Longford got one over on table toppers Cill Dara in fine style when the Kildare team paid a visit to CPL Park for the first round of the Provincial Towns Seconds Cup on Sunday.
The home side ran out convincing winners on a full time score line of 25-0. Longford’s five try victory, while holding the visitors scoreless, was a fine mark of the progress this team has been making all year. Although they may have dropped points in the course of the season, they have always showed they were a quality outfit and this game compounded that assumption.
Although a bit tacky underfoot, the heavy going did little to stifle the home teams desire to run the ball whenever the opportunity presented itself, and present itself it did thanks to fine line breaks by Kevin Rodgers, Niall Flynn, Justin Forde and Eamonn Keenan.
Early carries from Aaron Beirne and John Geelan set the visitors straight about what sort of a test that was in store. Longford’s early go forward ball saw them pass the gain line time and again, but the Kildare side had a solid defence and the odd handling error halted some of the progress.
It was a break by Beirne that got finally established the platform for the first Longford’s first score. With 27 minutes elapsed Geelan crossed in the corner to start the ball rolling 05-00. Looking to build on this outhalf Eoin Bartley put in a sweet chip chase shortly after the restart, but Cill Dara managed to muster a response just in time.
Prop Kevin Rodgers was given a bit of a break from his contribution, the ref handed him a yellow hall pass, having previously issued a warning for Longford indiscipline. The resultant penalty was missed by the Cill Dara kicker and five minutes later the ref called the break.
Right from the start of the second Longford started to inflict damage on the opponents. Fullback Danny Casey added another five by finishing off a move that started the other side of the pitch, which saw some wonderful passing like Beirne’s final deft flick to his teammate.
A gain line breaks by Forde unsettled the defenders, Bartley put in a chip through and Casey got his second, his side’s third and left the tally at 15-00. Outfield work by Alan Campbell, Niall Flynn and David Geelan stifled any attempts of the visitors to clay their way back into the game.
The advantage was further pressed with a maul that saw Kevin Rodgers cap his awesome outfield contribution with a try. The 20-00 outlook got worse for the Kildare team when the visiting 8 got the yellow for a high tackle.
Another wonderful back line move got the final try. Built on the work of sub Liam Brady, who was playing like a man possessed, Longford pressed into the Cill Dara half. The axis of Bartley, Casey and Lorcan Connolly saw the winger ground to leave it 25-00.
Though keeping the opposition scoreless may suggest otherwise Longford’s win cam as a result of a lot of hard work. Philip Dardis and Sean Smyth at two and nine respectively made sure that the tempo was high and backs Domhnall Flynn and JJ Cox also made a big impact on the game.
Kevin Rodgers, Philip Dardis, Justin Ford, Niall Flynn, David Geelan, Aaron Beirne, John Geelan, Alan Campbell, Sean Smyth, Eoin Bartley, Lorcan Connolly, Eamon Kinahan, Domhnall Flynn, JJ Cox, Daniel Casey
Liam Brady, Shane McVeigh, James Geelan, Karl Murray, Mick Cullen