Longford continue their great start to the Leinster League 2018-10-15 17:03:00

14/10/2018 Leinster League Division 1B Monkstown 14 Longford 21

By Tommy Butler Longford RFC PRO

Longford continued their unbeaten start to the season with a hard fought win against a very good Monkstown side in Sydney Parade.  Longford sported lots of bumps and bruises after this encounter but gave as good as they got and ultimately deserved their seven point win.

It seemed that there might be a very different result two minutes into the match as Monkstown ran in an early try against a Longford side who were slow to get up to the pace of the home side.  Monkstown probed Longford early on by trying to get the ball out wide at every opportunity.  However, Longford began to find their stride and before long were exerting their own pressure with Joe McGowan slotting a penalty after seven minutes to bring the score back to 5-3.  Indeed, after their first score Longford further turned up the pace and will feel unlucky not to have scored their first try of the match on the fourteen minute mark.  Multiple phases on the Monkstown line were close but no cigar as eventually Monkstown turned the ball over and relieved the pressure.  Indeed, Monkstown’s work at the breakdown proved a large thorn in Longford’s side throughout the match.  However, Longford were undeterred with Joe McGowan slotting a penalty after seven minutes to bring the score back to 7-3.  

Longford were also nearly in a second time on twenty three minutes after a great show and go by scrum half Neal Farrell saw him make a clean line break only for a last ditch tackle to knock the ball out of his hands as he was proceeding to cross the whitewash.  Ryan McHugh slotted a penalty awarded in the build up to Farrells near miss to put Longford in the lead for the first time; 5-6

The rest of the half was largely nip and tuck until just before half time when the Monkstown loose head was shown a straight red card for a tip tackle.  Ryan McHugh slotted the resultant penalty to leave Longford with a 5-9 lead at half time.

Longford would have felt confident of seeing out the match against a fourteen man Monkstown but as often happens, Monkstown raised their game considerably in the second half and brought the match to Longford.  Great defensive work limited Monkstown to only two penalties, to edge them ahead 11-9.  Longford turned the match on its the head on the twenty minute mark with Kieran O’Gorman going over for a well worked converted try after consistent pressure.  Unfortunately, after this Longford quickly had a man sent to the the Sin Bin for persistent infringements with Monkstown slotting the resultant penalty to bring the score to 14-16.  However, such is the character of the side they again turned logic on its head by scoring a converted try instead of conceding one during the yellow card period.  A great break up the wing and kick ahead by Sean McGuinness was finished off by winger Joe McGowan to bring the score to 14-21. 

The rest of the match was played at a committed and frenetic pace with both sides looking for another score.  However, it finished with Longford securing their second away win of the season.  It will feel especially good as Monkstown are a very good side who threw the kitchen sink at Longford.

Longford Squad: L Brady, H Connolly, D Quinn, B Stewart, B McManus, D Farrell, K O’Gorman, P Gallogly, N Farrell, R McHugh, J McGowan, S Murphy, S Rodgers, S McGuinness, S Flynn, J Forde, P O’Farrell, P Dardis, F McGowan & P Molloy.

Captain Neal Farrell gets the ball away from the back of the scrum v Monkstown in the Late match.

14/10/2018 Leinster Seconds League Division 1B Monkstown 27 Longford 17

The Early XV unfortunately did not come away with a win despite showing a bit improvement on their previous two games.  Like the Late XV they went behind to an early try and penalty.  However, to their credit they fought back and brought themselves right back into the game with a try by Justin Forde after a great carry from the lineout by Podge O’Farrell.  Scrum Half Finbarr McGowan also knocked over a penalty to even up the scoreboard 10-10.  The second half started like the first with Longford conceding 10 points only to come right back into it with a well worked try from flanker David Geelan.  Although Longford had other opportunities to score it was Monkstown who tacked on another try to leave the final score 27-17.

The Early XV are improving week on week with players returning to the squad.  It will not be long until the side start notching up wins.

Longford Squad: P O’Farrell, P Dardis, J Forde, F Davis, D Gilmore, P Molloy, D Geelan, J Geelan, F McGowan, R Shaw, J Mimnagh, I McCormack, W McDermott M Casey, JJ Cox, P Kirk, B Hanley, M Cullen, A Hughes & P Mimnagh.

Thoughts from Longford Senior Men’s Head Coach Glenn Baskett

A physical contest. That's the best way to sum up today's games in Monkstown.

Our Early game brought a positive performance in an ultimately disappointing result but to have boys from last year's successful 18's integrate in the Senior group is how we grow.

To have the likes of Robbie Shaw, Brian Hanley, Packie Molloy out there today seamlessly joining in with the experienced boys is how the whole group is pushed.

When we add in new or returning boys like Ian McCormack, Peter Mimnagh (joining his brother James), Karl Murray, Willie McDermott and quality experience in the likes of Anthony Hughes there is a real challenge to all places in the group.  While within the group there is disappointment at losing three on the bounce it is the positive progression and growth of real depth that we see as encouragement. This isn't a group put together this season, it is a progression of the last 4 years and again, without a wide group the process falls down.  So, the Early Team now need to look for results after growing depth.  It is a very competitive league for both teams.

On the Late Team they are 3 from 3 and we sit second in the table. We knew today would ask questions of us, and the physicality of the game was evident for all.

We talked at half time about coming out positively to having the extra man after their red card and how Monkstown would come at us. But Monkstown lifted better than us and we had to try and weather that storm.  I thought we played into their hands a bit going forward and that allowed them to grow in confidence and get momentum but for us to score when we were down to 14 showed a want.  A couple of crucial tackles and turnovers changed momentum back for us and I thought we closed the game well to turn them around and force a mistake to get possession back.  The boys will be sore and a few knocks to take care of this week but we shift our focus back to Dublin again next weekend.  We will look at the video and see what we did well and what we didn't do so well.  In conclusions it was a positive weekend for the group as a whole.

Longford Early XV pack down v Monkstown