Longford through to the Provincial Towns Plate Semi Final 2018-04-16 11:37:00

15/04/2018 Provincial Towns Plate Quarter Final Athy 08 Longford 27

Longford won through to a semi-final meeting after overcoming Athy in an attritional encounter played in poor weather conditions.  It rained for most the match in a strong cross wind.  This made the ball very slippy and led to a high amount of handling errors on both sides.

Even though Athy plied their trade two divisions below Longford in the Leinster League they made a quick start and showed they meant business by going in for a try in the opening minutes out wide after good forward play.  The try was uncoverted.  This seemed to wake Longford up as they went on the attack.  Their first score was a penalty from Joe McGowan. This was quickly followed up by a well taken try by Captain Neal Farrell under the posts after some great forward pressure to put Longford into the lead 05-10.  A lead that would not relinquish for the rest of the game.

Athy played a very close in game with runners direct off the scrum half and picking around the corner, which was well suited to the weather conditions.  Although they made ground and had some chances, Longford’s defence was generally was up to the task.  Indeed, after scoring the opening try, Athy failed to cross the white wash for the rest of the match.

Longford built a commanding lead by the end of the first half, with both Finbarr McGowan and Shane Rodgers crossing to leave the score 08-22 at half time.

The second half was very much a stop start affair, where Longford were well in control but only managed to tack on one further score by Liam Brady.  Athy’s only reply was via a penalty to leave the final score 08-27 in Longford’s favour.

Longford move onto a semi-final in a neutral venue versus fellow 1B side Portlaoise.  The last time the side met a month ago, they drew 15-15 a piece.

It promises to be a tough examination for Longford, who hope to continue their recent great record of reaching the Plate Final.

The match will probably take place next Sunday at a neutral venue (TBC).

Longford: L Brady, R Keith, L Brady, B McManus, A Hughes, H Connolly, D Farrell, P Gallogy, N Farrell, D McHugh, L Connolly, S Rodgers, F McGowan, J Mimnagh, J McGowan, M Cullen, P Dardis, D Connolly, J Forde & D Geelan.

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