Longford RFC Club News 23/11/2020   23/11/2020

By Tommy Butler Longford RFC PRO lrfconnects@gmail.com 

Senior Rugby Update

We are hoping that a return to rugby will be possible from the start of December with the Government expected to make an announcement this week regarding what form the exit from Level 5 restrictions will take.  At the moment no adult collective training in any sport other than at elite level is allowed.  Hopefully, the restrictions will be relaxed enough for the teams to resume contact training as all our Senior and underage teams will require at least two weeks of contact training before playing games.  In an update published at the start of November, 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 in 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 made the trip to Twickenham on Saturday to play their second of three matches in the inaugural Eight Nations or Autumn Nations Cup campaign.  After a good win versus Wales the week before, Ireland headed over to Twickenham with a degree of confidence that they would at least put in a better performance than in their last three defeats versus England, a sequence that started in Dublin two years ago.  It was a full strength England, with 14 starters from their side that played South Africa in the World Cup Final last year taking the field, where Ireland only featured five from their quarter final defeat versus New Zealand.  Unfortunately, the fixture continued as it had in the three meetings before, with England winning fairly comprehensively and an error strewn Irish side straining every sinew but running into a wall of white shirts for most of the match.  If you looked at the stats without watching the match, it would have looked like Ireland had recorded a comfortable win; England made 208 tackles to Irelands 76 and only had 32% possession.  However, any neutral observer would concede that Ireland never really looked like winning once Jonny May had scored England’s second try and there lies one of the main problems on the day Irelands lineout, which malfunctioned at critical moments.  It was on such a moment that Irelands hooker Ronan Kelliher, overthrew to the back of an Ireland lineout, resulting from and Ireland penalty kick to the corner.  The ball fell into English hands and two missed Irish tackles later, Jonny May outgassed the whole Irish team to touch down under the posts.  The inability to take scores when in scoring range had plagued Ireland recently especially against England and France with our malfunctioning lineout being one of the root causes.  It is something the Irish management need to sort out quickly if Ireland are to have any chance of turning over France and England in the spring when they visit in the 2021 Six Nations.  Also, Ireland need to evolve their tactics.  Ireland are unlikely to physically out muscle the better sides so need to play in a way that somewhat negates that.  Madness has been defined as constantly repeating the same action and expecting a different result, certainly that is what it is starting to fell like against England, where battering with one off runners leads to Ireland providing little or no threat and often going backwards before being turned over.  In Ireland Leinster probably have the template, which a lot of the Ireland squad are comfortable with and if Andy Farrell and his team are not able to show development as regards playing style, solidity at set piece and most importantly the ability to compete with the likes of France and England in next year’s Six Nations, then the dual coaching ticket of Cullen and Lancaster, that has worked so well at Leinster, may look like an increasingly attractive prospect.  Next up is a match versus Georgia where Farrell et al are likely to make a lot of changes and look to correct a lot of the set piece problems.  A bonus point result is taken as a given.  This November series will be rounded off with probably a match against the second placed team in Group B, which is likely to be Scotland, who have improved immeasurably since Ireland put them to the sword in the World Cup last year.  It very much feels like the best of the rest final, which Ireland need to win.  Finally, one thing that it is also clear is that to compete at the top table of rugby and reached the hallowed ground of a World Cup semi-final, Ireland will need a lot of luck as regards injuries, as when the likes of Tadhg Furlong, Johnny Sexton, Robbie Henshaw, Garry Ringrose and Dan Leavy are not available we struggle to replace them with the same level of quality.  Also one of the many pretenders to Johnny Sextons throne needs to decisively put their hands up for the position.

Leinster again scored another easy victory in the Pro-14, this time against Cardiff on Sunday where they scored their seventh back to back four try bonus point win to set a new Pro 14 record..  It again raises the question of how good the Pro 14 is as preparing Irish teams for high level internationals.  It feels like the entry of the top South African teams next season cannot come soon enough in order to raise the competitiveness of the competition.  It is great to see Dan Leavy back and playing so well, a return to the Irish jersey will hopefully not be too far away.  Unfortunately, Tadhg Furlongs return from injury suffered another set back but hopefully he also is not too far away.

Leinster Pro-14 Fixtures
Scarlets v Leinster, Sunday, November 29, Parc y Scarlets, 5.15pm

Munster v Leinster, Saturday, December 26th, Thomond Park, 7.35pm 

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

Ireland Autumn Nations Cup Fixtures

Sunday November 29th Georgia, Aviva Stadium Dublin, 2pm

Saturday December 5th TBC Aviva Stadium Dublin, 2.15pm 

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.

Philip Caldwell Trust

Philip Caldwell (38) is a rugby player who suffered serious spinal injuries in a freak accident in July and is making a slow, but steady recovery and is slowly learning to walk and use his arms and hands again while also learning to cope with his changed life circumstances.

After three months in the care of the Spinal Ward Unit in the Mater Hospital, Philip is currently in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire.

In order to assist that progress, his friends have created the Philip Caldwell Trust and are calling on rugby supporters and sports lovers to pay €10 for a virtual ticket for Ireland’s final Autumn Nations Cup match on December 5.

All money raised will go straight to the Philip Caldwell Trust to assist in Philip's recovery, with any excess funds going to the IRFU Charitable trust.  Log onto https://fta4philly.com/ for more info.

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