A case of one that got away versus Monkstown   07/01/2019

Longford lose out in top of the table clash.

060119 Leinster League Division 1B Longford Late XV 17 Monkstown 27

by Tommy Butler Club PRO

It was a disappointing day at CPL Park today where Longford lost out to third placed Monkstown in a big fixture as regards deciding who would challenge Suttonians for league honours.  Despite enjoying dominance especially in the forwards for large periods of the match, Longford lost out by 10 points.  The really frustrating thing from a Longford point of view was that all of Monkstown tries came from Longford mistakes, with the Longford defence largely comfortable for the rest of the match.

Both sides started off like they meant business with a lot of early big collisions and carries trying to set down a marker.  However, like in the away fixture earlier in the season, it was Monkstown who struck first in the form of a penalty on front of the posts.

Longford were determined to get back into the game and came at Monkstown but disaster struck on 11 minutes, when Monkstown wing Hugh Gowing intercepted a flat Longford pass and ghosted in under the posts for a converted try to leave Longford 0-10 behind.

To their credit Longford rolled up their sleeves and went at Monkstown with gusto.  This pressure resulted in the Monkstown No.4 making a trip to the Sin Bin and a well worked try from a driving maul after Longford had kicked a penalty into the corner.  Barry Stewart gathered the ball with prop Dylan Quinn crossing over at the back of the maul.  Ryan McHugh added the conversion to draw the deficit back to three points; 7-10.

At this point Longford’s pack began to turn up the power and became dominant in the scrums and lineouts.  Longford enjoyed some good territory and possession but the last pass or right decision alluded them at crucial times.  However, Ryan McHugh knocked over a penalty on thirty minutes to level the score at ten a piece.   The balance of the match then changed in the run up to half time after Longford second row Benny McManus took a trip to the sin bin.  Monkstown then turned up the pressure.  However, they could not breach the Longford line until Longford spilled the ball just outside their 22, with the ever alert Gowing hacking through, to go in under the posts for another try to bring the half time score to 10-17 in Monkstown’s favour.

Longford dominated the start of the second half with their dominance built around some powerful scrummaging.  It was from one such scrum that Captain Neal Farrell made a sniping break and alluded the cover to go in for a try, which was superbly converted from the touchline by Ryan McHugh to draw Longford level for the second time.  At this stage you would have only picked one winner and Longford pressed the away sides line for next ten minutes only to be denied by bad decisions or last ditch Monkstown defending.  However, it was not to be Longford’s day as another handling error from the home side on their 10 metre line was hacked through by Gowing who went in for his third converted try.  This was further compounded by Monkstown knocking over a penalty to stretch their lead to 10 points with ten minutes to play.  Monkstown closed out the match through a mixture of good defence, kicking and taking the pace out of the game, to leave CPL Park with four precious points to Longford’s none.  The win sees Monkstown move three points ahead of Longford into second place with four matches to play.

Longford are not totally out of the running for second place/promotion yet.  All they can do is concentrate on winning their last four games versus DLSP, Suttonians, Tullow and North Kildare and see how the rest of the results fall.  There is also the small matter of a Provincial Towns Cup run, with Cill Dara visiting CPL Park on Sunday January 21st in the first round of tournament.  However, next up is a home fixture versus DLSP next Sunday for both Early and Late XVs.

Longford Squad: L Brady, H Connolly, D Quinn, A Hughes, B McManus, B Stewart, K O’Gorman, P Gallogly, N Farrell (C), R McHugh, S Farrell, I McCormack, S Rodgers, J McGowan, C Seery, P O’Farrell, D Gilmore, D Farrell, P Dardis & S Flynn.

060119 Leinster Seconds League Division 1B Longford Early XV 6 Monkstown 12

Longford Early XV will definitely feel that this is a match they left behind as like the Late XV on a number of occasions when it looked like they were going to score the final pass was not forthcoming or a bad decision was made.

Monkstown enjoyed the early possession and went on front via an easy penalty after two minutes.  All the pressure for most of the first half was exerted by Longford and they were camped in Monkstown’s half for much of that period too.  There were many great passages of play and lots of endeavour and commitment by Longford, but it was just one of those days where huff and puff as hard as they could, they could not cross the Monkstown line. 

Despite all the possession Monkstown managed to kick another penalty to Longford’s one to leave the half time score at 3-6.  Longford continued where they left off at the start of second half and drew level with a penalty after ten minutes.  However, this was as good as it got from Longford’s point of view as Monkstown kicked two further penalties to emerge victors by six points in a low scoring match.  The Early XV welcome DLSP to CPL Park next Sunday at 1 PM, where they will be looking to put in a big performance as they build up to their first round match away to Athy in Provincial Seconds Cup on Sunday February 3rd.  The building blocks of a very good team are there.  All they need to do is learn from a game like this in terms of taking their chances and train together to be a force to be reckoned with.

It was brilliant to see 37 players out training on Friday night.  This will ensure very hot competition for places in both cup squads, with lots still to look forward to before the seasons end.

Longford Squad: P Mimnagh, P Dardis, J Forde, D Gilmore, F Davis, D Corrigan, M Cullen, J Geelan, F McGowan, R Shaw, J Mimnagh, S Murphy, S McGuinness, W McDermott, L Connolly, P Kirk, P Antonik, B Hanley, D Connolly & J Magan.