Longford Senior Men’s J1 XV are back on the winning trail after an emphatic 43-18 bonus point win versus Cill Dara in CPL Park on Sunday.
In total Longford ran in seven tries and were unlucky not to tack on a few more, however, midway through the first half such a bonus point win looked unlikely, as Cill Dara led the way 7-10.
Longford laid the foundations for the victory with devasting starts to both halves. First of all, 210 seconds into the match, Graeme Bester crossed for Longford’s first try of the match after a great break from the back line.
However, if Longford thought they were in for an easy afternoon, they were very much mistaken, as Cill Dara came back into the match strongly and made the first half into a very even contest.
A lot of the pressure that Cill Dara exerted in the first half can be traced back to Longford mistakes.
One such mistake where was after a Cill Dara attempt on goal, Longford knocked on behind their own try line to gift Cill Dara a five metre scrum, which eventually resulted in Cill Dara crossing for a converted try to level up the scores.
Cill Dara’s next score was again from a Longford mistake given away at the break down and then put through the posts to leave Longford trailing by three points 7-10 after twenty minutes of play.
Longford finally seemed to swing into action at this stage with passes starting to stick and the men in black/white making ground when carrying into traffic.
Firstly, after a great move where Graeme Bester timed his pass perfectly to the onrushing Full Back Ian McCormack, he cut through.
It looked to everyone like he would score Longford’s second try only to be held up on the line. However, Longford were not to be denied, with the aforementioned Bester crossing for his and Longford’s second try under the posts.
The try was the result of great interplay between Longford’s backs and forwards, which proved to be the feature that proved the difference between the two sides.
Cill Dara did not take the Longford try well and came back at Longford strongly, knocking another penalty between the sticks.
Longford weathered the storm and were next to cross the whitewash via another brilliant try scored by Flanker Conor Craig, leaving the half time score 19-13 in the home sides favour.
The first half was frantic with both teams trying to play at top speed. Cill Dara’s strength lay in their forwards carrying hard and making the breakdown a lottery.
It looked like if Longford could play with a small bit more composure that they could nullify Cill Dara in the forwards and use hands to stretch them in the hunt for more scores.
Indeed, this is what Longford did and in devastating fashion, taking the match away from Cill Dara in the opening minutes of the second half.
First of all, Longford earned a penalty straight from the kick off after great work on the floor from Hubie Connolly, which Ryan McHugh duly knocked over.
From the next phase of play Longford struck again for their bonus point try starting with a great Colm Glynn break down the tramline.
Glynn offloaded to Shane Rodgers who could have went for the line himself but made sure by giving a pass to his right to Joe McGowan to put him away under the posts leaving the score 29-13 five minutes into the second half.
Longford continued in the ascendancy and missed a shot at goal. However, they did not let Cill Dara off the hook.
Longford were unlucky to be denied close to the Cill Dara line with a foot in touch.
They then applied pressure to the Cill Dara throw, which went over the top and was picked off by Hubie Connolly, who crashed over for Longford’s fifth try and one of the easiest tries he is very likely to score!
Cill Dara then answered back with a try of their own.
It proved to be their final consolation as the men in black/white finished the game with a flourish with two more tries to round off a resound 43-18 bonus point win.
It was a great performance and a great response to Longford’s first loss of the season two weeks ago in Monkstown.
Longford Squad: P O’Farrell, H Connolly, D Quinn, B McManus, F Davis, B Stewart, C Craig, K O’Gorman, N Farrell, D McHugh, S Rodgers, R McHugh, G Bester, J McGowan, I McCormack, J Forde, C Glynn, S Murphy, A Beirne, J Geelan.