Longford find no Festive Cheer in Carlow 2018-12-10 11:23:00

09122018 Leinster League Division 1B Carlow 31 Longford 12

By Tommy Butler Longford RFC PRO

It was the proverbial ‘nightmare before Christmas’ for Longford in Carlow as they fell to only their second defeat of the season in Oak Park yesterday.  Even though Longford’s last visit there was receiving the Division 2A trophy, when they got promoted two seasons ago, it has not been a ground that Longford have managed to extract much reward from over the years and this trend continued.

Carlow nearly scored soon after the kick off but for a great covering tackle from Longford Full Back Sean Flynn.  However, Carlow drew first blood five minutes later when Longford were stripped of the ball in contact.  The ball was then quickly moved to the wing, with Carlow’s Fionain Burke touching down for a converted try.

This was certainly not the start Longford wanted but one they have bounced back from repeatedly this season.  Longford took the game to Carlow who were leaking a lot of penalties and eventually after a period of sustained pressure around the Carlow line, flanker Kieran O’Gorman drove over from short range to level the scoreboard after the conversion by Ryan McHugh.  The game ebbed and flowed after this with Longford having a number of chances.  One of the majorly frustrating aspects from a Longford point of view was the amount of penalties they conceded in contact, with the referee awarding Carlow a number of penalties for Longford holding on in contact.  This led to very poor reward for all the pressure Longford exerted on the Carlow line for the rest of the game.  Indeed, the game statistics would have shown that Longford were on top in the possession and territory stakes.

Carlow struck next through centre Dave McDermott, who ghosted straight through the Longford defence twice to score another converted try.  Longford then characteristically came right back at Carlow and spurned a chance at three points to kick into the corner towards the end of the first half.  Unfortunately, just as Longford were tightening the screw the referee awarded Carlow a penalty for a Longford player holding on.

Carlow then nearly added to their lead but the Longford defence held firm with the half time score being 14-07 in the home sides favour.

No doubt at half time Coach Glenn Baskett asked his team to come out of the blocks with all guns blazing.  However, it was Carlow who launched the opening barrage.  The kick off was gathered by Carlow’s Hooker who bust through a number of poor tackles.  The ball was then worked out to wing Jeff McDermott who scored an unconverted try in the corner.  To Longford’s credit they tried immensely hard to work their way back into the game with most of the second period being played in Carlow’s half.  However, time and again when Longford were trying to build momentum a penalty was awarded against them for holding on or a handling error was made.

Carlow secured the game and a bonus point with two break out tries from wing Jeff McDermott and Fiach Millward via a kick and chase to leave the score 31-07 with a few minutes to go.

Longford finished off the match in a positive manner with a well worked try in the corner from Joe McGowan to leave the score line at full time of 31-12 in Carlow’s favour.

In a day where Longford never got up to their normal tempo Benny McManus and Paul Gallogly soldiered time and time again carrying the ball and making ground.

Despite the loss Longford are still in second place in the league with five matches to go.  They still can challenge for the top spot as first placed Suttonians and third placed Monkstown both have to visit CPL Park in the New Year.  However, next up is a chance to add the first silverware of the season as Longford are out in the Midland League Final in Tullamore on Saturday December 29th.

Longford Squad: L Brady, H Connolly, D Quinn, A Hughes, B McManus, D Farrell, K O’Gorman, P Gallogly, N Farrell, R McHugh, J McGowan, Ian McCormack, S Murphy, S Flynn, S McGuinness, P O’Farrell, S Murphy, J Geelan, R Shaw & P Dardis.

09122018 Leinster Secods League Division 1B Carlow 47 Longford 12

Longford Early XV, riding on the back of a five game winning streak, had a very poor day out against a strong Carlow side bolstered by the return of many players from Gaelic football commitments.  All the damage was done in the first half with Carlow scoring repeatedly out wide.  However, in big credit to the Longford side, they lifted it for the second half scoring two tries by Peter Mimnagh and Daire O’Brien, to win the second half.  The final score was 47-12.  It is onwards and upwards for this young developing side.

Longford Squad: P Murtagh, P Dardis, J Forde, F Davis, M Cullen, D Corrgian, D O’Brien, J Geelan, L Connolly, J Magan, R Shaw, J Mimnagh, T Graetz, W McDermott, K Murray, B Hanley, C Masterson, D Connolly, JJ Cox & M Casey.

Comments from Longford RFC Head Coach Glenn Baskett

“A disappointing day at the office all round. We have let an opportunity go as a group yesterday. While our early team are still very much in the hunt for the league with them only 5 points off top the manner of the performance in the first half was not of the standard we have set for ourselves. The Late game performance was also a disappointment on the standard we set for ourselves. But now we have to look at how we react to the set back. We still have a Midland League final to play after Christmas and then with Monkstown down here the first week in January we have to get back in to it straight away. Carlow were full value for the wins Sunday and showed a real willingness across the pitch, we knew they would be a challenge and they didn’t disappoint there. On a positive we have got ourselves into a good position this season it is important we go back to what has worked for us to put us here.”

Longford Early XV in Action

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