In Division Four of the Allianz National Football League on Sunday, Longford will host familiar foes Offaly at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park with the game throwing-in at 2pm.
The sides have become very familiar with each other in recent years as they have met eight times in both the league and also in the Leinster Championship in the last four years.
Last year, Offaly won both matches against Longford with victory over the Blue and Gold on the opening day of last year’s division three campaign in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, while the Faithful County also won the Leinster Championship clash in Tullamore with eight points to spare.
The two teams have already met this year in an O’Byrne Cup encounter in Newtowncashel with Denis Connerton’s charges coming out on top by an eight point margin. However, Offaly manager Pat Flanagan fielded a very understrength team in that earlier clash, and the Offaly team that will take the field on Sunday will be much stronger and will include the Rhode contingent.
Longford will welcome several players back into the league squad that did not feature in last year’s campaign with the return of Emmet Og Killoe’s McCormack brothers, Sean and Padraig, and John Keegan from the county champions, Saint Columba’s. The return of those key players is diluted by the absence of other key players. Mickey Quinn, Michael Brady and Brian Kavanagh are all out due to injury, and so too is Mark Hughes, while Darren Gallagher is also ruled out of the fixture through suspension.
Armagh and Laois are favoured for promotion from division three, but if Longford can win their opening two games at home to Offaly on Sunday, and away to Louth the following Sunday, then promotion will be a realistic prospect.
The memories of last year’s qualifier victories away to Down in Newry and Monaghan in Clones demonstrate that this Longford team are capable of earning promotion to Division Two, but a win on Sunday is a must if promotion is to be achieved at the end of the campaign.
John Lynch has been speaking to Denis Connerton ahead of the game against the Fatithful County