Performance XV secure vital bonus point win
23/01/17 Leinster League Division 2A Longford 33 Newbridge 10
Longford go a full five points clear at the top of Division 2A thanks to a clinical and concise victory over Newbridge at CPL Park. With the opening game of the Towns Cup the next outing Longford will be happy to have cruised through this encounter with the minimum of fuss.
Longford now have an impressive nine wins from the 12 games thus far this season, displaying a consistency that is a mark of their character. The +188 point difference shows that they aren't afraid to cross the whitewash.
Prior to this clash Newbridge had been steadily progressing after a poor start to the season, but any forward momentum was crashed to a halt by Longford. The first score coming with less than three minutes gone n the clock.
An attacking run by Hubie Connolly on the left hand side opened the first gap. The hooker continued to be a part of the link play that moved the ball down to the corner. Some wonderful offloads were deployed before the ball was flashed across the pitch. Although there were numbers out wide Joe McGowan still had to put in some work before he crossed the tryline.
Grounding in the corner left him with an angle too acute to make the conversion count and the score at 05-00. Newbridge then showed the fighting spirit that has seen them turn their season around. However, the defensive work of Ciaran Kennedy twice prevented them from a comeback.
Shane Rodgers and Ruadhán McDonnall attacks pushed the action into the Newbridge 22. A free kick for a scrum infringement was escalated to penalty for offside and McGowan made this kick count 08-00.
The following score with Daniel McHugh taking the ball into contact in the midfield, somehow he managed to eel his way through the defenders and put the gas on, Newbridge, in disarray, tried to get back and a little over exuberance by Longford saw a pass go to ground. Paul Gallogly scooped it up one handed, ran straight fixing the defenders and two passes later Dylan Quinn was granted the opportunity to show his strength and the prop was not found wanting. Quinn's five pointer brought the tally to 13-00.
With 30 minutes gone McGowan had another chance to penalise the visitors for indiscipline. This time the call was for a ruck infringement and the kicker slotted over to leave it 16-00. Two minutes later the visitors got their first points on the board. A hand’s in the ruck call right in front of the posts sheared three off the Longford lead 16-03 where it stayed to the break.
Just as in the opening of the first half Longford went straight on the attack. Then another display of how to keep defences on their toes by breaking the line and finding the runners. This time the ultimate recipient of the gaps created by hard work was Cormac Hughes.
Three minutes later Benny McManus got his name into the official records with a superb try. McGowan converted both and the score with 50 minutes gone was 30-03. The visitors were punished again in the 57 minute when a not releasing penalty in front of the posts allowed McGowan to extend his tally to 15 and leave the board showing 33-03.
Attacks aside Longford showed some great defending with Kennedy, Barry Steward, McManus and Colm Glynn repeatedly stifling any prospective attack.
On the attacking front Shane Rodgers, McHugh and McGowan counter pointed the blunt force of the pack with some nuanced offence. The bench made an important contribution with John Duffy and Alan Campbell adding to the side.
The league takes a break for a couple of weeks, but there is plenty of rugby action coming up in the meantime. Next week, Tullamore pay a visit for the first round of the Towns Cup. This is sure to be a cracking game, so arrive early to CPL Park to get a good spot.
When the league resumes with a vital game will see second place Cill Dara rock up to CPL park to try and close the gap at the top.
Dylan Quinn, Hubie Connolly, Michael Bannon, Barry Stewart, Benny McManus, Paul Gallogly, Derek Farrell, Ruadhán McDonnall, Shane Rodgers, Daniel McHugh, Colm Glynn, Cormack Hughes, Cillian Bartley, Joe McGowan Ciaran Kennedy.