Longford 2-10 Wicklow 1-08
Longford’s deadly inside forwards Sarah Tierney and Michelle Farrell collected 2-08 between them as the Midlanders saw off dogged Wicklow by five points to claim the Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 4 title.
Tierney scored 1-03 and Farrell 1-05 as Longford, managed by former Armagh boss James Daly, secured promotion back to Division 3, having been relegated to the bottom tier in 2015.
It’s Longford’s first League crown since their 2012 Division 4 success and they were full value for it in Clane, despite a spirited second half fight-back from Wicklow.
When Tierney netted early in the first half, Longford had their biggest lead of the game, 1-09 to 0-05, but Wicklow cut that deficit back to two points on separate occasions before full-time.
A brilliant Wicklow move culminated in a goal on 43 minutes for sub Katie Miley and that sparked a Garden County revival.
Another sub, Laurie Ahern, clipped over a point with nine minutes left and Longford’s lead was cut back to just two.
Farrell and Helena Dowling traded points before Farrell, who had rattled the Wicklow crossbar twice in the first half, did so again. This time, however, the lethal Colmcille forward was on hand to follow up from close range for a match-clinching goal, four minutes from time.
In greasy conditions, Longford were 0-08 to 0-04 ahead at the break, while also registering seven wides in the opening half.
A close encounter had been anticipated as just three points separated the teams in the last round of group fixtures, Longford prevailing too on that occasion.
But Farrell and Tierney were the match-winners, while Longford also had an excellent defensive display from full-back Leanne Keegan.
Scorers for Longford: M Farrell 1-05 (0-02f), S Tierney 1-03, A Reynolds 0-02.
Scorers for Wicklow: K Miley 1-00, C Walsh 0-03f, A Murphy 0-02, J Kinch, L Ahern & H Dowling 0-01 each.
Longford: M Kilkenny; S Hughes, L Keegan, M Moore; E Heaney, L Farrell, M Noonan; J Brady, M Reynolds; A McDonnell, A Reynolds, A O’Hara; A Greene, S Tierney, M Farrell.
Subs: A Darcy for Greene (15), N Darcy for Moore (38), A McCormack for O’Hara (38), A Duffy for McDonnell (44), A McGowan for A Reynolds (57).
Wicklow: G Norton; S.J. Winder, S Hogan, S Byrne; A Gillen, N McGettigan, J Nolan-Byrne; A Gorman, J Kinch; E Mulhall, C Walsh, S.M. Cullen; C Byrne, L Hogan, A Murphy.
Subs; K Miley for L Hogan (29), C Fox for S Byrne (h.t.), L Ahern for Gillen (38), R Byrne for Mulhall (46), H Dowling for Walsh (51).
Referee: N McCormack (Laois)