Longford start Leinster League Campaign with Impressive Victory   24/09/2018

230918 Leinster League Division 1B Coolmine 17 Longford 31

By Tommy Butler Longford RFC PRO

Longford’s Late side started their Leinster League campaign with a convincing win in Castleknock versus Coolmine.  Longford came into the match on the back of a great preseason, where they were never really tested, so it was tough to know where the team stood.

However, Longford got into their stride quickly and played an impressive brand of rugby where multiple phases allied with going out wide put the well marshalled home defence under substantial pressure throughout the match.

Longford made two great line breaks in the first six minutes by Shane Rodgers and Kieran O’Gorman, but Rodgers was hauled down just before crossing the white wash.  However, Ryan McHugh knocked over a resultant penalty to put Longford 3-0 on front after six minutes.  Longford forced a second penalty attempt a few minutes later.  However, the strong breeze, which Longford were playing against in the first half held up the kick short.

However, Longford continued to push on, dominating pressure and territory, with Ryan McHugh knocking over a second penalty on the 14 minute mark.  However, despite dominating Longford found it hard to breach the home defense and were guilty of not protecting the break down on a number of occasions. 

Coolmine then capitalised on the strong breeze, just after Longford had not converted a fourth attempt at goal, with a long range penalty on 28 minutes to peg the score back 6-3.  Longford replied with another penalty.  However, it was Coolmine who struck next with their only incursion into the Longford 22 of the half, scoring a well worked try to leave the away side trailing 10-9 for the first time in the match.  Too their credit, Longford rallied and centre Shane Rodgers touched down just before half time after a slick backs move to leave the score 10-14 in Longford’s favour.

Longford began the second as they started the first and playing with the breeze put Coolmine under a lot of pressure resulting in another penalty by Ryan McHugh and two yellow cards for Coolmine.  It is generally reckoned that each yellow card is worth 7 points to the opposing team and that is exactly the return Longford exacted.

Longford piled on the pressure, but spirited Coolmine defence kept them at bay, until Captain Neal Farrell saw a gap at the side of the rook and after a great show and go went in under the posts unopposed, to leave Longford 10-24 to the better.  They continued to pile on the pressure and No. 8 Paul Gallogly crossed under the posts just as Coolmines two players returned from the sin bin.

Longford were now substantially in control and seemed to lose some of their earlier zeal as the home side enjoyed their best period of the game and managed to peg one score back.

It was a bitter sweet side ending for Longford who thought they had the bonus point at the death but the man with the whistle adjudged the grounding by Longford to be incorrect and blew full time.

Overall, a win on the road in a tough venue like Coolmine is a great start to the Leinster League Campaign and it was a measure of Longford’s performance that they will have been disappointed not to have secured a four try bonus point. 

Longford’s focus will now rapidly shift to their first home match of the season versus newly promoted Carlow in CPL Park next Sunday which is followed by the opening of the clubs new 4G pitch in memory of Mel Diffley.  The Early side kick off at 1.30 PM and the Last side at 3 PM.  Big home support would be appreciated.

Longford Squad: L Brady, H Connolly, D Quinn, B Stewart, B McManus, D Farrell, K O’Gorman, P Gallogly, N Farrell, R McHugh, J McGowan, C Glynn, S Rodgers,  S McGuinness, S Murphy, J Forde, P O’Farrell, P Dardis, F McGowan & S Flynn.

230918 Leinster Seconds League Division 1B Coolmine 33 Longford 21

A new look development side put in a great performance in losing to Coolmine.  It was the first game of Senior rugby for many of the players who made the step up from last year’s highly successful U18s panel.  Longford raced into an early lead with tries from Karl Murray and Darragh Connolly.  However, the team’s lack of training began to tell as they ran out of gas, with Coolmine taking hold of the match.  Too their credit their heads never went down and they created a good few opportunities to get back into the game.  The pressure finally told with debutant out half Robbie Shaw crossing for Longford’s third try. 

This side will undoubtedly grow over the season as they play together and will be a force to be reckoned with after a few matches playing together and training together on Friday evenings.

Congratulations to our Senior League Debutants over the day; Dean Corrigan, Robbie Shaw, Jack Magan, Brian Hanley & Fred Davis who will undoubtedly by pushing for a place in the Late side before too long and Ryan McHugh and Sammy Murphy who started for the Late XV.  Finally, congratulations to Mick Cullen who has been appointed as Captain of the Early side for this season.

Longford Squad: P O’Farrell, P Dardis, J Forde, F Davis, M Cullen, D Corrigan, D Geelan, J Geelan, F McGowan, R Shaw, M Casey, E Kinehan, K Murray, JJ Cox, D Connolly, B Hanley, J Magan, A Flynn & D O’Connor.


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