Longford continue great start to 1B with hard fought win 2017-10-23 12:55:00

22/10/2017 Leinster League Division 1B Coolmine 10 Longford 14

An on the road win for Longford shows an impressive four for four in the opening stages of their Leinster league Division 1B campaign and catapults them to the top of the table. The midlanders leapfrogged Tullow to go top thanks to the solid win over Coolmine in Ashbrook.

For their part the Carlow side lost by just one point to leave an interesting symmetry to the table. The re-occurring theme of the closeness of this league is is manifest in a tabular array showing one point separates each of the top four teams and, baring basement Portlaoise, a one point gap between the lower half teams.

A large number of supporters made the trip to Dublin to join with a sizeable Coolmine contingent. Longford started well in Ashbrook bringing the back line into the game early. The early dealings between the sides suggested that the visitors were in good form for the contest.

Much of the early exchanges were typified by a sprightly Longford attack that heaped pressure on the home team. However, an injury sustained by Joe McGowan five minutes into the game, was a setback. A little rejigging saw replacement Colm Glynn brought in to centre and he was more than a measure for the task and played a key role in the overall Longford performance.

The first opportunity came from a Shane Rodgers attack. An infringement by the defence gave Glynn his first kick at goal and the kicker duly obliged to leave it 00-03. In the 13 minute the centre repeated the feat and the second penalty by Glynn brought his sides lead to 00-06.

Confident carries from Benny McManus and Anthony Hughes gave good go forward ball and the labours of Derek Farrell and Paul Gallogly caused numerous problems for the Dubliners.

It was Rodgers again who was the ultimate source of woe for the home team. His cut from 35 metres out saw him cross in the corner to bring it to 00-11. Glynn's conversion attempt was as close as possible, but skidded off the post.

Another injury saw Kieran O'Gorman come in to replace Gallogly, but Longford maintained the tempo they had established early. However, as the first 40 came to a conclusion they lost a bit of cohesion. This resulted in a nervy period as Coolmine started to get a grip on the game.

In the 33 minute they ran in a good try. Four minutes later they added a penalty to leave it 10-11.

At the half-time break the score was that one point margin, but causal observers noted that it was against the run of play that the Dublin had made the most of the opportunities that they had been presented. Longford came out of the traps well in the second half.

What transpired was a defensive arm wrestle. In it Longford put on a lot of pressure. In the 49th minute a penalty decision gave Glynn a pop at the posts. The kicker tagged on that three pointer, the only score of the second half.

This did not mean that the contest lacked any excitement of intensity. From a Longford perspective Liam Halinan showed well, at both wing and full back. He got good line breaks again a very miserly Coolmine defence. Big hits by Glynn and Daniel McHugh were keystones of the Longford defence.

With increasing pressure from the home side the men in black were fortunate to ride out an unrelenting attack in the closing stages of the game to leave it 10-14. Longford will be concerned by the dip in concentration that were apparent in the closing stages of either half. Nonetheless no matter how you slice it this is another impressive win.

Justin Forde, Ronan Keith, Dylan Quinn, Brendan McManus, Anthony Hughes, Derek Farrell, Barry Stewart, Paul Gallogly, Neal Farrell, Daniel McHugh, Joseph McGowan, Cormac Hughes, Shane Rodgers, Liam O’Hallahan, Sean McGuinness.

Hubie Connolly, Paud Farrell, Finbarr McGowan, Colm Glynn, Ciaran O'Gorman. 

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