Longford RFC 15 Carlow 10

Longford maintained their unbeaten Leinster League start with a hard fought victory against Carlow side in CPL Park on Sunday writes Tommy Butler.

The men in black had to dig deep especially in the closing quarter as two yellow cards led to Longford playing with 14-men for a large part of the second-half.

“That was a game that we should have won a little bit more comfortably considering the possession we seemed to have early on” explained Longford head coach Glenn Baskett.

“The longer Carlow stayed in the game the bigger they got, and their belief grew. But I thought our white line defence was outstanding” added Baskett.

”We won a couple of crucial turnovers when we were really under the pump. But saying that I think if we had conceded at the end we would feel pretty disappointed going by how we played early on.”

Longford got into their stride early mixing carries by the forwards and enterprising play out the backs.

Colm Glynn secured a line break and penetrated the Carlow 22, after a few carries it was spun out to wing where Joe McGowan touched down in the corner giving Longford a 5-0 lead after eight minutes.

Longford failed to consolidate the lead, Carlow wing possession from the kick off and worked their way down the pitch, with Conal Slater eventually crashing over for a converted try putting Carlow ahead.

This was Carlow’s first incursion into the Longford 22 and the home side will probably have felt that they could have done more in defence.

However, Longford did not drop the heads and kept coming at Carlow. Longford put four or five very promising passages together and impressive breaks from scrum-half Neal Farrell along with some great forward carries.

Eventually, the good work was rewarded via a Ryan McHugh penalty giving Longford an 8-7 half-time lead.

After the break No. 8 Kolo Kiripati came to the fore, making substantial yardage on a number of occasions.

It was from one of this carries that Longford eventually scored. Kiripati made a great line break up the middle and nearly put following flanker Packie Molloy away.

However, the ball was taken into contact and then worked out to the right and back into the centre where Captain Benny McManus went over for a great converted team try to give Longford a 15-8 lead with 30 minutes remaining.

Longford put themselves under a lot of pressure by conceding two yellow cards, which meant they had to play 20 minutes of the last 30 with 14 men.

Carlow threw the kitchen sink at Longford, whether trying to power through Longford or kicking to the corner. The Longford defence worked well throughout with a great hunger and scramble very evident.

Carlow knocked over a penalty mid-way through the second half to narrow Longford’s lead to five points.

Longford really dug in for the last five minutes when down to 14 players and despite Carlow pummelling the Longford line, they eventually turned the ball over and cleared their lines to hold on for an important win.

Longford Squad: L Brady, H Connolly, D Quinn, B McManus, A Beirne, B Stewart, K O’Gorman, K Kiripati, N Farrell, D McHugh, S Rogers, C Glynn, G Bester, J McGowan, R McHugh, P O’Farrell, C Craig, P Molloy, F Davis, W Nyman