Daniel Purdy 29' -
David O'Sullivan 66' -
David O'Sullivan 102' -
David O'Sullivan 121' -
Derek O'Brien 123' -
Ryan Connolly 125' -
Longford Town 3 (3) Mervue United 2 (3)
3-3 on aggregate Longford Town advance 3-0 on penalties
Longford Town will take on Premier Division side Bray Wanderers in the promotion/relegation play-off after a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over a battling Mervue United side.
Town had fallen behind in this game to an early Jason Molloy goal but worked hard to get back into the tie and went ahead on aggregate in extra-time but victory was denied when Paul Sinnott scored with virtually the last kick of the game. Penalties decided this absorbing tie; David O’Sullivan, Derek O’Brien and Ryan Connolly scored for Town while Chris Bennion saved two of Mervue’s and they missed the other.
The large crowd in attendance felt every emotion during the 120 plus minutes of football. Mervue should be proud of their efforts in what was their last game in the league. They go out on the back of a good season and they can hold their heads up high. The home supporters gave the visitors a standing ovation at the end to recognise their efforts.
Mervue took the lead in the 6th minute when Molloy’s well struck free gave Bennion no change. Goalkeeper Conor O’Malley was lucky just to receive a yellow one minute later after he bizarrely picked the ball up outside his box.
Town began to get into the game and created a number of chances before they deservedly drew level in the 28th minute with a stunning long-range strike from Daniel Purdy after a neat pass from Connolly.
They had other chances but couldn’t add to that goal while just before the break Stephen Walsh was unlucky not to restore Mervue’s lead.
Town started the second half well; Connolly shot narrowly wide and then Dean Ebbe was denied by a Sinnott block. In the 62nd minute Purdy hit the butt of the post as Town continued to press.
Their pressure paid off in the 66th minute when O’Suliivan bundled the ball home in a crowded box to put them ahead on the night and level the tie on aggregate.
Mervue could have levelled on the counter attack in the 77th minute but after beating the offside trap Gary Shanahan picked up the ball and Bennion made a good save. Three minutes later they were dealt a blow when Ryan Manning was sent off for a second yellow.
In the 84th minute the woodwork denied Town again when Des Hope’s header came crashing off the crossbar and extra-time was required.
The game swung in the Town’s favour in the 103rd minute when they scored a 3rd goal; O’Sullivan heading home Connolly’s corner. Minutes later Chris Deans’ timely intervention blocked Alex Lee’s effort.
Both sides continued to create goal opportunities and just as time was up Sinnott pulled a goal back for Mervue to force a penalty shoot-out.
Longford Town: Chris Bennion; Noel Haverty, Chris Deans, Des Hope, Keith Quinn; Dean Ebbe (Derek O’Brien 63), Rhys Gorman (Gavin Doyle 93), Ryan Connolly, Daniel Purdy; David O’Sullivan, Gary Shaw (Josh O’Hanlon 67).
Subs: Paul Hunt, David O’Neill, Glenn O’Connor, Brian McCarthy.
Bookings: Deans (6), Quinn (45), O’Brien (90), O’Hanlon (), Doyle (107),
Mervue Utd: Conor O’Malley; Tom King, Marc Ludden, Martin Conneelly (Michael Duffy 51 (Brendan Lavelle 105), Paul Sinnott; Gary Shanahan, Barry O’Mahony, Noel Varley (Alex Lee 86), Jason Molloy; Stephen Walsh, Ryan Manning.
Subs: Conor Gleeson, Mike Elwood, Ross Kenny, Joe Woods.
Bookings: O’Malley (8), Manning (21), Walsh (50).
Sent off: Manning (80).
Referee: Kevin O’Regan (Kerry).
Extratime.ie man of the match: Ryan Connolly (Longford Town) - There were a few contenders. Paul Sinnott was very good for Mervue while Town’s Keith Quinn was absolutely brilliant but Connolly was immense in the middle of the park.