Longford lost out to third placed Monkstown 27-17 at CPL Park in a big fixture as regards deciding who would challenge Suttonians for league honours.
Despite enjoying dominance especially in the forwards for large periods of the match, Longford lost out by 10 points with the really frustration of all Monkstown tries coming from Longford mistakes.
Both sides started off like they meant business with a lot of early big collisions and carries trying to set down a marker, however Monkstown who struck first via a penalty in front of the posts.
Longford were determined to get back into the game and came at Monkstown but disaster struck on 11 minutes, Monkstown wing Hugh Gowing intercepted a flat Longford pass and ghosted in under the posts for a converted try.
To their credit Longford rolled up their sleeves and went at Monkstown with gusto. This pressure resulted in the Monkstown no.four making a trip to the Sin Bin.
A well worked try from a driving maul after Longford had kicked a penalty into the corner. Barry Stewart gathered the ball with prop Dylan Quinn crossing over at the back of the maul.
Ryan McHugh added the conversion to draw the deficit back to three points; 7-10.
Longford enjoyed some good territory and possession but the last pass or right decision alluded them at crucial times. Ryan McHugh knocked over a penalty on thirty minutes to level the score at ten apiece.
The balance of the match then changed in the run up to half time after Longford second row Benny McManus took a trip to the sin bin.
Monkstown then turned up the pressure, however could not breach the Longford line until Longford spilled the ball just outside their 22.
The ever alert Gowing hacking through, to go in under the posts for another try to bring the half time score to 10-17 in Monkstown’s favour.
Longford dominated the start of the second half built around some powerful scrummaging.
It was from one such scrum that Captain Neal Farrell made a sniping break, alluded the cover to touch down for a try, which was superbly converted from the touchline by Ryan McHugh to draw Longford level for the second time.
At this stage you would have only picked one winner and Longford pressed the away sides line for next ten minutes only to be denied by bad decisions or last ditch Monkstown defending.
It was not to be Longford’s day as another handling error from the home side on their 10 metre line was hacked through by Gowing who went in for his third converted try.
This was further compounded by Monkstown knocking over a penalty to stretch their lead to 10 points with ten minutes to play.
Monkstown closed out the match through a mixture of good defence, kicking and taking the pace out of the game, to leave CPL Park with four precious points to Longford’s none.
The win sees Monkstown move three points ahead of Longford into second place with four matches to play.
Longford: L Brady, H Connolly, D Quinn, A Hughes, B McManus, B Stewart, K O’Gorman, P Gallogly, N Farrell (C), R McHugh, S Farrell, I McCormack, S Rodgers, J McGowan, C Seery, P O’Farrell, D Gilmore, D Farrell, P Dardis & S Flynn.