Longford RFC Club News 09/11/2020   09/11/2020

By Tommy Butler Longford RFC PRO lrfconnects@gmail.com 

Senior Rugby Update

With the present positive trajectory in Covid numbers, it is looking increasingly likely that we will be able to assume Senior training from the start of December.  What form training takes will depend on the Level of ‘Living with Covid’ that is moved to, at the end of the Level 5 lockdown.  Hopefully, the restrictions will be relaxed enough for the teams to resume contact training as both teams will require at least two weeks of contact training before playing games.  In an update published last week, the Leinster branch emphasised that they are ready and willing to restart competitions in abbreviated forms as soon as the regulations allowed.  They specifically acknowledged the positive affect on mental health that sport has and in that light, want to maximise games for the rest of the season.  If the Leinster League resumes it will be an abbreviated format, with the aim of all sides playing each other once, rather than home and away.  Unfortunately, in this format there will be no promotion/relegation.  A champion’s league style cup competition is also being muted.  Fingers crossed there is still lots of rugby to play and we will see our first Senior games on our new 3G pitch not long after it opens!


The Ireland squad had most of the week off and have now regrouped for the start of the inaugural Eight Nations competition, with their first match this Friday night versus Wales.  The squad was almost identical to the one that prepared for the last two Six Nations matches with the notable exception of the addition of Leinster’s James Lowe.  The Kiwi who has now naturalised for Ireland, is a game breaker different from what Ireland currently have in their back three arsenal and it will be great to see what he can do in green.  He only missed out being capped by the All Blacks against Samoa before he came to Ireland after suffering an injury.

Most Irish fans will be expecting a win against a Welsh side who are pretty down on their luck since Warren Gatland moved on after the 2019 World Cup.  The Welsh have had a lot of upheaval in their back room staff with Sam Warburton having stepped down as a technical coach, Ryan Jones resigning from the performance director role and it was also announced yesterday that Wales had parted ways with their Defence Coach Byron Hayward, who has only been in the role since the last World Cup.  However, Welsh Coach Wayne Pivac badly needs a win and I am sure would have circled the trip to Dublin as one to get back on the horse.  Ireland fans are craving solid signs that the team has moved on and will be able to compete with France, England in Europe and the All Blacks and South African from the Southern Hemisphere.  All though the prize money is not huge in the Eight Nations and also the World Cup seedings have already been set because of Covid, meaning World rankings lose their lustre for the moment, Ireland are unlikely to show a whole lot of change before the Georgia match.  Ireland certainly need a performance in Twickenham against an English side who have very much had the upper hand in the last number of meetings.  A big conundrum for Andy Farrell and his team is how to cement the nominated successors to Murray and Sexton and then give them meaningful game time.

In the Pro 14 both Connacht and Munster’s matches were called off due to Covid 19 outbreaks in the rival squads.  However, Leinster kept their brilliant start to the season going when they travelled to Swansea and secured a 7-26 bonus point win versus the Ospreys.  Ross Moloney started his 100th game for Leinster but it was the young back line that caught the eye in playing some scintillating rugby at times with Full Back Jimmy O’Brien very exciting from Full Back.  If Andy Farrell and his team are picking on form it is very difficult to see how Rhys Ruddock is not in the Ireland squad as he is in top form and looks like he would provide a lot of impact from the bench, which was clearly lacking in Paris.  Brian O’Driscoll recently referenced Harry Byrne, younger brother of Ross, as his long-term successor to Johnny Sexton.  It was very much a curates egg performance from him yesterday and for the moment the like of himself, Ben Healy, Craig Casey and Michael Lowry will probably benefit more from getting a run of games than being in the Ireland camp.

Leinster Pro-14 Fixtures

Round 6: Leinster Rugby v Edinburgh, Monday, November 16, RDS Arena – 8.15pm
Round 7: Leinster Rugby v Cardiff, Sunday, November 22, RDS Arena – 5.15pm
Round 8: Scarlets v Leinster Rugby, Sunday, November 29, Parc y Scarlets – 5.15pm

Champions Cup v Montpellier & Northampton (TBC).

Autumn Ireland Fixtures

Friday November 13th Wales Home 7 PM (Eight Nations)

Saturday November 21st England Away 3 PM (Eight Nations)

Sunday November 29th Georgia Home 2 PM (Eight Nations)

Saturday December 5th TBC Home 2.15 PM (Eight Nations)

Senior Training

Senior Training is currently suspended during Level 5 restrictions for both the Men’s and Women’s squads.  All players are asked to work individually to maintain their skills and fitness.  A return to rugby plan will hopefully be devised in the coming weeks. 

Great news: Underage rugby allowed to continue during Level 5 restrictions

With the back drop of the Level 5 lockdown restrictions we have some great news, due to the physical/mental benefits of training outweighing the chances of Covid transmission especially with all the extra precautions in place, non-contact, max pods of 15, Covid screening etc. the Level 5 Irish Government guidelines allow school age children to continue attending training.  Furthermore, the 5 km/within county restrictions do not apply for dropping our Mini/Youth players to training.  The club weighed everything up carefully but think our players need an outlet during these times.  So, get your gear out and get down to training there is lots we can do and it will mean that we will come fitter and more skilful when we get back to doing what we love; playing competitive rugby.

Some changes to training times may be made, with some groups moving training to the weekends, as there are no games.  Coaches will send any updates out in their WhatsApp groups.

Minis (Boys/Girls)

U6-U12 Sundays 10.30am-12.00pm.


U13 Wednesday 7.00-8.30pm (born 2008)
U14 Thursday 7.00-8.30pm (born 2007)
U15 Mon 7.00-8.30pm and Thursday 7.00-8.30pm (born 2006)
U16 Tuesday 7.30-9.00pm (born 2005)
U17 Wednesday 7.30-9.00pm (born 2004)
U18 Wednesday 7.30-9.00pm (born 2003 & up to 01/07/2002)

U12&U14 Thursday 7.30-8.30pm
U16&U18 Wednesday 7.30-9.00pm

Contact 0862526741 for more information.
Longford Rugby Club is a 'Minimum20' club. Youth teams up to U15 promote minimum 20 minutes game time for all players on match day squads. Longford Minis rugby promotes equal game time at all times during games or blitz events.

Player Profile U14 Captain Jamie Donohoe 2020/21

Favourite Position: Number 7 (Flanker).

Team you to win against: Edenderry because there is a strong rivalry and they always beat us.

Drill I dread the most: The beep test.

Dream Sporting event: Ireland v England in a rugby World Cup final.

When did you score your last try: Last season (if training doesn't count).

Favourite player: Tadhg Furlong.

Teammate that impressed me: Harry Byrne because his offloads and passing are very good.

Funniest teammate: Derek Belton.

Favourite TV programme: Brooklyn 99.

Favourite school subject: French.

Favourite Food: Pizza.

Favourite song: Changes by Tupac.

Best dressed: Everyone is best dressed; we all wear the same kit!

Nickname: J.

Best memory: Coming back from losing against Mullingar and scoring the winning try.

My greatest rugby memory by Senan Murphy Longford U14s.

Longford Minis at the RDS; a player’s experience of their Half time exhibition game at a Leinster match in the RDS Dublin.

‘I hadn’t realised how fast time had passed when Dad asked me if I was excited to be playing during the Leinster v Glasgow Pro14 game the following Saturday. Of course, I answered with a big ‘yes’!

We all met at the club on the Saturday morning and had some fun passing and playing some rugby before the bus arrived. We looked great in our new club tops! Before long we were on our way to Dublin.

When we got to the RDS, we met loads of the Leinster players who arrived at the same time we did. We walked in with Jordan Larmour, Johnny Sexton, James Ryan and many more. They were really friendly. Most of them were smiling and said hello. We went for burgers before meeting more players in autograph alley. The best part in the RDS is we get to meet so many Leinster and Ireland players.

Then we had a team photo with Leo the Lion, Jack Conan and Bryan Byrne.

With Leinster leading their game, our time had suddenly arrived! We were about play the half time exhibition game in front of thousands of people.

We tapped off and were attacking as much as we could. The opposition team defended well and also were attacking. We really worked hard and kept our line like the coaches asked. That worked because the opposition team could not get near our line at all. It was a very fast game as both teams were looking to get a try.

Then a scrum broke down about 10m out and we were awarded a penalty by the referee. I was playing scrum half and took a quick tap and go. I knew that this was a big chance so I ran as fast as I could. I pushed through the defence and scored the winning try just as the referee blew the final whistle. We didn’t notice the crowds during the game but there was a really big cheer for us when it was all over and we were doing the lap of honour. My granny and aunties and uncles were all there to cheer us on too.

It felt great to score there. It felt even better for our team to win the game and then when Leinster won too, it made it an even more special day.

As we went home, we were so happy we got to play at the RDS.

This is one of my greatest rugby memories, so far, thanks to Longford Rugby Club and Leinster Rugby.’

New 4G Pitch Progress Update

Progress continues unabated on our new state of the art 4G pitch despite the persistent heavy rain.  Our contractors PST Sport took advantage of the dryer weather last week to really push on with a substantial amount of the base layer now installed.  We are still on target for opening in late December/early January, which coincides with the time of the year when an all weather pitch is most required.  Once opened cancellations due to water logged pitches will be a thing of the past.  We will keep posting weekly updates on its progress. 

The cost of project is c€600,000.  Although we have received a sizeable grant from LCDC of Longford County Council through the Leader programme, we still need to raise the balance of the funds.  Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far.  We still have some way to go, however.  If you can contribute, please contact Derick Turner on 0862559624.  An innovative scheme is available where any contributions can be spread via a lost cost monthly direct debit.

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