Andrew Dempsey reports from Tallaght Stadium
A brace from Longford Town’s Rob Manley was enough to see Daire Doyle’s charges past Shamrock Rovers II at Tallaght Stadium.
However, De Town had to survive a second half onslaught from the young Hoops with Kevin Zeffi becoming the youngest goalscorer in League of Ireland history.
Longford have now gone joint-top with league leaders Cabinteely despite having played a game more than Pat Devlin’s side.
Following their morale-boosting three-one win over Wexford last time out, Longford Town went into the Tallaght Stadium showdown making just the one change.
Sam Verdon was replaced by Dylan Grimes after the former St Patrick’s Athletic forward came off injured last week.
On the other hand, Aidan Price’s Shamrock Rovers II came into the game fresh off the back of a superb four-nil win away to Athlone Town at Lissywoolen.
The Hoops’ second string impressed in a dominant second half display at the Co. Westmeath venue – with Brandon Kavanagh scoring twice.
They did however make changes from their win versus Athlone – as Jordan Tallon, Michael Leddy and Alex Dunne came in for Dean McMenamy, Thomas Oluwa and the suspended Sean Callan.
And after an even opening to the game, Max Murphy had the first effort on target, as he forced a routine save from Lee Steacy.
Longford went close minutes later – but they could open the scoring as Mick McDonnell’s ball from deep could not be met by the feet of Rob Manley.
Adam Evans then went close for the visitors, but he could only see his effort go across the face of the goal after some good link up play with Dean Byrne.
Rovers II however remained a threat, and they put Steacy into some rare action as he made a routine save from a weak Kavanagh cross.
After 25 minutes, the visitors should have taken the lead through Dean Byrne. Rob Manley raced through on goal after picking up on a loose John Ryan pass.
However, Manley’s lay off to Byrne was scuffed by the returning Longford Town star who could not convert when it looked easier to do so.
However, minutes later Longford would not be denied as Rob Manley fired home his second goal of the season.
The former Cabinteely star picked up on a defensive mishap from Dunne to slot home past Kian Clarke in the Rovers II goal.
Longford continued to press high and well as the half ended, but they were unable to add to their advantage before the half-time break.
But moments after the second-half begun, Longford did in fact double their lead and they did so via the head of Rob Manley.
Manley rose highest to nod home Adam Evans’ floating free-kick as Rovers II keeper Kian Clarke was left rooted his spot.
Shortly after, the young Hoops almost halved their deficit but Steacy was on hand to stand tall to push away Michael Leddy’s dangerous strike on goal.
Despite appearing in control for much of the play, Longford Town saw their deficit halved with just over ten minutes to go as Kevin Zeffi netted for the young Hoops.
The 15-year-old became the youngest scorer in League of Ireland history as he blasted home his rebounded effort into Lee Steacy’s top corner.
Zeffi nearly levelled minutes later but he denied by Joe Gorman’s heroic block as Longford hung on for dear life as the final whistle approached.
And they did just about hang as they moved level on points with Cabinteely who are top of the table on goal difference.
Shamrock Rovers II: Kian Clarke; Alex Dunne (Aidomo Emakhu 69), Max Murphy, Adam Wells (Peter Adigun 69); Aaron Bolger (Dean McMenamy 55), Sean Brennan (Kevin Zefi 69), Brandon Kavanagh, Michael Leddy, Darragh Nugent, John Ryan (Cole Omorehiomnan 55), Jordan Tallon;
Subs not used: Killian Cahill, Oisin Hand.
Booked: Adam Wells (38), Dean McMenamy (67), Brandon Kavanagh (82),
Longford Town: Lee Steacy; Joe Gorman, Joseph Manley, Michael McDonnell; Aodh Dervin, Shane Elworthy, Adam Evans (Niall Barnes 81), Dylan Grimes (Aaron McCabe 90), Dean Zambra (Matthew O'Brien 81); Dean Byrne (Karl Chambers 62), Rob Manley.
Subs not used: Luke Dennison, Dylan Hand, Callum Warfield.
Booked: Michael McDonnell (72) Matthew O'Brien (90) .
Referee: Mark Moynihan.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Rob Manley (Longford Town).