Longford stuck in the drop zone

Longford forward Brian Farrell has the ball firmly in his grasp in this tussle with Limerick's Eoin Hanrahan during last Sunday's National Football League Division 3 encounter. Photo: Declan Gilmore
After losing all seven fixtures in Division 2 last season, Longford continue to be stuck in the National Football League drop zone and are in real danger of suffering consecutive relegations following the latest setback against Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday last.

After losing all seven fixtures in Division 2 last season, Longford continue to be stuck in the National Football League drop zone and are in real danger of suffering consecutive relegations following the latest setback against Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday last.

Also beaten by Roscommon in the current league campaign, it is a bad start for new county manager Jack Sheedy but his cause has certainly not been helped by the absence of some key players, particularly Paul Barden and Brian Kavanagh.

Two games are now lost in Division 3 and the pressure is piling on pointless Longford who must surely beat Fermanagh in the Round 3 fixture at Pearse Park on Sunday March 2nd to revitalise their hopes of avoiding the disaster of playing in the dreaded Division 4 next season.

With many regulars missing, Sheedy is availing of the opportunity to introduce a number of newcomers in what has developed into a transition period for the senior squad but costly mistakes were made in the setbacks against Roscommon and Limerick when positive results could have been achieved.

Hopefully, most of the problems will be sorted out during the three-week break in the National League and it will be a big boost for all concerned if Brian Kavanagh (recovering from a hamstring injury) is fit to return for the massive match against Fermanagh.

Only scores difference is keeping Longford above the also pointless Offaly at the bottom of the Division 3 table.

And how ironic it would be if both counties ended up getting relegated, considering that they clash in the first round of the Leinster Senior Football Championship at Pearse Park on Sunday May 18th.

Make no mistake about it, Jack Sheedy is facing a tough task to lift the morale of the players in his efforts to stop the slide and some Longford supporters are already getting restless, even at this early stage of the season.

Whether the county are capable of getting out of trouble remains to be seen but this slump has been happening for some time and reached crisis point with the unexpected defeat against Wicklow in the opening round of last year’s Leinster Championship.

Longford have failed to win a game in the National Football League since that terrific success against Wexford in the Division 3 title decider in Croke Park at the end of April 2012, going on to suffer a total of nine league defeats on the trot, and badly need a victory against Fermanagh on the first Sunday in March 2014.