Longford score bonus point win in crucial game 2020-01-27 15:51:00

Longford J1s make a bonus point winning start to 2020

By Tommy Butler Longford RFC PRO

Longford Senior Men’s J1 XV travelled to Oak Park, Carlow for their first match of 2020 after having the previous two weeks matches postponed for various reasons.  This clash was a vital one as regards the race for the second place and a promotion play off for a chance to play in Division 1A next season.  Coming into the weekend Longford were in fourth place with a match in hand on third placed Carlow and second placed Tullow.  Longford had a point to prove as their visit to Carlow last year resulted in a comprehensive defeat in their worst display of last season and one that derailed their title hopes.  This was must win match for Longford and one in which they delivered in spades.

The match started off at a frantic pace with both sides trying to impose their games allied with lots of big hits.  However, it was Longford who opened the scoring via the boot of Ryan McHugh on 15 minutes after Carlow were pinged for hands in the ruck.  However, ten minutes later disaster struck for Longford as a loose pass in the centres by the away side, resulted in a Carlow interception.  The home side went in under the posts for a converted try to leave Longford four points behind.  However, the men in black and white were not cowed and came straight back scoring a try of their own on 33 minutes, when quick ruck ball was used to great advantage when Cormac Hughes went over for a uncoverted try.  A huge moment then took place four minutes before half time when the Carlow scrum half was shown a straight red for a stamp on Longford flanker, Barry Stewart.  The sending off initially galvanised Carlow and they struck again just before half time with a penalty and also a yellow card for Longford hooker Hubie Connolly for slowing down an attempted quick tap penalty.  So, it was 10-08 at half time in the home sides favour but with Longford going to have a one man advantage for most of the second half.

Longford began the second half in a determined fashion where they were clearly trying to generate quicker ruck ball to exploit the space out wide afforded by Carlow being down a man.  However, Carlow did not make it easy for Longford.  Nevertheless, it was the away side who gradually assumed control.  Eventually, Longford’s pressure told with an interception try from Barry Stewart on 49 minutes, which was converted by Ryan McHugh to put Longford into a 05-10 lead.  Longford soon extended the lead with a Ryan McHugh penalty with Longford starting to really get on top.

One of the best moves of the game saw out half Colm Glynn ping a great cross field kick across to 18 year old wing Daithi Connolly (brother of hooker Hubie) in the Carlow 22, who gathered well and crossed for a converted try under the posts.  This galvinised Carlow back into action and it was only great defence from Kolo Kiripati, Captain Benny McManus and Kieran O’Gorman who kept them at bay.

In spite of this, the cherry on the cake for Longford was a fourth bonus point try on 74 minutes.  Scrum half Neal Farrell made a line break who fed the on rushing Ryan McHugh who broke up the field and put away wing Joe McGowan for a try under the posts to leave the final score 10-32 in Longford’s favour and most importantly all still to play for in the league with a visit to Cill Dara on next weeks’ agenda.

Longford: P O’Farrell, H Connolly, D Quinn, Aaron Beirne, B McManus (C), B Stewart, K O’Gorman, K Kiripati, N Farrell, C Glynn, J McGowan, I McCormack, C Hughes, D Connolly, R McHugh, L Brady, P Dardis, Andrew Beirne, John Geelan & S Murphy.  

Longford J2s take a big step towards the Division 1B Title.

Longford J2 men also put in a fantastic performance against one of their main rivals for the Division 1B title in securing a fantastic 05-26 win.  It was great to see Steve Coy slipping back on the boots and controlling things from out half.  However, the star of the show was undoubtedly James Mimnagh who bagged a hat trick for tries.  David Geelan also chipped in with one of his own.  It was also great to see Packie Molloy back after a long term injury where he enjoyed a productive day alongside Sammy Murphy in the centres.  Dean Corrigan and the Geelan’s as usual provided a brick wall in defence.  It was an overall brilliant performance by all the Philly Dardis Captained squad who showed a very high work rate throughout the game.  There is intense competition in the squad who now only need two wins from their last four games to secure the Division 1B title. 

Squad: P Kirk, R McCormack, J Forde, B Hanley, P Dardis, P Kenny, D Corrigan, D Geelan, John Geelan, James Geelan, J Ross, O McGowan, S Murphy, S Coy, A Armstrong, P Molloy J Finnegan, J Mimnagh, W McDermott & B O’Farrell.   

Post Match Reaction by Longford RFC Head Coach Glenn Baskett

“That was two very good performances in Carlow from both teams, some of the rugby from the 2nd XV was brilliant. The catch pass from the boys was excellent, with some of the lead up work to Jimmy Mimnagh’s 3 tries as good as the finishing itself. But as coaches we were really impressed with the defensive work of both teams. We had trained all week without the ball and how we could combat what we thought Carlow could bring around the tackle and the boys did pretty well in there. And to only concede an intercept try was a sign of the work the boys put in on defence, even at the end we stayed with our work there. We know we have a block of 6 games in 6 weeks and all we are doing now with that is 1 game at a time, for the 1st XV Every Game Counts for us in this block, and that’s how we are going about our work. Next job is Cill Dara away.” 

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