Longford leave Sandymount with just losing bonus point
11/12/2016 Leinster League Division 2A
Railway union 10 Longford 03
Longford Performance XV will be bitterly disappointed to have lost out to Railway Union in a game where nothing went their way. The 10-03 score line means that they managed to gain a losing bonus point that will stand to them as the season will progress, but had it not been for a number of errors they could very well have left Sandymount with much more.
The schedule of scores paints a picture that does little to convey what a tense encounter this was. Neither fractious nor dirty the game still saw the bold boys step occupied on five occasions over the course of the 80 minutes. For the most part this encounter was stop start in nature with a notable penalty count that could just not get the numbers on the board turning.
Anyone who enjoys defensive rugby would be enthralled with the encounter with both sides putting up a wall where no amount of prodding and poking could find any chinks. Played at a fast pace right from the off the only notable line breaks of the opening 30 minutes both came from Longford.
Shane Rodgers twice made his way behind the enemy line and pushed into the Railway Union territory. However, even though the Dubliners conceded penalties, Longford could not punish the infractions.
Press as they might for the remaining ten of the half neither team could get the points on the board and the half time break came with the tally stuck at 00-00.
Longford's second half did not get off to an auspicious start and the first blood went to the Southsiders when a penalty conceded in the Longford red zone was converted by the kicker to leave it 03-00. On a day of slog the three points advantage was a prized jewel.
Trying to claw back that advantage proved to be an arduous task. When the ref flashed yellow to two Longford locks it was more than the visitors could deal with. First to get the bin was Benny McManus and then Anthony Hughes got the bronntanas bui. Union used the time wisely and successive scrums were used to punish the visitor's loss. The Dubliners were awarded a penalty try as Longford failed to control the press coming from the superior numbers. Converted it left it 10-00.
With all on the line Longford continued to be the more threatening side. Carries by forwards Barry Stewart, Dylan Quinn, Derek Farrell and Hubie Connolly all made ground and the back unit showed great daring, but final errors stymied all efforts.
Longford got a lifeline in the late stages of the game when Aaron Beirne converted a penalty to bring it to 10-03. All other efforts to close the gap fell short.
Railway Union would have enjoyed their Christmas party, but Longford will look back and rue a number of missed opportunities. This was a sharp lesson for Longford after two comprehensive home wins. This is a tighter league than they had anticipated and they will be looking to reassert themselves on the league in January.
All the squad will be looking to next Sunday's outing when the favourite derby clash will set the tone for the Midlands Shield Trophy at 2pm. Sunday is Grand Final day with the Longford v Mullingar encounter sandwiched between the Birr v Roscrea Bowl final and the Edenderry v Tullamore plate game.
Mullingar will go into this game as heavy favourites having dispatched the men in black on the last two games. Longford will be hoping that they can reverse those outcomes against the old foes and pick up the trinkets.
Michael Bannon, Hubie Connolly, Dylan Quinn, Benny McManus, Anthony Hughes, Barry Stewart, Derek Farrell, Aaron Beirne, Neal Farrell, Daniel McHugh, Joe McGowan, Shane Rodgers, Cormac Hughes, Eoin Bartley, Ciaran Kennedy
Justin Forde, Karl Murray, Ronan Keith, John Geelan & Killian Bartley