Performance XV come away from North Kildare with max points 2017-12-04 12:08:00

03/12/2017 Leinster League Division 1B North Kildare 24 Longford 42

Longford travelled to North Kildare, on Sunday last in a cold but dry afternoon with the first team needing to win and with a bonus point to continue the pressure on Tullow and Suttonian’s in the chase for Silverware.

North Kildare had recently dispatched Coolmine and Clondalkin and certainly had their tails up expecting to upset the odds and dismantle Longford chances of silver ware. Longford started the game very well with great interchange between backs and forwards with returning veteran, Colm Glynn, in the centre for Cormac Hughes bringing about the first try. Cormac suffered a stress fracture in his hand away to Tullow the weekend before and will have to sit matters out until after Christmas. Glynn’s rugby brain noticed as soon as the game had started that North Kildare were playing a “rushed defence” system and with a delicate dink of the ball over the North Kildare defence, he collected his own kick and dotted down to the left of the post. Joe McGowan slotted the conversion from a very difficult angle. 

Longford collected the restart and with a good period of play were awarded another penalty leaving the early score at 10-0 to Longford. North Kildare upped the ante at this stage and after a period of play with no return, Longford collected the ball on the half way line with Liam O’Hallalan collecting the ball and stepping off his left foot, putting his foot on the gas and leaving the Defence for dead, dotting down under the North Kildare post.  

North Kildare knew they had to score immediately or run the risk of falling too far a drift and elected to kick to touch from a penalty and with a rolling mall off the line out, dotted down with their loose head, one of the three Satchwell brothers scoring on the day. Longford responded with another penalty by Joe McGowan and just before half time, Liam O’Hallalan scored his second try to leave the score at half time, 25-5 to Longford. Danny McHugh and Colm Glynn played a beautiful pre rehearsed loop pass allowing Liam to saunter in for Longford third try.

The second half started off at a very high tempo, North Kildare knew they had to score early to reduce the deficit but Longford had other ideas with a great piece of interchange between Liam O’Hallalan and Joe McGowan with Joe dotting down in the corner and making his own conversion very difficult but more importantly had the bonus point in the bag. McGowan certainly had eyes on his fellow player and winger, Liam O’Hallalan scoring two first half tries and had it in mind to follow suit, to which he did with a kick chase, collected the ball and fell awkwardly over the North Kildare line leaving the score 35-5 to Longford.

Longford’s coaching team then took off a number of players, with next weekend’s game at home to Kilkenny on the horizon, to make way for fresh legs with Ciaran Kennedy returning to the centre after a very successful season with Mohill G.A.A. who won the county championship under the guidance of our own Longford man, Padraic Davis. Longford conceded a number of soft penalties and notably, two penalties for back chat to the referee, leaving the score at 35-24 with five minutes remaining and instilling belief in the North Kildare team. Longford responded with a well taken try by Liam O’Hallalan with a try under the post, his hat trick of tries and leaving the score at the finish at 42-24. A very well deserved win by Longford with 55 minutes of excellent inter play but a disjointed effort for the remaining 25 minutes. What matters is Longford have continued to apply the pressure on Tullow who won at home to Portlaoise and Suttonian’s who scored an injury time try to beat Clondalkin at home.

Longford welcome Kilkenny to CPL Park on Sunday next with Kilkenny sitting joint third with Longford and what hopes to be a mouth-watering game. Liam O’Hallalan was deservedly the man of the match as he collected his trophy in the club house after and will certainly look forward to playing Kilkenny next weekend for the first time bearing in mind his sister is living in Kilkenny and is an Irish international basketball plyer. Her allegiance next weekend will lie with the black and white.      

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