Longford 1st XV through to Provincial Towns Plate Final
Longford secured a spot in the Towns Plate final on Sunday having brazened out a nervy final twenty minutes to dispose of Tullamore on a score of 24-12. While this was not as poised a performance as recent outings it was a four try win against a handy Offaly team that fought right up the final whistle.
Longford may be experiencing a little tension as they wait on other league’s conclusions for confirmation of the league they will ply their trade in next year, but the motivation of rounding off the season with some silverware was apparent in CPL Park on Sunday. Next week Ashbourne take on North Kildare for the honour of the other Plate final berth.
Although the home side had double the Spollenstown men’s score at the end it was a keen contest right to the conclusion. The home team may have been guilty of playing a little too much running rugby, allowing the visitors to put them under pressure in their own half, but the reward for their enthusiasm to play were the four tries that secured them victory.
The Longford pack worked well throughout the game, with Benny McManus putting in a man of the match performance. Other notables were Justin Forde and the ever reliable troika of Clifford Richardson, Huby Connolly and Derek Farrell. Up front grizzled veteran hooker Ronan Keeth showed no after effects of celebrating a recent milestone birthday.
Ciaran Kennedy was the first to score. The centre crossed the try line inside the first five minutes. Clifford Richardson added to this by going under the posts after two glorious pop passes from Justin Forde and Hubie Connolly. Finbarr McGowan, who was stable in the 10 slot, converted to leave it a 12-00 game.
Derek Farrell pushed the lead out to 17-00 when a quick tap and go gained enough advantage to for the 8 to get into the visitors’ dead ball zone. Tullamore managed to cut the lead with a try of their own just before the break. The unconverted score left it 17-05 at the sus.
The Offaly men suffered the setback of a yellow card early in the second half, but turned their opponent’s advantage on its head by scoring there second try close enough to the posts for the kicker not to be affected by the gusting winds.
At 17-12 it looked as if the Spollenstown men would stage a comeback, but the introduction of outhalf Colm Glynn steadied the Longford attack. When the visiting blindside flanker was given a yellow Glynn ratcheted up the flagging tempo. Some snappy passing eventually led to enough space for Carl Murray to show a burst of pace that exploited the flagging Tullamore defence.
The visitors competed right up the final
whistle, but this was Longford’s day and they now await the outcome of next
week’s game to see who they face in the final.
Justin Forde, Ronan Kieth, Dylan Quinn, Aaron Beirne, Benny McManus, Clifford Richardson, Huby Connolly, Derek Farrell, Neil Farrell, Finbarr McGowan, Lorcan Connolly, Shane Rodgers, Ciaran Kennedy, Joe McGowan, George McDermott
Liam Brady, Peter Kirk, John Duffy, Danny Griffin, Aaron Griffon, Colm Glynn, Carl Murray