of their five points.

Abbey opened up an early three-point lead in the sixth minute with Smyth, wing-back Colm P Smyth and Jason Kelly (free) all pointing over.

With the Abbey defence resolute, Mullinalaghta found them hard to break them down and had to wait until the 10th minute to get their opening point through Donie McElligott.

Abbey twice went ahead by three points as Mullinalaghta struggled to get scores on the board and hit a number of wides. Rogers had a chance for them just before half-time but his effort went narrowly wide. They did however raise the green flag just after the break which set them on their way to a famous win.

ST. COLUMBA'S: P Rogers; S Cadam, P Fox, J Mooney; C Brady, S Mulligan, D McElligott (0-1); R McElligott, A McElligott (1-0); J Keegan, J McGivney, D McGivney (0-5,4f); J Matthews (0-2), G Rogers, R Brady.

Sub: C McElligott for R McElligott (39)

ABBEYLARA: D O’Connor; B Smyth, F Battrim, C Brady; C P Smyth, M McHugh, C Smyth; J Kelly (0-1,f), R Brady; N Rabbitt (0-1), W Crawford, J McEntire; R Smyth (0-5,3f), C Berry, C E Smyth.

Subs: B Smyth for McEntire (39), E Gallagher for C Smyth (41), P Berry for Rabbitt (53), K Smyth for CP Smyth and A O’Connor for Kelly (55)

Referee: Patrick Maguire (Granard)