Great performance earns Longford place in playoff 2016-03-08 16:02:00

Leinster League Division 1B Cill Dara 20 Longford 40

Longford Senior Men’s 1st XV put in a sterling performance at Silken Thomas Park in the Curragh to overcome Cill Dara on a score of 20-40 and consign the Kildare men to automatic Division 2A rugby next year.

For Longford the journey continues with this win offering them the lifeline of a play off with Railway Union next week at Coolavacoose, Carbury the home ground of Edenderry RFC.

Later last year Cill Dara provided Longford with the first win of the season when they won 20-00 at CPL Park last November, so the journey to the Curragh was filled with expectation.  The men in black rewarded that expectation with a fine performance that followed on from the spectacularly entertaining game against Mullingar the previous week.

This was in essence a “cup final decider” to allow them a shot at another cup final decider to ensure survival in Division 1B.  If there was a graph of the last three games then Longford will be happy with the way it is being plotted and will hope that the curve continues upward when they meet Railway Union in Edenderry next Sunday.

The travelling team took a lot of the tension out of the season finale Leinster League Division 1B game by securing a four try bonus point just before half time, making the second 40 a little less anxious.

Longford revelled in the fact that this was a winner takes encounter and showed off the talents that had only sporadically appeared over the course of the season.  On Sunday the forwards providing quick ruck ball and when it came out to the backs through the axis of Neil Farrell and Colm Glynn it was used to devastating effect.

With five minutes on the clock the visitors were awarded the first penalty on the 22.  Glynn kicked for the line to show exactly what their intentions where.  Captain Clifford Richardson picked Huby Connolly’s pin point accurate dart to set up a drive that was finished when Alistair McCormack touched down.  Glynn clipped over the conversion from out wide leaving it 00-07.

Play commenced in the Longford 22 with some recriminations for the concession of a soft penalty that Cill Dara kicker Jack Ryan turned into points on the board 03-07.  The away team played rampaging 15 man rugby with the centre pairing of Shane Rodgers and Kurt Beeney inflicting damage as the play passed through the phases.

Benny McManus secured try two for Longford in the 12th minute before Alistair McCormack’s augmented the plaudits he was receiving for his outfield work by crossing the whitewash in the 21st minute.  Glynn’s conversion in each instance left it 03-21.

Right from the restart Longford were hungry to push further ahead.  The ploy of running odd angles paid further dividends when James Connolly carved through the Cill Dara defence in the 29th minute. The upright interrupted Glynn’s unerring record.    In the 33rd minute the jig was up for the Kildare men as Kurt Beeney scored the fourth try and officially consigned them to Division 2A.  The afters brought it to 03-33.

That score may have suggested that Longford were home and hosed, but the Kildare men put in a stout second half performance to ensure their guests worked the full 80 for the win.

In the opening 20 minutes of the second half they clawed back two tries from Darragh Kennedy and Peter O’Neill to bring it to 15-33.  The attack was relentless, but the defence by Longford was admirable.

Then a superbly anticipated play by Glynn set Shane Rodgers on his way.  The centre rewarded his outhalf by grounding under the posts.  The kicker set the tally at 15-40.

Cill Dara pegged it back somewhat when second row Colm McGrory went over, but the final score rested at 20-40 after Ryan’s conversion strayed wide.

This was a tremendous team effort, but to single out the input of McCormack and Richardson and the front row trivium of Dylan Quinn, Justin Ford and Huby Connolly would not dilute that fact.

Next on the agenda is to maintain the momentum when they take on Railway Union in Edenderry at 03:00 pm next Sunday.

Dylan Quinn, Hubie , Justin Forde, Fergal Mc, Benny McManus, Clifford Richardson, Alistair McCormack, Derek Farrell, Neil Farrell, Colm Glynn, James Connolly, Kurt Beeney, Shane Rodgers, Joe McGowan, George McDermott

Aaron Beirne, Darragh Connolly, John Duffy, Daniel Sweeney, Peter Kirk

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