Longford continued their fine start to 2020 with a three-point victory over Louth in their first game of Allianz Football League Division 3 at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.

In truth, Padraic Davis's side looked like winners from a long way out thanks to the efficiency of Darren Gallagher from placed balls, the midfielder who missed their Leinster campaign last year was masterful off the deck, ending the game with five points. 

Showing a lot more cohesion, Longford brought all their O’Byrne cup winning momentum to the league opener.

Gallagher notched his first with a point from a brought up free kick and Rian Brady added a brace with the games first score from play on the 10th minute. 

Ryan Burns eventually got Louth up and running with a brace himself but with Longford packing the space, chances were at a premium for the visitors. 

On the back of that defensive solidity, Longford landed five unanswered scores. Talisman Michael Quinn read and intercepted a Louth kick out to ignite the sequence.

Kevin Diffley pointed the game's first mark and Colm P Smyth came up from wing back to stretch the lead further for the hosts.

Longford manager Padraic Davis

Wayne Kierans' Louth side were struggling to stay in the game at this stage and their goal led a charmed life with goalkeeper Craig Lynch twice denying Brady and Iarla O'Sullivan with point blank saves. Gallagher would salvage two scores from the resultant 45’s to make it a deserved six-point advantage. 

Then Louth were handed a lifeline with a goal against the run of play in the 25th minute. One of four league debutants on the day Gerry Garland, got on the end of a terrific team move where the Wee County worked the ball through the lines in excellent fashion. Burns added another free for Louth to trail 0-09 to 1-03 at half time.

Impressive wing back Iarla O’Sullivan pointed on his first league outing for Longford in a pedestrian start to the second half. Brady added to his tally while Gallagher continued with his fine place kicking form.

In the midst of the home sides dominance all Louth could muster was a Declan Byrne mark. 

Soon though, Louth would cut the gap to three again. Forced to empty the bench, one of the replacements Oisin Murray along with midfielder Tommy Durning sparked a mini revival but Gallagher was on hand again to weather the storm, with a superb long range point to importantly keep the Longford scoreboard ticking.

 Iarla O'Sullivan of Longford 

Longford substitute Darragh Doherty saw out the game with two well taken points when possible goals were on. 

Both sides were reduced to 14 men at the end, Quinn picked up a second yellow and Louth wingback Eoghan Callaghan followed suit.

Longford beat Louth in the corresponding fixture to kick off the campaign last season and look well set for a promotion tilt.

Longford: Paddy Collum; Andrew Farrell, Patrick Fox, Barry O’Farrell; Iarla O’Sullivan (0-01), Gary Rogers, Colm P Smyth (0-01); Darren Gallagher (0-05 0-03f 0-0245’), Kevin Diffley (0-01, 0-01m); Dessie Reynolds (0-01), Daniel Mimnagh, Michael Quinn (0-01); Rian Brady (0-04, 0-02f), Joseph Hagan, Oran Kenny.

Subs Used:Darragh Doherty (0-02) for Hagan (h-t), Liam Connerton for Kenny (62), Peter Lynn for O’Sullivan (68)

Louth: Craig Lynch; Dan Corcoran, Dermot Campbell, Andrew Mooney; Emmet Carolan, Liam Jackson, Eoghan Callaghan; Tommy Durnin (0-02, 0-01f), James Califf; Gerry Garland (1-00), Ciaran Downey, Conall McKeever; Sam Mulroy, Declan Byrne (0-01, 0-01m), Ryan Burns (0-05, 0-04f).

Subs Used: Oisin Murray (0-01) for McKeever (40), Eoghan Duffy for Garland (44), Bevan Duffy for Califf (55), Conor Grimes for Mulroy (55), Paul Mathews (0-01) for Byrne (62)

Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan)