Longwood were too strong for Cortown in this Division 4 League final at Kildalkey on Sunday.
Longwood 2-13 Cortown 0-7
Sunday afternoon last saw the clash of two sides who certainly have not afforded each other much love in their last couple of meetings. Intermediate Championship relegation 1st round in 2016 saw The green and gold men of Cortown come out on top but were subsequently relegated to the junior ranks after round 2. Cortown also came out on top 1-13 to 1-9 in this year's group league game back in May.
Longwood didn't need any reminding that day that they were without the services of county football star and "insta-famous" Mickey Burke. Also inter-county hurler Damian Healy was unavailable, Both of whom would have a significant say in what direction this years trophy would be headed.
So, it was fair to say the self proclaimed "hard beat" tag was somewhat justified for Cortown.
Could Longwood alter this?
They certainly started on the front foot. Sean Coloe dominating the early midfield exchanges against the aptly named "high tower" and with Michael Burke Jnr and Evan Coyle getting through the work of a pair of Clydesdales, Cortown were struggling to match 'The Woods' work rate and intensity out the field and also forwards Ryan Moore and Aaron Ennis were starting to get on top in their respective battles and just could not be handled by the Cortown defence.
Added to this Karl Ennis lining out number 6 rolled back the years and gave a magnificent display setting up attack after attack and sprayed the ball around excellently.
This conspired to give the men in Black and White a 1-7 to 0-3 lead at the break with joint top scorer Ryan Moore finished well to the net after latching onto a breaking ball and they were now carrying serious designs aimed at adding this Division 4 league title to their previous capture of the crown in 2014.
Cortown did hit a purple patch immediately into the 2nd half. They began to get on top in midfield and after the loss of Vinny Byrne and Sean Coloe to injury the Longwood defence found itself under significant pressure for the first time in the game.
Cortown reeled off 4 points in a row to briefly give their fantastic support something to cheer about.
Now over in Mayo they say Paddy Durken is always good for a score and Longwood can certainly say the same for county minor Niall Mulvey. His foraging runs out of defence have regularly yielded returns this year and he split the posts again today. Ryan Moore also slotted a free before Aaron Ennis finished brilliantly to the net to steady the ship once again for Longwood.
Cortown never recovered from here and it was all but over as a contest.
Overall it was a strong team display from Longwood and a great reward to end a mostly frustrating year. They found themselves on the wrong side of nearly all results by just the minimum after having had more than adequate chances to win games but just did not see them out. If they can tweak this and carry the winning mentality into next year they will not be far off the pace.
Both teams advance to A league Division 3 next year and that will certainly be a clash to relish.
Captain Karl Ennis lifted the cup for Longwood and it was taken back to the graveyard in the village to honour a very recently deceased local man, Enda Cully along with PJ Stenson (chairman, treasurer former)
The win is dedicated to their memory, may they rest in peace.
Longwood: Ross Healy, David Mc Quaid, Damian Healy, Niall Mulvey (0-1), Bob Maguire, Karl Ennis, Joey Stenson, Sean Coloe, Vincent Byrne, Michael Burke (0-4), Ryan Moore (1-4), Evan Coyle, Aaron Ennis (1-4), David Rowley and Anthony Healy. Subs: Jim Mahon for Sean Coloe, Enda Dixon for Vinny Byrne, Dermot Kiernan for David Rowley, Darragh Maguire for David Mc Quaid, Michael Mc Guigan for Evan Coyle
Referee Pat Clarke Seneschalstown