Longford RFC Senior Match Report & Notes 111021   11/10/2021

10/10/2021 Leinster League Division 1B Longford 17 Cill Dara 15

Fortune favours the brave finally for Longford

Longford finally recorded their first league win of the season with a try and conversion in the last play of the game to score a two point victory over a tough Cill Dara side. However, it looked like it would be a case of so near but yet so far again, as was the case in their first two league matches versus Wicklow and Boyne, with five minutes to go.  However, one thing this Longford side do not lack is tremendous tenaciousness and spirt, which cannot be bought or trained into side. The going has got tough for Longford in all matches so far this season but they battled back against Wicklow and arguably should have wrestled the win in the last few minutes, had pummelled the Boyne line and were unlucky not score but still battled back to gain a losing bonus point and now came back to score the winning try with the last play of the game against Cill Dara, a case of third time lucky!

The game as a whole was not one that will stand out in the collective memory as although both teams were very strong in defence, going forward there was a plethora of turnovers and errors, which continually halted both sides but particularly Longford’s momentum.

Longford bossed the early exchanges but consistently made errors at the wrong time. As a result, it was Cill Dara who went ahead on the scoreboard after 18 minutes from the second of two kickable penalties. Longford will certainly have to look at their discipline, which let Cill Dara in at times, especially when Longford were on top.

Longford had lots of opportunities after this from a mixture of being on top at the scrum and an improved lineout, which gave them the ability to rumble the ball up. However, try as hard they may, it did not click. Eventually, the pressure told when Ryan McHugh slotted over a penalty on 35 minutes to draw the scores level. Longford then continued to pile on the pressure, with one particularly regrettable knock on preventing Longford’s first try; the forwards carried well creating an overlap on the right, with the ball slung out there, only for a knock on to dash Longford’s hopes with the line at their mercy. However, as previously alluded to, the present Longford side do not lack in spirt and came back hard with Dylan Quinn barging over at the stroke of half time, converted by Ryan McHugh to put Longford into a deserved half time lead of 10-3. This was aided and abetted by the Cill Dara full back earning a yellow card just before, for three separate infringements in the same sequence of play.

The half time team chat from Head Coach Glenn Baskett probably told his players to calm down, not to over think and play what was on front of them and the scores would come and that is exactly what Longford tried to do. Longford monopolised possession for the first 20 minutes and should have had 1-2 scores, especially from a great break out from their own half and a run by Cormac Hughes, which he kicked through and nearly gathered to score. Longford then committed what accounted to near hari kari, when they managed to go from camping on the Cill Dara line to giving away two penalties, the first for holding on and the second for back chat to let Cill Dara march right down into the Longford half and eventually go over for a poor try from the home sides point of view, to bring Cill Dara within two points of Longford.

Longford came back again and nearly had another try, which after a well worked build up and kick through, Daithi Connolly was just beaten to the touch down by the Cill Dara cover. Cill Dara then gradually started to get on top and enjoyed their best period of possession of the game. Generally, the Longford defence held out firm but disaster struck with three minutes to go, when confusion at the back of a ruck in the Longford 22, led to Cill Dara turning over the ball and going over for a try in the right hand corner, which was superbly converted from the touchline.

Things now looked bleak for Longford with only a few minutes remaining, which was further compounded by a yellow card for the home side. The last few minutes ebbed and flowed but Longford were not to be denied with second row stalwart Benny McManus crashing over for a try in last play of the game to draw the scores level. Then up stepped Ryan McHugh to nervously knock over the winning conversion to earn Longford their first win of the season and a strong inkling that all the endeavour and spirt of the first three matches was finally materialising into something tangible. Relief and joy was felt all round, with a feeling that there is more to come from this side if they can take a breath, force less and play what’s on front of them, then the tries and ultimately more wins will come.

Longford: P O’Farrell, H Connolly (C), J Forde, B McManus, Aaron Beirne, M McHugh,         K O’Gorman, J Bennett, D McHugh, A Wynne, D Connolly, G McDermott, C Hughes, J McGowan, R Shaw, D Quinn, Andrew Beirne, J Geelan, R McHugh & Neal Farrell.

Unfortunately, there was no J2 match as Cill Dara could not field at team due to injury.

Onwards and upwards next week as we visit Kingswood to take on Clondalkin.

Post Match Comments from Longford RFC Head Coach Glenn Baskett

“On reflection from yesterdays game there is a frustration with the performance. Because the performance led to the result. That was a game that if we are honest should have been over as a contest at HT but decision making and execution allowed Cill Dara to still be in the game and when they had their opportunity 3 minutes from the end they took it. Did they deserve to be ahead, possibly because they were still in the fight, arguably because of our play but regardless they were in it and stayed in it then capitalised. Now the boys showed a want to keep fighting and earn the score. Even from a brilliantly chased down re start from Kieran to give us an opportunity with the ball to build pressure on their line at the end. Then to concede penalties, get a yellow card but still have the fight to score a try that on the balance of the game we earned. Ryan McHugh nails a difficult conversion under considerable pressure from the opposition and the scoreboard. As a group are we happy to get a win when we were buried, yes absolutely. Are we happy with the performance, absolutely not.  We have 6 points out of a possible 15 so no we aren’t where we need to be, but have we taken a step outside and started to climb, yes we have. But we have to learn to make better decisions. The opportunity for places each week is strong so we are in a good place there, we just need to play smart now. Clondalkin away next weekend is an opportunity to bring those learnings.”

Men’s Leinster League Fixtures 2021-2022

17/10/2021 Clondalkin v Longford Gordon Park, Kingswood (1st XV 3 2nd XV 1.30)

31/10/2021 Longford v Carlow CPL Park (1st XV 3 2nd XV 1.30)

07/11/2021 Longford v Tullow CPL Park (1st XV 2.30 2nd XV 1.00)

28/11/2021 Mullingar v Longford Shay Murtagh Park (1st XV 2.30 2nd XV 1.00)

05/12/2021 Wicklow v Longford Ashtown Lane (1st XV 2.00 2nd XV 12.30)

12/12/2021 Longford v Boyne CPL Park (1st XV 2.00 2nd XV 12.30)

09/01/2021 Cill Dara v Longford Silken Thomas Park (1st XV 2.30 2nd XV 1.00)

16/01/2021 Longford v Clondalkin CPL Park (1st XV 2.30 2nd XV 1.00)

23/01/2021 Carlow v Longford Oak Park (1st XV 2.30 2nd XV 1.00)

06/02/2022 Tullow v Longford Black Gates (1st XV 3 2nd XV 1.30)

13/02/2022 Longford v Mullingar CPL Park (1st XV 3 2nd XV 1.30)

Women’s Leinster League Fixtures 2021-2022

24/10/2021 Longford v New Ross CPL Park

31/10/2021 Arklow v Longford

14/11/2021 Longford v Greystones CPL Park

28/11/2021 Naas v Longford

05/12/2021 Garda/Westmanstown v Longford

12/12/2021 Portlaoise v Longford

16/01/2021 Longford v Naas CPL Park

30/01/2021 New Ross v Longford

06/02/2022 Longford v Arklow CPL Park

20/02/2022 Greystones v Longford

13/03/2022 Longford v Garda/Westmanstown CPL Park

Longford RFC Partnership with the Simon Community

Last Monday night saw the launch of a new partnership between Longford Rugby Club and the Simon Community for three years in the Sin Bin.  It also saw the official launch of the Simon Communities innovative sheltered housing project on Earl Street, which has helped 14 people move out of homelessness.  The scheme has been running for three years but the official launch was delayed by Covid.  However, the delay allowed all the attendees to see the huge positive impact the scheme has had and continues to have.

Like all voluntary organisations the Simon Community and Longford RFC have seen a huge drop in fundraising due to Covid restrictions.  However, the costs continued to accumulate and this led to the innovative fundraising partnership between the two organisations.

The first fund raising event is the ‘annual’ Sleep Out event hosted by Longford RFC, where volunteers commit to spending a night under the stars to try and gain some small understanding of the daily struggle a homeless person endures.  Sleepers are asked to raise as much sponsorship as possible, with all funds raised going to the Simon Community locally and Longford RFC.  The event will take place on Friday December 10th with registration from 9 PM. 

If you would like to participate please contact Noel Greene 087 961 5766 or Gerry Larkin 086 819 5519 for information and sponsorship cards.

Thanks to Shannonside and Kiernan Steel for supporting the event.

Sin Bin

The Sin Bin Event Centre is back open as per Government Guidelines.  Superb food and drink are available across the weekend (Friday to Sunday) and lunch on Wednesday/Thursday.  Phone 087 346 4914 for bookings or email sinbinbookings@outlook.com.  Check out the Sin Bins Facebook page for updates and specials;  www.facebook.com/thesinbinlongford/

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