Longford RFC 18 Tullow RFC 18

In rainfall of biblical proportions, Longford got their Leinster League Division 1B campaign off to a decent start sharing the points with Tullow writes Niall Moran.

As is the case in fixtures between these sides, there was a prolonged period of shadow boxing, where both sides worked each other out.

Eventually, it was the home side that got on the scoreboard first, when they converted an early penalty chance to open up a 3-0 lead.

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Ryan McHugh brought the men in black and white back on level terms soon after.

Tullow pushed themselves back in front soon after, but McHugh, from the tee, put the sides back on level terms midway through the half.

Just before half time, the home side got the opening try on the game, when they converted what was a half chance after a Longford error, to hold a 13-6 half time lead.

The exchanges in the second half were no less furious, both sides plying into each. When space did open up young Conor Craig showed great feet, to score a try for the visitors early in the second half.

Tullow upped the ante at this point, and again crossed the whitewash putting some day light between the sides as the game entered the final moments.

The men in black will be disappointed to concede a try from a maul, but the big Carlow side used their size with purpose.

Daniel McHugh and Liam Harte, two of the younger players in the squad, had, at this point, entered the fray.

Both players where starting to impose themselves on the game, when Ian McCormack, after good hands from debutant, Graeme Bester, put Liam Harte away to score with 2 minutes remaining on the clock.

Ryan McHugh again showed great composure to kick the conversion and bring the sides back on level terms.

Longford did have a final chance to win the game at the death but failed to execute. All in all, two points gained against a side that will be in the shakeup at the end of the second, is not a bad return.

Debutants Graeme Bester, Conor Craig and Kolo Kiripati will be happy with their days work, but the group as a whole will feel that if they are to challenge for honours that this was a lost opportunity.

Longford Late XV: Ian McCormack, Ryan McHugh, Shane Rodgers, Graeme Bester, Joe McGowan, Colm Glynn, Neal Farrell, Padraig O’Farrell, Hughbie Connolly, Dylan Quinn, Benny McManus (C), Barry Stewart, Conor Craig, Kieran O’Gorman, Kolo Kiripati

Replacements: Justin Forde, Kevin Rodgers, Andrew Beirne, Daniel McHugh and Liam Harte.