Longford RFC Derek Belton Match and Awards night report 2022   09/05/2022

By Tommy Butler Longford RFC PRO lrfconnects@gmail.com 

Longford RFC hosted their first Senior Awards night since 2019 due to Covid on Friday past.  It was great to have players and supporters back in the club together to celebrate all the Senior Players and and the club in general.

Derek Belton Trophy

Colm Glynn on the ball for Longford

The awards had their traditional curtain raiser with a match for the Derek Belton Cup, when we remember Derek Belton, a former Captain of the Club and Derek Bannon, a former 1st Team Player, who were both taken from us way too soon.  This year the Derek Belton match had an interesting twist in that it was the first for Longford’s newly formed Over-35s/Veterans side, where former retired players come together to grace the hallowed turf of CPL Park once more.  The match was versus Creggs, who kindly came over at short notice. 

Vinny Conefrey carries the ball into contact

The turnout from Longford was superb with over 25 players lining out.  The oldest player award went jointly to evergreen Jonny Killane and Alan Portbury with lots of players in their 40, 50s and nearly sixties lining out.  A slightly cagey start, showed that even though this was a friendly that no quarter would be given.  Most of the players minds were well ahead of their bodies but the match got better and better as everyone got back into the playing groove again.  Creggs went in for an early try but after that Longford took control ably led by Colm Glynn to record and 24-17 win and keep the Derek Belton Cup in Longford RFC.  Tommy Butler was presented on behalf of Longford Vets, with the Derek Belton Cup by June and Robert Belton after the match.

Willie Hall offloads for Longford

It is hoped to make it a regular fixture and it is hoped to return the favour to Creggs in early September and to organise a few more matches next season.  Special thanks to the Longford players that helped Creggs make up the numbers and also to Trevor McHugh for a great refereeing job.

The Combined Longford & Creggs squads after the match

Senior Awards

Senior Men

Next up was the Senior Awards, which were presented by incoming Club President Donagh McDonnell.  It was very helter skelter season for the Senior Men where lots of things happened both on/off the pitch.  At one stage Longford were only three points off the top.  However, after a lot of things going against them, they dug out what looked like having to go into a relegation play off in the last two matches, to finish a very respectable fifth.  They bowed out of the Provincial Towns Cup in the second round versus Carlow in a match they should have won and then very frustratingly got knocked out of the Provincial Towns Plate at the Semi Final stage courtesy of a last minute score by Navan.  Glenn Baskett who has been coaching Longford for seven years announced he would be standing down but urged the group to stick together as he is sure that they can eventually achieve the hallowed ground of winning promotion to play in Division 1A.  Tributes were paid to Glenn and all his coaching team.  Team Manager Karen Lennon also is standing down after many years of sterling work.  A new coaching team will be announced in the near future.

The Awards were then presented the winners were as followed:

2nd XV Player of the Year: Peadar Kenny

Most Improved Player: Finbarr McGowan

Players Player of the Year: Danny McHugh

Player of the Year (Joint): Mark McHugh and Aaron Beirne

Senior Women

Longford Women then followed, after what was a great season.  They won the pre-season Paul Flood Plate, got to the Midland League Final and narrowly missed out on successive promotions.  This is allied to a very vibrant Youth Section with U14 Girls winning Leinster League Division 3 and also the U18s reaching the Midland League Final.  Well done to hard working coaches Nuala McGoey, Lisa Brady and all involved.  We cannot wait to see what happens next season!

The awards were then presented as follows:

Most Improved Player: Fidelma Fallon

Players Player of the Year: Amanda Sheridan

Player of the Year (Joint): Dora Ledwith

Player of the Year (Joint): Maria Kelleher

Club Person of the Year

Last up by no means least was the Prestigious Club Person of the Year Award, which was won by Gerry Carthy.  Even though Gerry was taken back by the award it was absolutely obvious to everyone connected with the club that he was a very deserving winner.  Gerry has chaired the Mini/Youth Section of the Club for many years putting in immense hard work and dedication leading to Longford having an extremely vibrant and one of the best run Youths sections in the country.  Not only that but Gerry has been camera man for the Senior Men for many years where he captured the exploits of the Senior Men for review after, unfailingly in rain/shine.  Gerry also provides legal advise to the club and has done countless other things.  He is the true epitome of a great Club Person.  On receiving his award he received a standing ovation.  It is safe to say that Longford would be nowhere without dedicated volunteers like Gerry.  Gerry remarked how rewarding his experience with the club had been and how welcoming everyone at the club had been to him.  We are always looking for more volunteers even if you can only help out on a specific project or give an hour a week.  We guarantee you will get a lot back, for everything that you put it.  If you are interested in volunteering contact any club member.

So that is it for the season, thanks to all the Coaches, Players, Referees, Volunteers, Supporters and anyone who helped out the club in any way.

Stay tuned for details on a big fundraiser coming your way in July, which we ask everyone to support!

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