Longford RFC Senior men’s XV scored a decisive victory on the road over neighbours Mullingar in the PST Sport Midland J1 League Section A on a score of 09-61 last Wednesday. Longford are now two for two in the early season encounters.
Longford had a couple of stinging defeats at the hands of the old rivals last year, so this resounding trouncing of the home side in this early season encounter was a welcome reply.
After a disjointed series of call offs in the pre-season scheduled Longford headed into their first competitive fixture with only the win away to Monivea so far in season.
Fresh in the minds was the loss to Mullingar in the home fixture of two seasons ago when a last minute penalty denied Longford a win. The men in black gained some revenge in the Midland League fixture last year in Edenderry, but this was different. Longford have been promoted back to Division 1B, while the Westmeath men have been relegated from 1B.
The home side got the scoreboard moving when an early penalty hit from halfway with distance to spare from the Mullingar 15, Jonny Butler.
Longford replied with a try straight from the training patch. The well worked team effort was converted to leave it 3-7.
Mullingar came back with two penalties from Butler to take the lead 9-7. It looked like it was going to be a physical contest and so it turned out to be with skipper Barry Stewart having to go off with a late knock to the back.
Longford Flanker Derek Farrell suffered a war wound when he got a pair of studs to the face, but that only spurred him on. The visitors rattled off 54 unanswered points from 9-7 down, 10 minutes of that with 14 men as Paul Gallogly was given a 10 minute breather by the referee.
Micheal Bannon bagged himself a double, thanks to some fancy footwork and the last try before half time came from veteran player/coach Ronan Keith, who finished off a well worked team try out wide.
Neal Farrell, new recruit Kieran O’Gorman, Danny McHugh, Joe McGowan, Alan Campbell and Derek Farrell all dotted down to add to the list of 10 tries, eight converted by Colm Glynn.
One of the outstanding individual tries of the night went to Joe McGowan. Receiving a pass on the halfway line, the winger stepping and angle changes bamboozle the Mullingar defence before crossing the whitewash for a fantastic individual score.
The 54 points on the spin and 9-61 win was a good opening outing in the Midland League, but what really impressed the coaches was the successful defending of the men in black’s tryline.
The full squad on the night got a run with a view to putting out two different teams for the two games in five days.
There is genuine competition for all places and both Longford teams this year will have places up for grabs. Mullingar lost a couple of key players on the night, one in the warm up and the influential Maxwell to a head knock half an hour in.
The result pleased a lot of the old school in the club but everyone involved knows bigger challenges are round the corner. So first game leaves it one for one in the Midland League, with Tullamore to play in five days. Then Edenderry at home next week for a place in the final later in the year.