Longfordís Young Guns shine in first match of the season
Longford had a great first outing of the season away to Galway side Monivea on Saturday past. Monivea have consistently been of Connachtís top Junior sides and certainly gave Longfordís young side featuring many players who were playing their first Senior matches after graduating from our U18/U19 sides in the last few years a very tough test, especially in the forwards.
The match opened with a period of dominance by Monivea where Longford saw very little ball for the first twenty minutes and were put under a lot of pressure by the big Monivea pack. Longford made a few changes to the pack with some experience campaigners coming in, which helped Longford to turn the tables. However, it was one Longfordís younger players back from an injury lay off, Michael Bannon who scored the first try of the game. Indeed, not content with just one Michael soon after looked like he was going for a second try after a great run from a good distance out when he was illegally taken out just as he was about to cross the line. However, a penalty try was awarded to put Longford two tries to the good. However, Monivea hit back with a try over their own before half time.
The second half saw a lot of changes with the Longford Coaching triumvirate of Niall Moran, Glenn Baskett and Ronan Keith making a lot of changes and positional switches to look at as many players and combinations as possible. The second half saw Lorcan Connolly scoring a third try for Longford after a great run. This was to be Longforda last try with Monivea putting a lot of pressure on in the final 20 and scoring another try. However, they did not overhaul Longford who recorded their first victory of the season with a 12-17 victory.
Overall it was a good first outing of the season with some positive points but lots to work on going forward. The highlight of the day was seeing so many of our former Youth Players looking very much at home at Senior Level against a Monivea pack who are as big as Longford are likely to see this season. It is hoped that more of our recent U18/U19 players will commit to training as it will mean that Longford will be able to pack from a very strong squad this season and will be fielding very strong 1st and 2nd XV sides. The message coming from the Coaching Team this season is that all places are up for grabs and that good performances for the 1st/2nd XVs and commitment at training will be rewarded when picking the teams for the following week.
While it was a game where the whole squad participated some notable mentions go to Alan Campbell playing his first game for the club after a number of years for Australia, Paul Gallogly after a few years playing AIL rugby and the likes of recent U18/U19 players Daniel McHugh, Sean McGuinness, JJ Cox, Paul Donnelly & Danny Griffin who all gave accounts of themselves.
Longford take on Birr this Sunday at home in CPL Park this Sunday at 3 PM in the Midland League, in their first home match of the season.
Longford Squad: M Bannon, D Quinn, J Forde, H Connolly, P Kirk, B McManus, D Farrell (C), P Gallogly, A Campbell, N Farrell, J McGowan, O McGowan, E Kinahan, S McGuinness, JJ Cox, D McHugh, P Donnelly, J Connolly, G McDermott, R Lee & L Connolly.