Longford secured a brilliant bonus point 31-24 win over Boyne to keep their quest for a promotion play-off alive in a muddy, wet and very windy CPL Park on Sunday writes Tommy Butler.
To all the world, like the previous weekend where Longford’s match against Boyne fell victim to Storm Ciara, it looked like Storm Dennis would exact the same toll.
However, the main pitch at Longford had other ideas, as despite being largely submerged on Saturday, it managed to pass a 10 am pitch inspection and so we were all go!
Storm Ciara/Dennis did exact a toll however, leaving the going very heavy under foot and a near gale force wind blowing across the pitch.
The first 10 minutes were a case of both sides sounding each other out and trying to find some rhythm in the wind and muck.
However, Longford gradually started turning the screw and secured the first score on 11 minutes when wing Daithi Connolly broke down the wing, was tackled, the ball recycled and carried up and then fed out to Connolly on the wing who went over in the corner for an unconverted try.
Longford continued to pile on the pressure but Boyne gradually came more into the match where conditions made it a lottery at times.
A disastrous two minute period from a Longford point of view saw their five point lead over turned to a five point deficit, 25 minutes in.
Firstly, Boyne were awarded a penalty about 25 metres out after their first real attacking foray close to the Longford 22, which was duly knocked over.
Disaster then struck straight from the kick off where Boyne gathered and moved the ball, danced through the Longford defence and went in straight under the posts for a well-executed score.
Boyne remained in the ascendancy after the try but Longford began to battle back. The home side gradually built pressure and then set up camp on the Boyne line just before half-time.
Longford pummelled the Boyne line and eventually went over for an unconverted try in the left hand corner after the ball was moved wide to Ian McCormack.
This meant that at half time the match was a dead heat at 10-10 but Longford would have the wind advantage in the second half.
The second half started off with the sky growing darker and darker and threatening to return to storm mode, so much so, that the floodlights had to be turned on.
However, Longford settled into the half the better and started to use the wind to their advantage kicking the ball into the Boyne 22.
It was not long until Longford started to take control of the match via a great try from tight head Dylan Quinn who crashed over after good work close in for a converted try.
This was then followed up by a quality bonus point try by Joe McGowan who after the forwards laid a great platform the ball was moved out the right to McGowan who stepped in and cut clean through the Boyne defence to go in under the posts to give Longford a 14 point lead.
To their credit Boyne never gave up and came right back at Longford scoring an unconverted try.
However, Longford were not finished and it was fittingly Captain Benny McManus who crashed over for the home side’s fifth and final try.
Benny and the whole Longford pack certainly stood up on a day where hard carrying was the order of the day.
Boyne tacked on a late try to leave the final score 31-22. Longford have took ten points from their last two games and now move up to second place and into the coveted promotion playoff spot, with two matches to go.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks trying to plan and prep for games and the weather getting in the way” explained Longford Head Coach Glenn Baskett.
“Today we got the five points we were after in really difficult conditions for both teams.
We knew Boyne would look to play wide like they did up there when they really stretched us in the second-half and we had spent a bit of time working on our D for that but they carried direct too today as well as their second man plays and kept asking questions of us.
“For our attack we probably let our game go in on ourselves a bit, with the conditions maybe being in the back of our mind a bit in how we played.”
“Saying that the boys stuck with the plan of not forcing the off load, recycling the ball and going again.”
“We were a little slow getting a second or third guy in around the tackle but the conditions again didn’t help that, it was really sticky out there.”
“Our line-out operated really well, on opposition ball we put pressure in their throw and got a bit of change off that.”
”Any day you score 31 points isn’t too bad, I am disappointed with conceding 22, a few soft scores.
”I want us to be the best defensive team in the comp and we didn’t quite hit it today. But you can’t get any more than 5 points and we did that.”
”Tomorrow we start our engines for Monkstown. It’s a great opportunity this week, and it’s our next job and one we will have to be spot on for”.
“For me turning the graph green is half the job, (the boys know what I mean), it’s finishing the chances off. We will get chances, and we know taking them is the opportunity we want. Every game counts for us.”
Longford: P O’Farrell, H Connolly, D Quinn, Barry Stewart, B McManus (C), B Stewart, K O’Gorman, P Molloy, N Farrell, C Glynn, J McGowan, I McCormack, S Rodgers, D Connolly, R McHugh, L Brady, D Geelan, Andrew Beirne, Aaron Beirne, F McGowan, A Armstrong & S Murphy.