Performance XV secure bonus point to keep pressure on the top   15/01/2018

14/01/2018 Leinster League Division 1B Longford Performance XV 36 Coolmine 10

Longford asserted their league contender credentials when they comprehensively dispatched Coolmine at CPL park on Sunday. The bonus point win pushed the Midlanders into second place in the Leinster League Division 1B, jumping over Tullow and Kilkenny. They now sit six points behind leaders Suttonians.

The victory sets up an intriguing clash at the John J McDowell Memorial Grounds in Sutton where Longford will be eager to show the full range of their talents.

The platform for Sunday's win over Coolmine was constituted in the opening minute.  Right from the kick off the pressure from the chase saw the visitors spilled the ball into touch. With the lineout secured and the maul established Dylan Quinn went over to ground with only a minute gone.  Joe McGowan's view of the posts was at an obscure angle, but the fullback converted with ease to leave it 07-00.

The home team used this cushion to poke and prod at the visitors defense. A couple of line breaks foreshadowed what was to come with Paul Gallogly, gaining good ground thanks to support from Brendan McManus and Anthony Hughes.

A high tackle on Ciaran O'Gorman gave the men in black their next score. As the rain started to come down McGowan pitched up with a well struck penalty to bring the tally to 10-00 with 28 minutes gone.

Five minutes later the fullback had another opportunity to push his side further ahead when a not releasing penalty was called. This opportunity was on the opposite side to the previous one, but McGowan banged it over to leave it 13-00.

As the ice cold rain came down Longford somehow retained there sharpness, but Coolmine struggled to fined any footing in the contest. The next infringement by the visitors was when an over enthusiastic forward came in on Neal Farrell before the ball was out of the ruck. The kicker added the three to bring it to 16-00.

Longford were in full flight and the defensive effort of O'Gorman as he made tackle after tackle was a joy to watch. The five pointer came when Colm Glynn executed a neat show and go, he then dashed through the gap. Once behind the visitors line the damage was done and Shane Rodgers completed the move and set the scoreboard at 21-00.

Several minutes after the 40 had elapsed Coolmines kicker Eoin Hand had his first shot at the posts. Hand clawed his side back three to leave it 21-03 the break.

The second half started much the same as the exchanges of the first. Longford benefited from a series of offside infringements and on the 59 minute mark McGowan kicked his team further in front 24-03.

Freezing hands mitigated against free flowing rugby, but Coolmine started to used the breeze to their advantage.  A number of substitutions changed the dynamic of the game and as the conditions deteriorated the game staggered around the pitch.

The next piece of Longford magic was ignited by a wonderful break by Quinn. The prop slinked up the pitch and before the Dubliner's could reset the defense Longford punched through again.  Neal Farrell crossed for the third try with 76 minute elapsed.

The fourth try was a beauty. A penalty advantage call allowed Danny McHugh to chip over the Coolmine line.  Joe McGowan ran a fine counter to the defenders and sliced through, changed angle and cut to the line to ground close to the post. His conversion left it 36-03.

As the game wound down Coolmine managed to eek out a consolation try. The visiting hooker crossing following a sustained period of pressure.  Hand's conversion brought the final score to 36-10.

A good day's work for Longford, particularly considering the demands on the players as a result of the very challenging climactic conditions. There will be a lot of excitement as the side looks ahead to next week and their crack at the league leaders on their home patch.

Team: Michael Bannon, Ronan Keith, Dylan Quinn, Anthony Hughes, Benny McManus, Kieran O'Gorman, Hubi Connolly, Paul Gallogly, Neal Farrell, Daniel McHughes, Ciaran Kennedy, Colm glynn, Shane Rodgers, Joseph McGowan & Sean Flynn. Subs; Justin Murray, Arron Beirne, Derek Farrell, Finnbarr McGowan, Eoin Bartley

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