Longford RFC Club News 12/04/2021   12/04/2021

By Tommy Butler Longford RFC PRO lrfconnects@gmail.com 

The return of club rugby

This week we have great news. After canvassing players, coaches and parents it has been agreed to return to rugby training as soon as possible.  Everyone is exceptionally keen to get back out on the pitch!  Based on the latest government announcement this will be from Monday April 26th for all players from U6 to U18, with Seniors to return at a future date to be confirmed.  Training will be limited to pods of 15 and will be non-contact initially, with full Covid regulations, as per earlier in the season.  The IRFU have kindly agreed to extend insurance for all rugby teams over the Summer (it normally elapses after May) to allow the possibility of games to be played.  First, we will have training, which hopefully will be in improving weather coming into the Summer, with the possibility of some matches maybe in 7s/10s format later as regulations, hopefully continue to relax.  All options are open in what will be new territory for all rugby clubs in Ireland.   You can find draft training times below, if you have any questions, please contact your age groups coach.  Please note all of below is changeable depending on demand and government regulations.

Draft Training Schedule (from April 26th)

U6-U12 Sunday 10.30-11.45

U11 Thursday 7-8

U12-U14 Girls Wednesday 7-8

U13 Boys Wednesday 7-8.30 Sunday 12-1.30

U14 Boys Thursday 6.30-8

U15 Boys Monday & Thursday 7-8.30

U16 Boys Thursday 7.30-9

U16-U18 Girls Wednesday 7.30-9

U17 Boys Wednesday 7.30-8.45

U18 Boys Wednesday 7.30-9 

Rugby Digest

Firstly, the Women’s Six Nations kicked off on Saturday with a resounding 0-45 away win for Ireland versus Wales.  It was a great start to the Championship and something that they can hopefully build on.  Eimear Considine scored two tries with teenage sensation Beibhinn Parsons grabbing two, while Sene Naopu, Hannah Tyrell and Dorothy Wall helped themselves to a try a piece.  Out half, Hannah Tyrell was named Player of the Match.

In Men’s action, it was another weekend of European competition on the weekend past, with Leinster the sole team flying both the Irish and Pro-14 flags in the Champions Cup quarter finals, away to last year’s winners and English Premiership Champions, Exeter.  It was a quarter final that really looked like it should have been the semi-final or final such was the quality of the credentials of the two sides, with the Champions of England taking on the Pro 14 Champions.  A big question going into the game was if the enforced weekend off for Leinster after their last 16 match was cancelled versus Toulon the week before, due a Covid case in the Toulon camp, would favour Leinster or Exeter?  It seemed to all viewers after ten minutes, that the week off had left Leinster rusty and lethargic, as Exeter ran in two relatively easy tries to race into a 14-0 lead with less than ten minutes elapsed.  Leinster had won all of the two sides previous four European meetings and showed their championship credentials by not panicking and largely bossing the rest of the match from that point.  The win was built on a huge intensity and work rate, epitomised by the excellent Josh Van Der Flier who made 22 tackles across the match, which eventually suffocated Exeter and lead to them making uncharacteristic mistakes.  Even Johnny Sexton going off with a head injury after 20 minutes did not knock Leinster off their stride, with Ross Byrne more than ably deputising, despite being on the end of two very questionable tackles from the home side.  Leinster chose to kick long and let Exeter run back at them.  Leinster’s line speed caused them trouble and allied with huge pressure at the break down exemplified by Ronan Kelleher and Van Der Flier, ‘The Boys in Blue’ gradually strangled Exeter.  Leinster also scored three great tries, the first via a great offload from Hugo Keenan to James Lowe and the second and third by Jordan Larmour.  The later showed great skill and strength for his second try to twist and ground the ball in the in goal area rather than being pushed into touch.  The rest of Leinster’s scores were five penalties from the boot of Ross Byrne and two conversions.  Although Leinster were slow out of the blocks, the overall performance sent a big message to other sides still left in the competition especially with Leinster expected to welcome back the likes of Caelan Doris, James Ryan, Jamison Gibson-Parke and Garry Ringrose back soon.

Finally, Athlone man Robbie Henshaw continued his great form from the Six Nations and is looking more and more likely to be one of the Lions starting centres.  Fingers crossed he continues the great form and remains injury free.  

In the Challenge Cup, a big shout out also must go to Ulster who turned over Northampton away from home to move in the Semi-Finals of the Challenge Cup.  Overall, the Champions Cup Semi-Finals will be made up of three French Teams, La Rochelle, Bordeaux and Toulouse along with Leinster.  Can Leinster make it five wins in the tournament, it is going be tough with some great teams left; Leinster versus a Ronan O’Gara coached La Rochelle in the Semi-Final will certainly be an exciting prospect.  As would Toulouse and Leinster slugging it out in the final to see which side can become the first to win 5 Champions Cups.

Semi-Final Draws

To be played on the weekend of 30/04-02/05/2021

Champions Cup

La Rochelle v Leinster

Toulouse v Bordeaux Begles

Challenge Cup

Leicester v Ulster

Bath v Montpellier

Rainbow Cup

Big question marks have emerged over the weekend as regards the viability of the inaugural Rainbow Cup where the Pro 14 takes on the four top South African sides: the Bulls, the Lions, the Sharks and the Stormers in anticipation of them joining the competition proper next year.  It will also provide valuable match experience for the South Africa players as they build for the proposed Lions tour in June.  Although clearance seems to have been secured from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the English government have thrown a spanner in the work indicating that they will not allow the South African teams to base themselves in Bristol in a bio-secure bubble. Fingers crossed that it can be sorted out as I am certainly looking forward to watching the Bulls v Leinster in conjunction with my South African father in law.

Skills Challenges

Log on to our Club Community Rugby Officer Dylan Quinn’s Twitter page for weekly skills challenges from Dylan and other Leinster CCRO’s https://twitter.com/quinn_dylan

The Longford/Mini Youth Section have also launched an initiative where club coaches will be posting weekly skills challenge videos.  Log onto https://www.facebook.com/minisrfc to view these.

It is tough for everyone not being able to train but now is the time to work on your skills especially something you have always wanted to work on as hopefully come September rugby will be back in full swing.  Why not contact your coach and ask him to help you plan a training strategy which you can do from you own home?


We are currently writing a comprehensive history of the club and are finding really interesting information.  For example, rugby first started in Longford in 1888 and continued right up until the 2nd World War with the club reforming in the 70s.  There was even a team in Ballymahon.  If you have any documents, pictures, jerseys or memorabilia relating to the club, please let us know by emailing lrfconnects@gmail.com or contact Derick Turner.  This week we are looking to identify where Longford are playing in this 1920s match in the photo.  It could be Wards Field, which would be close to the current Wards Terrace.  Any suggestions, would be appreciated.

New 3G Pitch

Like all non-essential construction sites work on our new state of the art 3G pitch has been suspended since the start of the year.  However, be assured that all systems are ready to go to take advantage of the improving weather to have the pitch ready to go for the start of new season, when hopefully we will be back to playing rugby.  Fingers crossed we can get back to work in the coming weeks.


Great news, www.longfordrugby.com is back up and running with an updated club crest, which goes back to the future and an updated header and footer.  Check out our website for all things Longford Rugby and more.  If you want to contribute articles or pictures, they are welcome, please email lrfconnects@gmail.com.


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