Longford manager Glenn Ryan spoke of his delight after his side recorded their first Leinster Senior Championship win since 2007 and their first over Laois since 1968. And for the Kildare man it was his first provincial victory since he took charge in late 2008.
“I’m delighted for the players; absolutely thrilled for them,” Ryan told the Leader. “They have worked so hard to be in the position they are in now. As a manager of a team I’m delighted that we won but I’m more pleased for them. I’ll be gone but these lads are going to be around for years and hopefully they bring the thing along. It’s up to them to do it and they did it today.”
Trailing by six points at the break Longford showed true character and determination to turn the game around in the second half with Paul Barden’s 40th minute goal proving to be crucial. Ryan admitted that the start his side made to the second half sent them on their way. “We needed to get a good start to second half. We did and that was important. There is no doubt the goal was a turning point. It put us back in contention. It was set-up well and the lads were unselfish in the build-up.”
Longford’s first half performance was poor but they never know when they are beaten. Ryan was confident going in at the break and didn’t rant or rave at his players. He said, “We knew where we were falling down. We weren’t playing the game that we wanted to play. Lucky enough at stages in the second half we got a lot more competitive.”
Longford’s substitutions made a big impact on the game; in particular Padraig McCormack and Paul Kelly who came on at half-time. The Longford boss was full of praise for the performances of those lads in the second half at a time when Longford needed players to step up to the mark. “There is no doubt about it, they made a huge difference. That’s purely down to their hunger and desire to keep going. We have a good bench now and it’s very important.”