Longford edge out Railway Union in Leinster League
closing ten minute defensive performance set up Longford for a win at CPL Park
in a thrilling encounter with Railway Union.
Although the home side were in the ascendancy for the majority of this game
there was more than a possibility that Union could snatch the points in the
closing stage of the contest. Longford will be happy to take the points to give
them a leg up the table, having narrowly lost out in last week’s game. This time round they looked
more focused and gave full value for the win. Only an erratic breeze prevented
this from being a game played in perfect rugby conditions. Although the home side controlled the early exchanges,
it was the visitors first on the board. With just ten minutes elapsed the RU
outhalf, Tom Newman, had the opportunity to kick at goal after an atypical
infringement at ruck time from Longford. The 10 lined up the shot and slotted
it over to give his side a 00-03 lead. From that moment to 15 minutes later
Longford looked the more impressive outfit, harassing the Dublin boys at each
turn. In the 25th minute the home sides kicking duties fell to winger Joe
McGowan. McGowan fell afoul of a
difficult and unpredictable breeze, narrowly putting the ball to the right and
The home team kept up the pressure and although the opponents had the occasional forays into the Longford half it was, for the most part, all about the men in black. Pressure started to tell as the half came to a conclusion. Longford had forgone kickable penalties to go down the line and as the penalty count started to rack up the ref had to address a trend. When Railway Union number eight, Mark Farrell, found himself on the wrong side of a ruck he got his marching orders and assumed the position on the bold boy’s step. Longford maximised their advantage with a quick tap by Shane Rodgers, he was stopped just short, but Paul Gallogly was able to burst through the Union line to put Longford in front, McGowan’s conversion left it 07-03 at the break.
The second half started as the first had ended with the home side straight into fifth gear. Early breaks by Daniel McHugh and Derek Farrell tested the visiting team, however handling errors disrupted what was genuinely exciting play. One such error resulted in a turnover and in no time RU had sashayed down into the Longford 22. Another error by the home side handed a scrum to the Dubliners. From the base of this the 8, Farrell, passed to the visiting full back, Columba Kelly. Kelly took advantage on the confusion caused by a three-on-two and slipped in a gap, before running in under the post in the 54th minute. Newman’s kick put the score at 07-10. Although in the lead Union discipline left a little to be desired and when the visiting second centre offered some coaching tips to the ref the man in the middle gave him a sus beag. It took the home side a little while to get value out of the extra number, but that was just what they did thanks to a wonderful piece of play that started from a Derek Farrell break. Substitute Colm Glynn had made his presence felt, but it was a switch in direction by Neal Farrell that gave Joe McGowan just enough room to dance through the defensive cover. The winger grounded out wide to leave it 12-10 in the 67th minute. From here on out it was as if Longford were intent on testing the cardiac system of the fans. RU pressed Longford for the next ten minutes, but the home side showed tremendous reserve to avoid the penalty that was being fished for. When Derek Farrell executed a perfect jackal it look as if the siege had been lifted, but moments later an isolated player was pinged for holding on and the Union boys got the penalty they had been craving. Newman ignored a quickening breeze and banged over his third kick to leave it 12-13. It was all elbows on the bar of the last chance salon for Longford now. With possession secured and fine runs by Hubie Connolly and Barry Stewart the home side were where they wanted to be. Pressing down on the visitors the refs hands went up for a ruck
infringement, with no advantage accruing it fell to Glynn to kick the last shot of the game.
The wind did the kicker no favours, but the maestro showed no nerves to slot over and secure his side the win on a score of 15-13. A nervy end for the spectators, but isn’t that when it’s the most fun. This was a very solid performance from Longford without being spectacular. The pack were impressive with Anthony Hughes and John Geelan knitting with more established players. The front row was cycled well and all contributed at scrum time and in the loose. Next up Coolavacoose will be the venue for the encounter with Edenderry and Longford will be hoping to build on the home win.
Michael Bannon, Hubie Connolly, Justin Forde, Barry Stewart, Anthony Hughes, John Geelan, Derek Farrell, Paul Gallogly, Neal Farrell, Daniel McHugh, Joe McGowan, Shane Rodgers, Kieran Kennedy, Cillian Bartley & George McDermott
Dylan Quinn, Aaron Beirne, Colm Glynn, Eoin Bartley & Peter Kirk
Longford Development XV 13 Railway Union 15
Longford Development XV lost out narrowly to a good Railway Union side earlier on in the day. Longford went in at half time 12-0 down and turned it around in the second half with impressive performances from Darragh Kirk, Aaron Beirne, Shane McVeigh and Mick Murphy in the forwards with Johnny Beirne, Eamon Kinahan & Cormac Hughes to the fore in the backs. Longford turned it right around in the second half and went ahead with tries and a conversion. However, Railway Union tacked on a penalty near fully time to win the match by 2 points. This leaves Longford 2nds only 3 points off the top after two games.