Longford RFC Club News 16/11/2020   16/11/2020

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!

All Senior Players are asked to make sure than they work on maintaining their fitness so we can hit the ground running as soon as training resumes.


Ireland got their Eight Nations or Autumn Nations Cup campaign off to a winning start with a fairly emphatic win versus a Wales side who looked devoid of confidence.  It is hard to believe that just over a year ago that they were World Cup Semi Finalists and went to toe to toe with the eventual winners South Africa.  Although the Irish performance was far from perfect, it looks like Ireland have started a transition towards the next World Cup, which Wales have not yet embarked open.  Some interesting talking points from the game were Irelands set piece dominance and some interesting debuts/first team starts.  First of all, Andrew Porter at tighthead made light of the continued absence of the colossus that is Tadhg Furlong, to turn opposition loose head Rhys Carre inside out on repeated occasions.  Credit must also go to Quinn Roux in the second row behind him who had his best performance in an Irish jersey and also scored one of Irelands two tries.  By all accounts even though Roux would not be the most mobile second row he adds serious power in the scrum.  The lineout also went reasonably well with Peter O’Mahony showing what he can do, especially in disrupting the opposition lineout.  Then we come to the debut of James Lowe, which had been eagerly anticipated ever since his first trying scoring start for Leinster.  He brings serious power, speed and an infectious enthusiasm to any team he plays for.  He is definitely one of those players that you love to have playing on your team but hate playing against and will always be in the opposition faces similar to Peter O’Mahony, which is an edge that Ireland might have been lacking in recent times.  He certainly deserved his try at the death and looks like he will be a fixture in the Irish team up to the next World Cup.  Amazingly, Lowe has scored on all of his debuts, the Waikato Chiefs, the New Zealand Maori, Leinster and now Ireland.  Speaking of ‘starting debuts’ Caelon Doris was very good at number eight and offers handling off No.8 that CJ Stander is not renowned for.  However, squaring up against England we might see Stander reverting to No. 6 with some serious competition for No.7, with possibly Will Connors in the driving seat due to his chop tackling technique bearing Billy Vunipola in mind.  Jamison Gibson Park produced some snappy service and sniping at 9 with both Billy Burns and Conor Murray looking comfortable at 10.  With Jonny Sexton leaving the pitch with a hamstring injury, assuming that he does not recover, it will be interesting to see who Andy Farrell plumps for at 10.  Ireland will have not lack of motivation heading to Twickenham next week after experiencing a couple of mauling’s in there over the last few years.  Full back is going to be important for Ireland as clever kicks behind is what exposed Ireland before.  I personally would go with Hugo Keenan as he seems more reliable in the back field, however he probably does not have the game breaking potential of Jacob Stockdale.  However, one thing is for sure, it seems like less and less time is being allowed to settle in as an international coach, especially following the likes of Schmidt and Gatland.  It is probable when the dust settles after this Nations Cup that one or maybe two Six Nations coaches maybe looking for a new job.

In the Pro 14 Connacht came unstuck at home in the driving wind and rain in Galway on Saturday night in an error strewn performance, where every bounce of the ball also seemed to go against them.  The two cancellations in a row due to cases of Covid in the opposition squads probably did not help them.  Munster put the Ospreys to the sword fairly easy in Thomond Park on Sunday.  Leinster take Edinburgh on Monday night at home with Ulster travelling to Italy to take on Zebre.  The great news is that Dan Leavy starts his first match in 18 months at No.6 for Leinster, in a powerful back row combination with Rhys Ruddock at No.8, on the back of consecutive man of the match performances and Scott Penny at 7.       

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

Montpellier v Leinster, December 12th, GGL Altrad Stadium – 6.30pm

Leinster v Northampton, December 19th, RDS, - 1.00pm

Northampton v Leinster, January 15th, Franklins Gardens, - 5.30pm

Leinster v Montpellier, January 22nd, RDS, -5.30pm

Autumn Ireland Fixtures

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.

New 3G Pitch Progress Update

Despite all the bad weather there is great progress been made on our new state of the art 3G pitch with all the foundation stone now installed.  Fingers crossed all is on target for opening early in the new year, 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.

Congratulations to Longford Town FC

Congratulations to Longford Town FC on their fantastic promotion play off win versus Shelbourne on Sunday, which confirmed their promotion back to the Premier league.  Like many great things in Longford, it is a club run by a battalion of volunteers. Our town and county have so many great things, which we perhaps neglect from time to time but great news stories like the Town’s promotion shines Longford in the proper good light we now it deserves.

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