Longford J1s got their season off to a good start with a hard fought 23-9 victory over neighbours Mullingar at CPL Park in the Midland League writes Tommy Butler.
Longford have held the Midland League Title for the last two years and are aiming make it three in-a-row this year ahead of the Leinster league opener away to Tullow on September 22nd.
It was Mullingar who drew first blood with a penalty after seven minutes. Longford came strongly into the game at this point but match rustiness was evident with the final pass going astray on several occasions.
There were also a few kinks evident at lineout time before Ryan McHugh brought the scores level on 25 minutes with a penalty.
However, Mullingar struck twice before half time with two penalties to go into the half time break with a six point lead 9-3.
Longford played far better in the second half and gradually ratcheted up the pressure on Mullingar who were feeling the big effort that fuelled their first half performance.
Longford struck first with a try by the evergreen Colm Glynn who had already ran 10k in the Longford Marathon this morning.
Unfortunately, the conversion was missed but Longford now only lay a point behind Mullingar 8-9. The next twenty minutes produced little return for a period in which Longford will largely dominant.
An encouraging feature of this period was the power of Longford’s scrum which earned them a couple of penalties. Longford’s scrum was also a big weapon in their armoury last year.
The next score was on the 30th minute via Ryan McHugh penalty to give Longford the lead for the first time.
Longford sealed the win with two late tries from Liam Harte and Joe McGowan to earn a 23 to 9 victory.
Overall it was a great start to the season with lots of new combinations and patterns tested and some new player debuts.
The pick of the forwards on the day were Captain Barry Stewart and debutant flanker Conor Craig who was making his first senior start.
Colm Glynn and Liam Harte stood out in the backs, in what was overall a great performance by the squad.
So, it is onwards and upwards to our next Midland League match versus Edenderry in CPL Park next Sunday at 3pm.
Longford Squad: P O’Farrell, P Dardis, D Quinn, F Davis, B Stewart, C Craig, H Connolly, K O’Gorman, N Farrell, C Glynn, J McGowan, R McHugh, L Harte, S McGuinness, L Connolly, P Kirk, L Brady, A Beirne, S Murphy, A Beirne, R McCormack, B Hanley, P Kenny, J Forde, F McGowan, E McGowan & J Finnegan.