Longford get back to winning ways against Portlaoise   15/11/2017

12/11/2017 Leinster League Division 1B Longford 25 Portlaoise 19

Despite dominating for most of the 80 Longford had to dig deep to secure a win over Portlaoise at CPL Park last Sunday. Longford now lie second in the table with five wins under their belt from six games. The next outing away to top of the table Tullow sets up an enthralling contest that will define Longford's ambitions for the season.
Longford started the Sunday afternoon outing with a great deal of tenacity and ball retention and the pressure showed with a penalty conceded in front of the post, gladly converted by our returning winger and place kicker, Joe McGowan.
Midway through the first half and totally against the run of play, Portlaoise took advantage of a dropped ball in the Longford backline to hack the ball ahead leading to a yellow card for our in-form, Joe McGowan and the awarding of a penalty try to Portlaoise. The score remained at 7-3 to Portlaoise until another costly error, a number of minutes later, allowed another walk in try for Portlaoise.
Neil Farrell, Longford’s scrum half was tackled and attempted to off load the ball in the tackle to the delight of the Portlaoise centre who collected and sauntered in for a converted try to leave the score line at 14-3 to Portlaoise. Longford remained calm under pressure despite leaking the two early tries and continued the high tempo attacking play which lead to another converted penalty by Joe McGowan.
With a little less than five minutes left on the clock before half time, Longford took advantage of some sloppy play from Portlaoise showing tremendous forward play which led to a converted try by Longford’s Number 8, Paul Gallogly.
This was followed by a tremendous surge and direct run from Longford’s adopted native, Kieran O’Gorman, from the Portlaoise kick off. This led to an easy “two on one”, scored by Colm Glynn who left the Portlaoise defensive cover for dust with his impressive pace. This brought the score line to 20-14 at half time with Longford expected to take advantage of the late try showing before half time.
Unfortunately Longford failed to take advantage of the late try surge and allowed Portlaoise to play to their strengths, collect a ball off a lineout and rumble the ball over the Longford try line to leave the score at 20-19.
The ever impressive, Joe McGowan was unfortunate not to score a try that Longford deserved when he outpaced the Portlaoise back line to dive and touch the ball over the Portlaoise try line but the referee, from a distance, adjudged Joe to have knocked on in his efforts to score the try.
Portlaoise continued to put pressure on Longford as they sought out their first away victory of the league campaign but Longford had other ideas with a beautifully taken try by Longford’s out half, Colm Glynn who again showed great pace and an eye for a gap with an unconverted try in the corner.
At this stage and with the game in injury time, Longford collected possession from the kick off and put pressure on the Portlaoise defence which lead to a penalty on the 5m line for Longford. Unfortunately due to an indiscretion after the penalty was awarded to Longford, the penalty was reversed to Portlaoise which allowed them to kick up the field and seek out a converted try which would see them collect an away win and kick start their league campaign.
After a number of surging plays by Portlaoise and a number of penalties at scrum and line out time, Longford were dealt a severe blow with a yellow card being shown to the second row and stalwart, Benny McManus.
This was a difficult pill to swallow as Portlaoise had committed four high tackles in the game with no yellow cards shown. Portlaoise pummelled the Longford try line with Longford showing a great appetite to defend. Eventually Portlaoise put the ball through the hand of the back line in the 53rd minute of the second half and the Portlaoise centre was held up with ball in hand by Cormac Hughes, Colm Glynn and Shane Rodgers which lead to a scrum to Longford and a well-earned victory for Longford.
No doubt Longford will travel to Tullow as underdogs but will try and continue their impressive away record from the start of the league campaign with three wins from three.
Tullow, the Provincial Towns Cup holders await their arrival.

Report by Michael Connellan

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