Brendan Graham reports from City Calling Stadium
Kieran Marty Waters scored the only goal as Cabinteely went top and extended their unbeaten run to a record seven games at City Calling Stadium.
Striker Waters ran onto a through-ball from the league’s top scorer Rob Manley and fired past goalkeeper Lee Steacy as Cabo returned to the top of the table at Longford’s expense.
Cabo started strongly ad Anto Breslin suffered a lapse in concentration with five minutes on the clock to allow the visitors the first chance of the game.
Midfielder Keith Dalton made the most of the mistake, stealing the ball from Breslin and driving towards goal.
Dalton looked up before squaring the ball across the box but there was nobody there to capitalise and the ball was deflected out for a corner which Longford dealt with comfortably.
Mick McDonnell flashed a header over the bar moments later for Longford’s first chance of the game but some lovely link up play between Waters and Manley almost had the visitors in front again.
Sloppy play from Longford at the back for the second time in a matter of minutes allowed Manley to take the ball past Breslin before looking up and squaring the ball to the unmarked Waters on the far side of the box.
Waters showed a lovely first touch but Shane Elworthy was quick to close the striker down and block the ball away for another Cabinteely corner.
Longford struggled to really get the ball out of their own half in the opening 20 minutes and, uncharacteristically, made lots of small mistakes at the back.
Longford started to settle into the game towards the midway point in the half, pressing into the Cabinteely box and pushing players up more than they had done.
Sean Brennan did well to weave his way into the box and tried to find Peter Hopkins with a looping cross but Conor Keeley showed great strength to get up above Hopkins and clear the ball up the pitch.
Dean Byrne had a good chance to give Longford the lead on the half-hour mark when Jack Hudson scuffed his clearance, but it was rising from the time Byrne hit it and caused no danger for Stephen McGuiness.
Longford, having been second best for the first half hour of the game, finished out the half strongly with a number of good chances as the first half came to a close.
An attempted clearance by Jack Tuite flashed back across the Cabinteely box and Aaron Dobbs attempted to get a touch on the ball as it came across the box, before Dean Byrne tried the same, but neither could get anything on it.
A fantastic looping free kick from Breslin straight onto the head of Dobbs in the box forced McGuiness into a fantastic save at full stretch to keep the game at 0-0 on the stroke of half time.
The second half was one with plenty of industry and effort from both sides but with very few chances.
Byrne was the liveliest of the Longford players as he tried his best to create what he could for Longford but the Cabinteely defence, fantastic all evening, showed composure and authority to ensure chances were extremely limited.
The Longford defence themselves were having a quiet and composed evening with the visitors limited to very little in front of goal in the second 45 minutes.
With so few chances in the game, one goal was always likely to decide it, and it went the way of Cabinteely in the 85th minute.
Manley picked up the ball close to goal before playing a perfectly weighted through ball ahead of Waters on the edge of the box.
Waters was too quick for Conor Kenna, easing past the Longford defender before calmly slotting the ball past Steacy to give Cabinteely the lead.
Longford had a late chance in injury time to take something from the game but Sam Verdon’s free kick cleared the bar before the final whistle was blown.
Cabinteely extended their unbeaten run to seven, picking up their fifth clean sheet in seven games, as they inflicted Longford’s first defeat of the season to move two points clear at the top.
Longford Town: Lee Steacy; Shane Elworthy, Anto Breslin, Mick McDonell, Conor Kenna; Dean Zambra (Paul O’Conor 87), Peter Hopkins (Carlton Ubaezuono 64), Aodh Dervin, Sean Brennan (Sam Verdon 64); Aaron Dobbs, Dean Byrne.
Subs not used: Jack Menton, Kevin Knight, Karl Chambers, Joe Manley.
Cabinteely: Stephen McGuinness; Sean Hurley (Jonathan Carlin 72), Jack Tuite, Conor Keeley, Jack Hudson; Alex Aspil, Vilius Labutis (Eoin Massey 14), Zak O’Neill, Keith Dalton; Rob Manley, Kieran Marty Waters.
Subs not Used: Peter Quinlan, Luke Clucas, Shane Barnes, Sean Fitzpatrick, Robert Dunne.
Referee: John McLoughlin.
Attendance: 641 (official).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Rob Manley (Cabinteely).