Bonus point win for Longford in first home league match 2019-09-30 10:42:00

29/09/2019 Leinster League Division 1B Longford 25 DLSP 03

By Tommy Butler Longford RFC PRO

Longford maintained their unbeaten start to the season in securing a four try bonus point versus DLSP in CPL Park today.  De La Salle Palmerstown (DLSP) who play out of their Kilternan ground came to Longford to play wide expansive rugby.  They got the ball wide at every opportunity and at times severely stretched the Longford defence.

Longford had the benefit of a strong breeze in the first half when they played towards the club house.  Out half Colm Glynn and Full back Ian McCormack used it to pin back DLSP on quite a few occasions in the first half. 

The first twenty minutes of the first half saw a lot of shadow boxing, which is typical of early season matches with both sides feeling each other out.  Longford put together some good phases of play typified by strong forward carries and some enterprising back play.  However, as has been the case in the past, the final pass was not forthcoming due to mistakes inside the 22.   It is certainly something Glenn Baskett and his coaching team will be looking to work on as Longford could have been out of sight by half time had 3 or 4 passes stuck.

Conversely, it was definitely not a one sided game and DLSP managed to stretch the Longford defence on many occasions.  This was largely to the Longford defensive set being a bit too narrow leaving some space on the outside on occasion.  Indeed, were it not for some great covering tackles from Colm Glynn and Danny McHugh when DLSP threatened try scoring line breaks it might have been Longford who were chasing the game in the second half. 

Longford opened the scoring on twenty minutes with a Ryan McHugh penalty to take a deserved lead.  However, it did not last long as DLSP levelled the scores on 25 minutes when Longford were pinged for holding on at the ruck.  DLSP had their tails up and were trying to attack Longford from all positions.  However, the men in white (for one day only) turned over DLSP possession in the DLSP 22 after another attempted break out.  Conor Craig then broke down the touchline and was hauled down just short of the line, only for Captain Benny McManus to crash over to put Longford into an 8-3 lead with ten minutes of the first half to run.  Longford then piled on the pressure but will be disappointed not to have tacked on a few more scores.

Longford kicked off the second half into the wind and knew that an improved performance in defence and as regards decision making in the opposition 22 would be required to secure the win.  Longford came out of the blocks hard with No.8 Kolo Kiripati leading the way with some devasting carries.  After one such carry Longford were awarded a penalty for DLSP slowing the ball down.  The men in white kicked to the corner and it was Kiripati who touched down at the back of an excellent Longford maul to stretch Longford’s lead to ten points.

DLSP strongly came back into the game at this point with the help of the wind.  However, Longford’s defensive alignment, spacing and speed was considerably improved in the second half leading to the away side getting little change up the middle or out wide.  Longford’s defence looked increasingly comfortable and frequently forced a mistake or a turnover from the away side.

Longford turned the screw in the final ten minutes to secure a four try bonus point with Packie Molloy crossing from the back of another great Longford maul and Joe McGowan putting the cherry on the cake when crossing out wide in the closing minutes following a well worked move to leave the final score at 25-03.  Joe also converted his own score.

It was a great squad performance with the bench contributing strongly to great finish to the match.

Overall Longford will be happy with the win and bonus point but will know that there a lot of improvements that can be made looking forward.

Unfortunately, our J2 side did not have a match today as DLSP could not fulfil the fixture.  However, two matches into the season our J2 side are joint top with two wins from two.  Next up is Carlow at home in CPL Park in two weeks’ time.

Longford Squad: P O’Farrell, H Connolly, D Quinn, B Stewart, B McManus, C Craig, K O’Gorman, K Kiripati, R McHugh, C Glynn, D McHugh, G Bester, S Rodgers, J McGowan, I McCormack, L Brady, K Rodgers, P Molloy, N Farrell & S Murphy.  

After match reaction from Longford Senior Men’s Head Coach Glenn Baskett

“Coming away from Tullow we weren’t sure where we were at, the weather played a huge part in that game and so we were anxious going into today.

We needed to see if we are ahead or behind where we need to be while looking for our first win.

De La Salle played similar to what we thought they would, lots of width so we had to work hard across the pitch.

To get the bonus point win showed a real application from the boys. They put their heads down and went about getting the four tries. And to concede none was pleasing.

We lost Ian and Ryan early which brought full use of our 20, which is what we want. The guys coming in lifted the energy.

We were pleased with how we finished but didn’t start accurately enough and if we are honest we left a handful of scores out there where we forced our play and didn’t execute. But after a draw and a BP win it’s not a bad way to go into the down weekend ahead of two massive games.”

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