Longford continue good from with emphatic win in CPL Park 2016-12-06 10:52:00

04/12/2016 Leinster League Division 2A Longford 58 Portarlington 00

Longford Performance XV got a good benchmark of their progress when they dispatched a visiting Portarlington with ease in their second encountered of the season.  Last time out at Lea Road the Midlander’s were on the wrong side of a 13-11 score line.

This win for the first team means that they retained the top spot in Leinster League division 2A, now four points ahead thanks to their eight tries and formidable defensive line.  The final score reflects a solid work-rate, but it was only in the second 40 that the handling errors that dogged in the opening half were dispensed with. 

Whey they were comfortably ahead the crowd pleasing offloads stuck and the adventurous attacking lines bamboozled the visitors. Right from the first kick Longford controlled tempo and territory. Benny McManus showed his durability from the start surviving a nasty fall after he was clipped while in the air going up to field the kick off.

From the earliest stage, Longford crossed the gain line comfortable at each phase. The Laois men for their part were advancing backward.  Much of the opening ten was played in the middle third, but even here the pattern of territory was clear.

Longford's attacking prowess was illustrated by the need for the ref to issue a warning to the Port full back in the eight minute as repeated infringements had been used to slow the home team’s attack. The 15 got his warning, Longford got their penalty and Joe McGowan got the team’s first score 00-03. 

Five minutes later McManus smashed the visitors line and clawed another 10 metres before being hauled down.  His side’s attack was turned to another penalty and McGowan kicked it to 06-00.

The next line breech was courtesy of out-half Daniel McHugh. The ten brought his men deep into Laois territory and this time the penalty came with a yellow present for the visiting full back.  Longford opted for the scrum and although it did not go their way a subsequent scrum had a better end. When the ball squirted out Barry Steward pounced.  One phase and some deft passing that spun the ball through four pairs of hands before Eoin Bartley grounded in the corner to leave it 11-00.

Just before the half hour mark, Paul Gallogly added to the haul with a move that featured cameos from Barry Stewart, Benny McManus, Hubie Connolly and Neal Farrell.  The seven's score brought it to 16 and McGowan totted it up to 18-00.

Longford saw out the half with adventurous play featuring a chip chase by captain Ciaran Kennedy, a marvellous exercise in defensive containment and Eoin Bartley being denied a second with what the ref perceived to be a double movement.

For the opening 10 minutes of the second the errors returned. Then Daniel McHugh seared through a gap in the Port defence as the opponents looked on flat-footed.  McGowan hit the mark to leave it 25-00.

The winger showed that his boots were for more than just kicking by displaying a burst of pace out on the wing, Gallogly picked up the cudgel and a sweet little out the back door pass to Anthony Hughes got the lock on the scoresheet. McGowan added again leaving the lights reading 32-00.

Five minutes later another wide run was abruptly halted five metres out from the line with a high tackle.  The ref ran under the posts with arm up for the penalty try and the McGowan add brought to 39-00.

In the 64th minute Port were offered a flash of hope when Anthony Hughes got to visit the bold boys step for a straight arm tackle.  Try as they might the Laois side could not make the man advantage tell. A 66th minute a run by Eoin Bartley was augmented by Colm Glynn, before the sub 10 pitched a delicious offload to Derek Farrell, who crossed to bring it up to 46-00.

Justin Ford made up for an early burst of enthusiasm that saw him go off his feet five from the line by accepting a sweet pass and powering over the whitewash. McGowan wasn’t getting tired from kicking and brought it to 53-00.

Derek Farrell capped a stellar performance by adding five more points to his sides tally and the final score at CPL Park was 58-00.  In such a deluge of scores it is easy to leave out the graft of defence.  Time and again Port lifted their game to prevent the zero ball. But Longford kept standing up to them, refusing to give a consolation. 

Centre partners Cormac Hughes and Shane Rodgers put in a pile of graft, latching on to so many attacks, breaking down the visitors attacks.  A solid win for Longford, but next week will be a stauncher test.

Both the first and second teams will be on the road to Railway Union.  The performance side scraped a win earlier in the season when the Sandymount team paid a visit.  The trip up the N4 will be no picnic, but Longford will be hoping that the positive trajectory will continue.

Michael Bannon, Hubie Connolly, Dylan Quinn, Benny McManus, Anthony Hughes, Paul Gallogly, Barry Stewart, Derek Farrell, Neal Farrell, Daniel McHugh, Joe McGowan, Shane Rodgers, Cormac Hughes, Eoin Bartley & Ciaran Kennedy

Ronan Keith, Colm Glynn, Aaron Beirne, David Geelan, Liam Brady & Justin Ford.

Unfortunately the Development Team was called off at short notice by Portarlington, with the Longford Development XV being awarded the 4 points drawing them level in the table with next week’s opponents; Railway Union.

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