Leinster League Division 1B: North Kildare 21 Longford 18 2016-01-15 09:16:00

If you were looking for a contest to tell the story of Longford’s season in 80 minutes then Sunday’s trip to The Maws, Kilcock would be a good starting point.

On the face of it the basement club battling a team six spots above would only have one outcome, but Longford confounded the stats and it took two late game penalties for North Kildare to secure the tie on a score of 21-18.

This was a significant improvement on the last encounter when the Kildare men ran up 45 points to Longford’s 17.  The thrilling rugby contest saw the sides scoring three tries apiece and kept the crowd riveted to the final whistle.

An illustration of the heart displayed by Longford was their performance when reduced to 13 men.  In that time they conceded five points, containing the efforts of the home team.

Right from the off the teams were playing engaging rugby.  Although the ground was a little sticky it stayed dry throughout the game. This aided scrumhalf Shane Rodgers to consistently delivered concise ball to Colm Glynn who gave a master class at 10. 

Longford started the scoring seven minutes in.  Lock Fergal McGlade finished a move after the ball had passed through the hands of most of his team mates.   Four minutes later Aaron Beirne doubled the lead to 00-10 grounding a play that commenced with a lineout steal by Clifford Richardson. 

North Kildare then started to click.  The home pack set up a rolling maul, then trundled over the Longford line.  With the clock just pasted the 13 minutes mark the scoreboard read 05-10.

Both teams settled into a routine of probe with pack and attack with backs.  Longford’s Kieran Kennedy made his presence felt at first centre and was making the most of the tempo dictated by Glynn.  The outhalf tacked a three pointer to his side’s tally to leave it 05-13 just before the half hour mark.

When the Kildare men held possession Longford showed their defensive steel.  Eight minutes to the sus Fergal McGlade was given an early break by the ref for bring down a rolling maul.  Two minutes later the ref took exception to an interjection by Glynn and sent him to the bold boys step.

Testament to the resolve of Longford they continued to hold the opponents in check, however as the 40 elapsed the Kildare men made the two man advantage count by crossing out wide.  This left the half time score 10-13.

Much of the start of the second period saw Longford defending in their half, but by the hour mark the toll on stretched defence was showing.   A try by the North Kildare winger put his side in pole for the first time in the game 15-13.

Longford then nudged ahead with a tremendous try.  Huby Connolly and George McDermott made cameos in a manoeuvre before a grubber to the corner was grounded by Joe McGowan.

Back in the lead 15-18 Longford were pummelled by North Kildare.  In the final fifteen minutes of the game the home team’s outhalf, Jack Bruton, clipped over two penalties to put his side in front 21-18.

This was not the end of the drama. The final whistle arrived following an incident that Longford supporters felt worthy of one last pop at the posts, but the official was not of the same opinion.

This losing bonus point gets Longford into double digits, just one point behind Cill Dara.  North Kildare, for their part, continues to enjoy second place, two points behind league leaders Mallahide.

If Longford can continue to put in performances like this in their remaining matches against Coolmine, Tullow and Mullingar then the final shoot out with Cill Dara could have the makings of a very significant match.

Next Sunday’s home clash with Coolmine will be a benchmark game and every voice from the sideline will be significant.

Dylan Quinn, Huby Connolly, Justin Ford, Fergal McGlade, Aaron Beirne, Clifford Richardson, Alistair McCormack, Derek Farrell, Shane Rodgers, Colm Glynn, Jonathan Beirne, Ciaran Kennedy, James Connolly, Joe McGowan, George McDermott

Liam Brady, Eoin McGowan, Niall Flynn, Ronan Keith & Neil Farrell.

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