Great win secures place in the Provincial Towns Cup Semi-Finals   19/03/2019

17/03/2019 Provincial Towns Cup 1/4 Final Longford 20 Kilkenny 07

By Tommy Butler Longford RFC PRO

Longford scored a great win versus Kilkenny on Ireland’s national day to advance to the Semi Finals of the Provincial Towns Cup. Kilkenny play in the Division above Longford, so much of the expectation was that they would advance at the home sides expense. However, Longford were in no mood to follow the expected script.

The match kicked off with Longford playing with their backs to the clubhouse and into a strong wind. It was clear from the kick off that getting out of their own half would be difficult and the main escape route would be keeping the ball in hand. Kilkenny opened up the match well and immediately put Longford under pressure. It eventually told with Kilkenny crashing over for a converted try after six minutes. It looked like it could be a long day at the office, however, Longford came right back at Kilkenny. They gradually worked their way up the pitch and after a period of sustained pressure Longford got their reward with full back Ian McCormack crashing over for a full deserved converted try. Kilkenny then came right back at Longford and exerted a lot of pressure on the home defence over the rest of the half. Their main weapon was their driving maul and on a few occasion’s, they put the Longford defence under serious pressure. In spite of this, Longford repelled all the away sides pressure and restricted them to one kick at goal, which they failed to convert.  It was a major plus for Longford coming in with the scores even at half time and this presented a big opportunity to go at Kilkenny in the second half with the wind at their backs.  To their credit, this is exactly what they did.  Barring some small periods, Longford bossed the possession and territory stakes in the second half and put the away sides defence under serious pressure for long periods.  However, one thing that is evident from Longford’s games against Division 1A sides is that defences are well organised and leave less space to exploit on the pitch.  This resulted in Longford finding it difficult to convert their superiority into points on the scoreboard.  Longford took the lead for the first time when Ryan McHugh knocked over a penalty fifteen minutes into the second half and then had to wait to thirty minutes in for Paul Gallogly to crash over for a converted try after great build up work from Dylan Quinn.  This felt like it was the score to put Longford through to the semi-finals.  The home side made sure of the result just as normal time elapsed with a great long range penalty from Ryan McHugh to leave the final score 20-07.  This is a victory Longford can be very proud of and a match that will give them a good indication of what to expect when they play Bective in the promotion play off on Saturday March 30th.  The following weekend Longford will be out again in the Semi-Finals of the Provincial Towns Cup against Wicklow.  Cup Semi-Finals are played at neutral venues with Longford’s being confirmed this week.  One thing is sure there is a lot more rugby to be played and a very exciting few weeks ahead.

Longford: P O’Farrell, H Connolly, D Quinn, B Stewart, B McManus, D Farrell, K O’Gorman, P Gallogly, N Farrell, D McHugh, J McGowan, R McHugh, S Rodgers, F McGowan, I McCormack, L Brady, P Dardis, D O’Brien, P Molloy, R Shaw & L Harte.  

Post Match Reaction from Longford RFC Head Coach Glenn Baskett

 “We are really happy for the boys today. A semi final is a good reward for the work they have put in. We knew from last season Kilkenny were a well organised team who would ask lots of questions of us, and I thought we answered most of them. It took the Kilkenny score for us to react, which unfortunately is a bit of a trend for us! I thought the way we held the ball in to that wind in their half was pretty good, and when we got the score we thought 7-7 or even being 10-7 down would have been a good way to turn into the 2nd half with the wind behind us. Ryan kept the scoreboard moving with some good kicks again at important times, and Dylan’s work for Paul’s try was good work in the right part of the pitch, something we haven’t always nailed lately. There’s a few things we still need to look at though, we talked about pressure and how we manage that, and we can always improve there. The boys can enjoy today for the result it is. For us now we look at Bective, the cup semi is parked and this is the next opportunity for us. Bective have been getting some heavy hitting help in to win this fixture and that shows the intent for them, but we can only worry about our job, everything else is just noise. The boys have shown they can put their heads down and ignore that noise before and we will be expecting the same over the next 2 weeks from them. For me the page is turned already to Bective.”

The Packed Stand at CPL Park, thanks for the great support!