Longford went to town in the scoring stakes in City Calling Stadium against Shamrock Rovers’ First Division team on Friday night. David O’Sullivan (2), Lorcan Shannon, Gary Shaw, Don Cowan and Mark Salmon, from the penalty spot, all got on the scoresheet as the Hoops side suffered their heaviest defeat of the season as they were no match for Tony Cousins’ team.
David O’Sullivan was on the scoresheet for Longford Town when the sides last met but he ended up on the losing team in that game after Daniel Purdy got the winner late in Tallaght for the Hoops. This time around O’Sullivan opened the scoring for Longford but by then Rovers’ First Division star performer Purdy had been substituted with a shoulder injury and Town kept on scoring after that.
O’Sullivan had got a shot on goal 12 minutes into the game which required Conor O’Malley in the Rovers goal to go to ground to save. Three minutes later O’Sullivan scored after he pounced on the error by Alan Kehoe to take the ball around the Rovers goalkeeper and slot it into an empty net.
When Rovers trooped off at half-time they were 3-0 down. While the Hoops had created a couple of chances through Emeka Onwubiko, it was Tony Cousins’ men who took the opportunities that came their way. For Rovers Onwubiko lob over Paul Hunt in the Town goal was cleared before Hunt had to save after Onwubiko had turned Stephen Rice on the edge of the box.
Longford scored twice in the final five minutes of the half. Gary Shaw was causing the Rovers defence difficulty and he doubled Longford’s lead as his header beat the Hoops goalkeeper. Evanda Nkolo’s touch at the corner flag gave him space to curl an excellent cross onto the head of Shaw. A minute before the break, it was 3-0 after great work by Lorcan Shannon to battle into the Rovers box to score.
Colin Hawkins would have had some strong words for the Hoops at half-time but they didn’t seem to take heed. Lorcan Shannon got a cross into the box that Rovers really should have cleared a minute into the second half. Conor Dunne’s error allowed David O’Sullivan nip in on goal to toe poke it passed Conor O’Malley.
Rovers probably played some of their best football after going 4-0 down and began to pass the ball in and around the Longford midfield but they failed to put any real pressure on the home side’s goal. Cousins was able to bring off David O’Sullivan soon after but it didn’t dampen his team’s desire for scoring.
The way the game was going Colin Hawkins might have feared for the worst when O’Malley took down substitute Don Cowan in the box a quarter an hour from the end but he picked up only a yellow card. Cowan picked up the ball to take the spot kick. However he was overruled by his captain as Mark Salmon took the ball from him and stepped up to score from 12 yards.
The goals weren’t finished though as a sliced shot from Rice fell nicely to Cowan who turned and scored from the edge of the six yard box five minutes from the end to make it 6-0. In injury time, Cowan’s run really should have been rewarded with a goal but his shot after cutting in from the edge of the area struck the post and stayed out.
Rovers remain second from bottom in the First Division while Longford are in fourth place but they travel to Cobh next Monday with the chance of going second in the table if they can get a win in their re-arranged fixture against Ramblers.
Longford Town: Paul Hunt; James Mulhall, Pat Sullivan, Pat Flynn, Willie Tyrrell; Etanda Nkololo (Sean Russell 65), Stephen Rice, Mark Salmon, Lorcan Shannon; Gary Shaw (Peter Hynes 71), David O’Sullivan (Don Cowan 57).
Subs not used: Chris Bennion (gk), Glenn O’Connor, Dean Murphy, Dylan Nolan.
Booked: Stephen Rice (68), Gary Shaw (71).
Shamrock Rovers: Conor O’Malley; Corie Treacy (Liam Traynor 64), Conor Dunne, Michael Kelly, Nathan Brown; Daniel Purdy (Kevin Knight 7), Ryan Doolin, Stephen Confrey, Richard Purdy (Jack Watson 78); Emeka Onwubiko, Mark Sandford.
Subs not used: Shane Fagan (gk), Muhanned Bukhatwa, Azeez Yussuff, Nathan Browne.
Booked: Conor O’Malley (74).
Referee: Kevin O’Regan
Extratime.ie man of the match: David O’Sullivan (Longford Town).