Longford Women kick off league with good away win   02/10/2019

300919 Leinster Women’s League Division 4 Longford 24 North Meath/Swords 5

Longford Ladies travelled to North Meath for their first game hoping for a win to get the season off to a great start. North Meath/Swords kicked off with the wind of their backs. Longford received the ball and won a scrum early on. A clever kick and chase from Emma Dardis helped Longford gain ground. The ball was worked through the hands of the Longford pack and some good running from debutante Leanne Keegan saw her score under the posts for her first try. Megan Banahan added another two points with the conversion. Longford then lost Irene Murtagh to an injury with Emma McHugh coming in as the replacement. Good work was showen by the forwards with Roisin Shaw, the youngest of the pack and only her second game at senior level getting stuck in. Carries by Leanne Keegan, Michelle Farrell and Hannah Shea allowed Megan Banahan to run in under the posts to get Longford’s second try. Megan added the extra two points giving Longford the start they wanted. Longford were working hard at the rucks and carrying ball. Catriona Farrelly was settling well into her first game with a good carry wide. Rebecca Duffy was doing well in the lineout and managed to steal the ball from the opposition’s lineout. Coming up to half time Longford were forcing North Meath/Swords into mistakes with Longford winning two penalties but with no reward. Great work from Monica Bannon and Leanne Keegan to hold up the opposition and getting the turnover just before half time gave the pack confidence going in 14 – 0 at half time.

North Meath/Swords put Longford on the back foot after the break and got a well earned try despite efforts from Emma Dardis and Megan Jobe. The conversion was missed leaving it 14-5. Longford needed to step it up and get back in control of the game. Good work at the back of the lineout by Roisin Shaw and a carry by Monica Bannon looked promising for Longford. A kick and chase by Leanne Keegan won a penalty in front of the posts which saw Megan’s attempt just go right of the posts. From the kick off some powerful running from Monica Bannon and a pass out wide to Leanne Keegan created an almost certain try but the home team did well forcing Leanne into touch. The game was far from over with some good forward play from North Meath/Swords and a clever line out to the front seeing the home team into space with Maria Kelleher making a vital tackle just inside the 22. Both teams were doing well however with the it being the first game of the season there was a lot of loose ball and errors on both sides leaving it anyone’s game. The Longford pack were working hard at the rucks and clearing the danger with Megan kicking up the field with a good chase by Anita Walker. Gillian McDonnell then made her first appearance for Longford coming in on the wing. Some good running from the home teams fly half left Longford very open but a great effort by the forwards earned a turnover ball.  Next were excellent carries by both Jess Stewart and Fidelma Fallon.  The ball was then let out through the hands to winger Leanne Keegan whose good footwork avoided tackles for her second try of the game. The conversion was missed. Try number four came shortly after with Maria Kelleher making a great break from the kick off and out ran the opposition to score. Megan was unlucky not to add the extra two points with the conversion hitting the upright. Longford won the ball from the kick off with the ball being worked through the hands with Monica Bannon breaking for the line, unfortunately a forward pass denied Longford another try.  The final score was Longford 24 North Meath/Swords 5.

Longford Squad: Irene Murtagh, Fidelma Fallon, Jess Stewart, Emma McHugh, Rebecca Duffy, Michelle Farrell, Roisin Shaw, Maria Kelleher, Hannah Shea, Emma Dardis, Megan Banahan, Megan Jobe, Monica Bannon, Leanne Keegan, Anita Walker, Catriona Farrelly & Gillian McDonnell.

Well done to all the girls on their performance today kicking the season off with a win. Special mention to Megan Banahan who is deserving Captain of the team for the season and also to Leanne Keegan, Catriona, Emma McHugh and Gillian McDonnell on their first game for Longford. Wishing Irene a speedy recovery. Next up for Longford is Athy next Sunday at home.

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