Cabinteely and Longford played out a battling but entertaining 0-0 draw this evening in the first leg of their SSE Airtricity Premier Division play-off leaving everything to play for going into the second leg in Longford next weekend.
It was the home side who had the first real chance of the game inside five minutes with Conor Kenna denying Marty Waters with a fantastic last ditch tackle after Waters managed to navigate his way close to goal
Longford responded strongly after the chance for Waters in the following minutes putting lots of pressure on the Cabinteely defenders. Paul O'Conor and Adam Evans did well to find space in the following minutes close to goal weaving their way into the box from the left wing only for their final ball to let them down.
Despite Longford enjoying a lot of the ball in the early stages of the opening half the Cabinteely back four looked composed at the back throughout limiting Longford to very little in terms of real chances that might trouble McGuinness.
Close to the half hour mark Cabinteely right back Eoin Massey played a sublime diagonal ball across the box to find Marty Waters in space to meet the ball on the left wing. Waters continued down the wing before almost finding Rob Manley close to goal. The ball flashed just past the striker allowing Longford to clear the danger momentarily.
As a very even first half drew to a close, Longford tried their best to cause Cabinteely problems on the counter through Aaron Dobbs, O’Conor and the spritely Adam Evans but Keely and Tuite combined on a number of occasions to keep them at bay and McGuinness with little to do.
The second half progressed just as the first half had played out with both sides extremely well matched. The defensive back four at either end of the pitch standing tallest in terms of performances on the night.
With seventy minutes in the clock Cabinteely had the ball in the back of the net through Paul Fox only for the linesman to rule it out for offside. Another pinpoint diagonal ball from Eoin Massey found the wily Fox sneaking in at the back post and scoring from a header but his effort was deemed offside.
With just five minutes remaining Cabinteely were reduced to ten men when Kevin Knight was shown a straight red card from referee Alan Carey after a heavy challenge on Longford’s Mick McDonnell as both players challenged for the ball.
Longford couldn’t capitalize with the advantage in the remaining minutes with both teams seeming content to take a draw into next Friday’s second leg.
Both sides will meet again next Friday evening in Longford with all to play for in the second leg.
Cabinteely: Stephen McGuiness; Jack Tuite, Conor Keeley, Eoin Massey, Kevin Knight; Keith Dalton (Yuta Sasaki 65), Paul Fox (Jack Hudson 88), Vilnius Labutis (Shane Barnes 89), Zak O’Neill; Kieran Marty Waters, Robert Manley
Longford Town: Lee Steacy;Dean Zambra, Mick McDonnell, Conor Kenna, Joseph Manley; Jack Doherty, Paul O’Conor, Adam Evans, Sam Verdon (Aodh Dervin 75) Dylan Grimes (Peter Hopkins 72), Aaron Dobbs