Longford 1st XV narrowly lose out away to Portarlington 2016-09-26 11:31:00

Leinster League Division 2A Portarlington 13 Longford 11 260916

Longford RFC had a rather inauspicious start to their Leinster League Division 2A campaign last Sunday the journey to Portarlington for the first outing in their new division resulted in a narrow defeat.  The trip to Lea Road has never been an easy one for Longford teams,
but on this occasion a little more sharpness could have seen the team return home with a few more points in the bag.  Longford gave a good account of themselves in early season contests, but the defensive cuteness and swift line speed that has been a mark of their play abandoned them in Laois.
The clash with the maroon and white got off to a thundering start with the home side showing Longford exactly what it means to them to be playing at home.  In the opening ten minutes it was all in for Port’ and the visitors did well to contain the onslaught. The early exchanges were typified by two packs squaring up to each other in an effort to set the tone.  A significant downpour just before the start of the game made the playing surface and ball slick, but this did not inhibit either team’s efforts to play wide ball. Longford came to grips with the game and started to assert themselves from minute 20 on.  Runs by Cillian Bartley and Shane Rodgers from the back line tested the opposition.  The fruits of such attack ripened when Eoin Bartley crossed the line out wide, notching up his first five pointer in a senior jersey. Outhalf Joe McGowan was unable to add the extras at the time, but a penalty 35 metres out ten minutes later set the score to 00-08 where it stayed to the break.  Portarlington started the second half as they had the first, only this time the intencity of the attack saw them cross the Longford line.
The conversion was swiftly added to with a penalty and the home side slid in front 10-08.  Longford pressed the Laois men into their own half and that pressure resulted on another kickable penalty which McGowan slotted over to put his side back in front 10-11.
Although the visitors dominated the game for most of the rest of the game Port’ were the next to secure points.  A penalty in the Longford red zone put them ahead 13-11.  The men in black heaped the pressure on their opponents and although Longford had three penalties in the final 10 minutes they were unable to get the scores on the board. There were some great performances from Longford notably Neal Farrell, the afore mentioned Rodgers and Bartley, Benny McManus, Paul Gallogly and Barry Stewart all putting in star turns.
This was an unhappy start to the season, but not a catastrophic one. Longford will be looking to make some minor adjustments in order to set the record straight for the visit by Railway Union next weekend.

Longford Squad; M Bannon, H Connolly, J Forde, A Hughes, B McManus, B Stewart, D Farrell (C), P Gallogly, N Farrell, J McGowan, K Bartley, C Hughes, S Rogers, E Bartley, G McDermott, D Quinn, F McGowan, P Donnelly, P Kirk & J Geelan

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