Frank Browne working well with
the Longford hurlers who meet
Monaghan on Sunday next

Wexford native Frank Browne, manager of the Longford senior hurling squad.
Longford hurling manager Frank Browne knows Division 3A will be a big step-up for his side (winners of the Division 3B title last season) and will use the 2014 National League campaign - starting with the away game against Monaghan in Clones on Sunday next (2pm) - as preparation for the Lory Meagher Championship.

Longford hurling manager Frank Browne knows Division 3A will be a big step-up for his side (winners of the Division 3B title last season) and will use the 2014 National League campaign - starting with the away game against Monaghan in Clones on Sunday next (2pm) - as preparation for the Lory Meagher Championship.

Speaking to the Leader he said, “We have our eye on June and that’s the ultimate thing for us, reaching the Lory Meagher Cup Final at Croke Park. The league is another step along the way. Having said that, the lads are competitive and will be determined to do well in the league. All games will be tough; there is no doubt about that. But we have earned the right to be there, the preparations have gone well and the players are in really good form.”

Longford’s preparation for the league saw them compete in the Kehoe Cup and then the Kehoe Shield and this is something that pleased their manager. “They were two great competitive games to get in January (Fingal and Queens University). I thought it was important for Longford to play in the pre-season tournament and it’s part of the progress that we were back in the Kehoe Cup/Shield.”

Tommy Stakem and Eanna Daly are the only players from last year that will not be in action for the Longford hurlers this season. But they have been boosted considerably by the return of Gareth Ghee and Paddy Cullen and also have several newcomers in the side including Limerick lad Cathal Mullane. “Cathal is the real deal,” Browne said. “He’s the make and shape of a hurler and has blended in well with the panel. It’s an interesting dynamic within the team now. We have a lot of strong characters and leaders, the likes of Declan Tanner, Conor Egan, Eoin Donnellan, Joe O’Brien and Gareth Ghee who are all very capable operators. I’m delighted for the young lads like Luke Kelly and John Gaffney who are learning so much and that can only do their game good.”

There is no doubt that Wexford native Frank Browne is delighted where hurling in Longford is at. Things have really changed for the better over the past year and he outlined an example of this: “We were out training one morning in Shroid and we had 21 out and one of the lads said ‘the numbers are a bit low today’. That’s what winning matches has done. They are a super group of lads and they want to be involved because things are being done right. Everyone wants to be part of it.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s National League opener against Monaghan, it looks like Longford will be nearly at full strength with Ciaran Finucane and Martin Coyle the only absentees. Manager Browne is looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead for his side both on Sunday and for the rest of the league campaign. “Even though the league will be tough I have a funny feeling a lot of the teams will be thinking that playing newly promoted Longford will be two points for them but I feel we are capable of achieving some positive results. We will be putting out our strongest possible team on Sunday and hoping to start with a win over Monaghan.”

Longford’s 2014 National Hurling League Division 3A Schedule

Sunday February 16th: Away to Monaghan

Sunday February 23rd: Home to Donegal

Sunday March 9th: Home to Fermanagh

Sunday March 16th: Away to Louth

Sunday March 23rd: Away to Roscommon