Longford's 2017 Championship ended in Ballybofey yesterday. They eventually lost an arm wrestle to Donegal, with the turning point Longford's loss of James McGivney to a red card in the second half. It's the second qualifier in a row that Longford have had a man sent off: Robbie Smyth saw red in the previous round against Louth.
Smyth is Longford's key forward, and they went to considerable lengths to keep him on the field for as long as possible against Donegal yesterday. In the first-half, he had to be briefly subbed off for a blood injury, replaced by Larry Moran.
Longford were understandably eager to get Smyth back on the field as quickly as possible, but for the fourth official to prevent them from doing so. While the medical team had stemmed Smyth's bleeding, his #13 jersey was still mottled with blood.
Consternation followed on the Longford, bench, with no replacement jersey on the touchline. In the interests of efficiency, a Longford fan who happened to be wearing a #13 jersey in the stands whipped his off, and passed it down to the Longford management team on the touchline ahead of him.
The fan in question is Eugene Quaine, and he told Balls how it happened:
So Robbie came off the pitch as a blood sub and jersey covered in blood There was no spare jersey so the Longford mentors washed his jersey with water but the 4th official still wouldn't let him back on with it as it was still obviously blood stained. Longford management were panicking about getting their best player back on.
I was wearing the same replica 13 jersey that he had on. So I took it off and one my friends threw it to that maor foinse -Trevor Smullen, he runs to Robbie and Robbie wears it back on the field!
Smyth finished the game in Quaine's jersey (who could seek refuge in his hoodie, rather than sit on the stands topless for the rest of the game). Quaine sent Balls this video of him walking back across the pitch after the game, the jersey successfully retrieved:
— Gavin Cooney (@gcooney93) July 1, 2017
Not that his friends were massively impressed, afterward:
Cheers to Eugene for sending us the media included in this article. If you have a tip for us, email it to [email protected] or [email protected], tweet @ballsdotie, or Facebook message us.