Longford Women run League Leaders close 2020-03-04 11:42:00

01032020 Leinster Women’s League Division 4 New Ross 15 Longford 10

Longford made the long trip to Wexford to face New Ross in a top of the table clash on Sunday.  New Ross were previously unbeaten but Longford were confident that they would put in a good show in Wexford this time.

The first half began with Longford receiving against both the wind and the sun. Some strong carries saw them gain good ground for the first few minutes before being forced into touch. Amanda Sheridan competed well in the line out forcing New Ross to knock the ball on. Unfortunately, possession was won by the home team in the resulting scrum. This allowed for a couple of passes away from a bunched Longford defence to set up an easy try.

After the missed conversion, Leanne Keegan was not long reclaiming the ball and making a great break.  However, lack of support meant the ball was turned over by New Ross, though this success was short-lived as their tear away player ran herself into touch.  Longford then used their line out to work their way back into the opposition half. Hannah Shea's quick reaction to a brief dispossession established a maul which resulted in a penalty in Longford’s favour.  However, a handling error towards the thirty minute mark meant that the visitors were on the defence against a very determined opposition with New Ross eventually worked their way over the line for a second try, backed by a conversion.

A clean catch by Longford to open the second half allowed forwards such as Dora Ledwith and Roisin Shaw to push right up to the 10m line. Great attacking forced New Ross to concede a penalty, which was expertly guided between the posts by Megan Banahan, bringing the score to 12-3.  Spurred on by having points on the board, the Longford Ladies wasted no time in driving each other back into the 5 m zone. Great carries by the forwards, coupled with clear communication with the backs allowed Shauna Cahill to find a gap and place the ball over the line for a well-earned team try. The conversion brought Longford to within two points of the lead.  Poor support play then led to turnover ball and New Ross gaining ground for the first time the second half eventually culminating in a kickable penalty, which was knocked between the posts.  After the restart relentless Longford defence led to a line out which thanks to some clever tactics resulted in a penalty in the away sides favour. Caitriona Farrelly took the opportunity to dart up the wing.  The pressure of this renewed attack forced New Ross to concede several penalties before a scrum was called as the last play. Questionable hooking by the home team saw the ball bounce over the try line where Maria Kelleher was unluckily beaten to the touch down.

The final score of 15-10 is a far cry from the 12-36 defeat the Longford Ladies suffered to the same team in December. It's a testament to how far the team has come in just a few short months. Longford now face Blackrock in a couple of weeks in the last game of the league before facing into a promotion play off on the 22nd of March for a place in Division 3 next season.

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