Mullinalaghta 2-14  Abbeylara 1-02

Mullinalaghta were crowned Longford Senior Football Champions for the third year in succession, after a fully deserved victory over Abbeylara, with the latter now failing to win five finals in the last four years.

This was a fabulous performance from Mickey Graham’s side who were professional and organised from start to finish and Mullinalaghta will no doubt fancy their chances in the Leinster Club Championship.

The champions opted to keep David McGivney, John Keegan and Aidan McElligott as holding midfielders and it really frustrated the opposition who could not get into the game at all and played second fiddle for the majority of the game.

It was Abbeylara who had a dream start to the game, with midfielder Colm P Smyth finding the net with two minutes on the clock, after an excellent move involving Cian Brady and Brian Smyth.

Mullinalaghta settled superbly though, with the goal not appearing to impact too much on their game plan and various players added their name to the score-sheet, as the victors took control of procedures.

The key moment came on the stroke of half time, when Rian Brady finished to the back of the net, at the end of an excellent Mullinalaghta move.

Mickey Graham - soon to take over in Cavan - departs having led Mullinlaghta to three straight county titles in Longford

This goal was of great quality, with Aidan Mc Elligott picking out Jayson Matthews, who played the ball to David McGivney, with the midfielder finding Brady with a precision pass and Brady made no mistake with the finish.

This sent the reigning champions into half time with a 1-8 to 1-1 lead and it was always going to be a long way back for Abbeylara after this.

Rian Brady, who was otherwise magnificent, coughed up two fabulous goal chances to kill the game.

James McGivney could not convert from the penalty spot after Gary Rogers was fouled and McGivney’s goalbound effort was again saved by Gavin Kelly with 48 minutes on the clock.

Mullinalaghta finally did manage to register a goal to kill off the game and it was worth the wait, as a superb solo run from centre half Shane Mulligan, was followed up with a fabulous close range finish.

If Mickey Graham’s side can replicate this performance in the Leinster Club Championship they will be very hard beaten, with the champions of Offaly or Wicklow next up for the Longford Champions.

Abbeylara: Gavin Kelly; Michael McHugh, Fergal Battrim, Cathal Lynch; Russell Brady, Shane Mahon, PJ Masterson; Colm P Smyth (1-0), Barry McKiernan; Cian Brady, Conor Berry, Jason Kelly; Robbie Smyth (0-1), Brian Smyth, Nigel Rabbitte (0-1, 0-1f).

Subs: Padraig Berry for Kelly (26), Mel Brady for McKiernan (38), Michael Battrim for Lynch (46, b/c), Padraig Battrim for Conor Berry (56).

Mullinalaghta: Patrick Rogers; Simon Cadam, Patrick Fox, Conan Brady; Francis Mulligan, Shane Mulligan (1-1), Donal Mc Elligott; David McGivney (0-3, 0-3f), John Keegan (0-1); Gary Rogers, James McGivney, Brendan Fox (0-1); Jayson Matthews (0-3), Rian Brady (1-3), Aidan Mc Elligott.

Subs: Michael Cunningham (0-2) for Fox (51), Conor McElligott for Francis Mulligan (59), Luke Meehan for Conan Brady (60 + 2).

Referee: Fergal Kelly (Ballymahon).