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Saffrons are sunk by brilliance of Paul Barden

Longford 0-15 Antrim 1-8

Longford registered their fifth league win in a row to consolidate their place at the top of the Division 3 table and are now virtually guaranteed promotion to Division 2 following a four points win over Antrim at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday.

Glenn Ryan's side had built up a commanding 0-9 to 0-3 lead at the break with four of their points coming from frees converted by Sean McCormack while Paul Barden (2), Niall Mulligan, Brian Kavanagh and Shane Mulligan were also on target.

The visitors suffered a severe setback in the opening minute of the second half when they were reduced to 14 players after wing forward Michael Armstrong was sent-off for two yellow cards.

That left Antrim facing a real uphill battle, although they gradually closed the gap and four points on the trot — three from Thomas McCann (two frees) — gave them a glimmer of hope.

But Longford regained their tight grip on the game with a score apiece from Bernard McElvaney and Paul Barden.

Points were then exchanged between McCann (‘45') and McElvaney before Antrim got right back into contention with a goal from a penalty converted in some style by McCann to leave Longford hanging on to a slender 0-13 to 1-8 lead.

But the table toppers were in no mood to let victory slip from their grasp and finished the stronger with a brace of further points from impressive centre-half-forward Paul Barden.

Longford: D Sheridan; D Brady, B Gilleran, D Reilly; CP Smyth, M Quinn, S Mulligan (0-1); B McElvaney (0-2), J Keegan; D Barden, P Barden (0-5), N Mulligan (0-1); D McElligott, B Kavanagh (0-1), S McCormack (0-5, 4f). Subs: J McGivney for J Keegan (53 mins); JJ Matthews for N Mulligan (66 mins).

Antrim: C Kerr; K O'Boyle, R Johnstone, M Johnstone; T Scullion, J Crozier, P McBride; M McCann, A Gallagher; T McCann (1-5, 1-0 pen, 3f, 1 '45'), C Kelly, M Armstrong; C Murray, M Sweeney (0-1), P Cunningham (0-2, 2f). Subs: J Loughrey for P McBride (ht); S McDonagh for C Murray (48 mins); M Magill for P Cunningham (48 mins); B Neeson for C Kelly (61 mins).

Referee: P Kneel (Louth).

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