Longford RFC Mini/Youth Notes 04/10/2016   06/10/2016

Mini/Youth Playing Information & Training Times

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Youth’s Results

Longford U13 14 Mullingar 15

Longford U15 34 Mullingar 43

Longford U18 18 Clontarf 27

Match Reports

Longford U15 34 Mullingar 43

Longford and Mullingar played out a humdinger of a game on Saturday last in the second round of the Midland League with the busiest person on the pitch being the referee who had to tally no less than 13 tries, 6 for Longford and 7 for the visitors.  Longford raced into a 20 – 0 lead but Mullingar’s superior numbers (they had six substitutes whereas Longford fielded with the bare minimum due to injuries and unavailability) told in the end as tiredness, (mental as well as physical) crept in towards the end to allow Mullingar snatch victory with two late, late tries.

The positives were firstly, the further huge improvement in work rate being shown week on week and, secondly, the greater commitment to the breakdown.  In addition, the lineout was a fruitful source of possession where JJ Jackson and Ciaran McCormack completely outplayed their opponents, even when, as was often the case, Mullingar tried a preset shortened lineout on their own throw. 

The one blemish, however, was the tackling which was at times, as the saying goes, optional.

Longford opened at a blistering place and had amassed at 20 – 0 lead with just over 17 minutes gone on the clock, courtesy of four well worked tries.  The first came as a result of quick ruck ball which allowed Daire McManus to get in behind the opposition and JJ Jackson was on hand for the touchdown after just a few minutes play.  Things got better with just another five minutes on the clock, JJ Jackson stealing a Mullingar lineout in the Longford 22 and as the ball was moved up the field Daire McManus crossed for a try in the corner.  The third came after 15 minutes, this time the product of excellent work by the backs.  When Longford knocked the ball on Mullingar were able to clear to touch but thanks to a quickly taken lineout from Shane Mallon to Ciaran Shannon they brought play back into the Mullingar 22 and when the ball was quickly recycled Shane Mallon was able to exploit the blind side for a try, breaking a number of tackles in the process.  The good got even better with 17 minutes played.  A great tackle by Dylan Fay stopped a Mullingar attack in the Longford 22 and when the ball was poached by a quick thinking Daire McManus Shane Mallon was able to sprint from Longford’s 22 meter line for the fourth try of the day.

Although they were somewhat shell-shocked at being 20 – 0 down Mullingar responded with two tries of their own before the half time break.  While credit has to be given to Mullingar, particularly their hard running centres, their job was made much easier by some slack tackling from Longford players for the first try and a failure to chase a kick ahead for the second.

The second half began in a fashion similar to the first with Longford in the ascendency.  Maks Napieralski drove deep into the Mullingar half and, once again, Longford moved the ball wide only for Daire McManus to be bundled into touch in the corner.  Mullingar’s third try of the afternoon, and which brought them right back into the game, should never have happened.  Yet another solid lineout yielded yet another scoring opportunity to Longford but when the ball was knocked on in midfield with a try for the taking Mullingar pounced for a breakaway try which was completely against the run of play.  Longford rebounded quickly, however, and having recycled and moved the ball left and right through a number of phases Daire McManus scored his second try of the day.  Mullingar hit back with another try which, once again, came about as a result of non-existent tackling.  With 20 minutes of the second half gone Longford regained their 10 point lead.  Again, the superb lineout was the source of possession and, again, Shane Mallon was on hand to capitalise on an exposed Mullingar blind side for his third try of the day.

It was then, however, that the wheels came off.  Without any substitutes to bring on Longford began to tire, both physically and mentally.  Mullingar, however, had the luxury of being able to rotate players and three tries in quick succession, in the 25th, 27th and 30th minutes saw them eliminate the deficit and then edge ahead for a nine point winning margin.

All told, with the exception of the final few minutes, it was an excellent performance - six tries, a dominant lineout, a scrum which held its own, great commitment at the breakdown, good defensive work from Matt Steadman and Killian Rawle in particular.  If a greater commitment can be made in and about the tackle area things could be a whole lot better.  However, it was certainly a vastly improved performance when compared to the outings recently against Monivea in particular and, to a lesser extent, Edenderry and bodes well for the first outing in Phase 1 of the Leinster League, at home to Clane in two weeks time.

Squad – Maks Napieralski, Gary Kenny, Ciaran Shannon, JJ Jackson, Dylan Fay, Conor Cox, Ciaran McCormack, Ben Carthy, Daire McManus, Matt Steadman, Shane Mallon, Jack Sullivan, Charlie Patterson & Killian Rawle.

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