longford hurlers fail in final

Longford player Tommy Stakem pictured after their defeat to Warwickshire in the Lory Meagher Cup Final on Saturday last at Croke Park. Photo: Ray Donlon
The Longford hurlers headed to Croke Park on Saturday last with high hopes of winning the Lory Meagher Cup for the second time.

The Longford hurlers headed to Croke Park on Saturday last with high hopes of winning the Lory Meagher Cup for the second time.

But it was not to be as they failed in the final against a superior Warwickshire team who were in control for most of the game and eventually ran out easy winners by the wide margin of twelve points, 2-16 to 0-10.

After almost going out of existence last year in their struggle to field in the league and championship, the state of the hurling game in Longford has improved a lot this season under the driving force of manager Frank Browne and there was some reward with the winning of the Division 3B title.

In the build up to the championship final, Wexford native Browne stated that he was confident that Longford would win if the players performed to the best of their ability but this was not the case. Having said that, nothing really went right for the county hurlers with keeper Eanna Daly conceding a couple of very soft goals.

Impressive Warwickshire corner-forward Enda Lyons found the back of the net in the 23rd minute of the first half to leave the Birmingham-based side in a comfortable 1-8 to 0-3 lead but Longford battled back to gradually close the gap and just a goal (1-10 to 0-10) separated the sides in the early stages of the second half.

However, their slim hopes of salvaging the situation were dashed when Karl Murray missed a glorious goal chance in the 50th minute and Warwickshire proceeded to dominate the remainder of the game. The exiles clocked up 1-5 without reply, the goal coming from outstanding centre-half-back Eamon Gleeson in the closing minutes, and the new Lory Meagher Cup champions could afford the luxury of squandering several other scoring chances in the second half on their way to a most emphatic success.

Longford were also guilty of some poor finising in the first half, shooting a total of eight wides which included a couple of frees that Eoin Donnellan would normally have converted, but no excuses can be made as the best team won.