Longford manager Glenn Ryan is under no illusions about the challenge that Limerick pose in Round 2 of the All-Ireland Qualifiers.
The Shannonsiders travel to Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday next minus the services of a number of key players to take on Longford. The home side would be seen, by many, as favourites but Ryan doesn’t see it that way. “I see this game completely different to the way a lot of people see it,” he told the Leader. “Limerick will see this game as a huge opportunity to put their year back on track. It’s a huge opportunity for them to take what many people would see as a scalp at this stage. We have to make sure that we are 100% right and fully focused.”
Limerick have a good record in the qualifiers in recent years and reached the All-Ireland quarter-final last season. Ryan is well aware of the task that lies ahead for Longford. “This Limerick team would have been in Munster Finals and in an All-Ireland quarter-final (v Kerry) last year. They have a tradition of doing well in the qualifiers so it’s a big test for us.”
It’s a month since Limerick were beaten by Clare in the Munster semi-final and the Longford boss knows that they’ll have used the gap to their advantage and will be going all out to put that defeat behind them. “Limerick have had time to re-group and focus on the task ahead. This has been the target for them after a disappointing defeat to Clare. Limerick have proven that they are a very good championship side,” stated Glenn.
A home game was what Longford had hoped for when the draw was made and Ryan is delighted they got one. He admitted that home advantage only helps if his side can use it in their favour. “It’s nice to get a home game but as I said before the last game it’s important not to take things for granted; just because we are playing in Pearse Park that things are going to work out.”
Saturday will be Longford’s fifth championship game this season and Glenn hopes his players can continue to reproduce the form shown in recent games and advance to the next round. “We have to try and replicate some of the performances that we have produced this year. If we do that we know we can make things difficult for Limerick.”