2017/2018 Senior Mens 2017/2018 Season Review by Glenn Baskett   10/05/2018

The curtain came down on a progressive season at the weekend for the Longford Senior mens side. And while it wasn’t the result we were hoping for it is another learning hopefully for the group.

To be 20-0 up in a final and lose it 52-43 after 100+ minutes of footy is hard to take.

Everyone on the pitch gave everything they had, and with 2 of the group, Benny McManus and Kieran O’Gorman having played a full 80+ minutes 24 hours earlier for the Leinster juniors against Connacht that was over 3 hours of rugby in two days. Also backing up from Leinster duty was Dylan Quinn who was asked to play the full game Sunday after coming off the bench the day before.

But to single out 3 guys would not be fair to the whole group who sacrificed time and travel to prepare well in the week leading up to this occasion.

The season as a whole has continued the trend of progression within the group, a Midland League title and third and fifth place league finishes for the two teams respectively. Two tough Cup draws away in County Wexford to eventual Cup finalists meant nothing would be easy for the second half of the season.

But the graph as a whole for the season showed an upward trend. And that was shown by the numbers training each week, being able to run two full teams at each other is invaluable and that can’t be underestimated.

Highlights of the season would be the win on the road in Kilkenny (the eventual winners of the league). Beating Towns Cup finalists Tullow. The development team beating Tullow 2ndXV away.

There have been a number of the younger age grade players making appearances at training and getting Senior caps throughout the season. Paddy Duggan, Robbie Shaw, Brian Hanley, Dylan Smith and Ryan McHugh just to name a few have all integrated themselves into the Senior group at training. Indeed, the U18 group have been extremely successful under Matt Hanley in doing the League/Cup double this season, the first time in the clubs history. And bringing these players on into the Senior set up for next season will bring a sustainability to the group and hopefully grow numbers within.

The evolution within the club has been in no small part to the work of the coaching/management group. Rob Lee, Alan Campbell, Ronan Keith, Tommy Butler, Karen Lennon, Glenn Baskett and Niall Moran.

This article can’t go without mentioning Niall Moran who is moving away from the Head Coach role with Longford after an 8 year association with the club. The dedication and hard work done behind the scenes by Niall cannot be measured by just success on the pitch it is the growth and rebuilding that has also gone on after suffering relegation 3 seasons previously. Unfortunately the group couldn’t get a result against Naas to give Niall the send off he deserves (but as he says himself “you don’t always get what you deserve in life”).

The club under Michael Connellan’s Presidency has continued to grow and the support for the group has been there throughout. Tony Headon, Derick Turner and Director of Rugby Damian Curley have continued this support of the Senior mens teams.

Club captain Barry Stewart continued the high standards Ciaran Kennedy had laid the foundations on the previous season. And unfortunately for Barry a serious injury put an end to his season early. Neal Farrell took on the Captains role brilliantly after Barry’s injury.

So, all and all the conclusion to the season is disappointing but the future is very much promising. And with the recent addition of the artificial training pitch and work on the car park and new Hugh Connolly extension the 2018/19 season is full of excitement and promise.

It has been a long time since last July when pre-season started for the Senior group but the boys can enjoy the “summer”. Recharge the batteries and get ready to rip into it all again in what looks to be again a very competitive League with four Dublin teams in Division 1B.

So, on behalf of the coaching group it’s over and out for 2017/18.


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