Longford are going really well in Division 4 of the National Football League and are on the brink of promotion after beating Fermanagh and drawing with both Roscommon and Wicklow in the most difficult fixtures.
Glenn Ryan’s side are away to Clare on Sunday next and while the players will be in a confident frame of mind in the quest to collect two more vital league points, they could be hard pressed to extend their unbeaten run in Ennis where Roscommon scored a slender 0-16 to 1-10 win last weekend.
Clare are a physically strong team who beat Longford at Pearse Park in the National League last season and look set to provide another stern test for the midlanders. With home advantage, the banner county will believe they can emerge victorious and a couple of their key players are midfielder Gary Brennan and forward David Tubridy.
But Longford showed great character in battling back to share the spoils against Wicklow at Aughrim in the previous round (five points down at one stage) and also produced strong second half displays against Roscommon and Fermanagh.
Hopefully, that consistent trend will continue against Clare and another win on Sunday will be a major promotion boost for Longford with home games to come against Leitrim (April 3rd) and Carlow (April 10th).
Full points from the remaining three league fixtures will guarantee the county a return to Division 3 next season and also a place in the 2011 Division 4 Final at Croke Park on Saturday April 23rd.
County U-21s in action against Westmeath
A very important few days for Longford football starts in Pairc Tailteann, Navan this Wednesday night with the County U-21 footballers in action against neighbouring rivals Westmeath in the Leinster Championship semi-final, throw-in 7.45pm.
At the same venue a couple of weeks ago, Longford scored a massive win over a strongly fancied Meath team who had knocked out the reigning provincial and All-Ireland champions Dublin in the first round of the midweek floodlit competition.
But it will take another supreme effort by the Padraic Davis managed side to reach the title decider against Wexford or Carlow at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise on Wednesday April 6th as the strong Westmeath outfit are backboned by at least ten members of the team that lost out to Dublin in last year’s Leinster U-21 Final.
Before a ball was kicked in the current competition Westmeath were expected to make a big impact and were impressive in beating Laois by ten points in the opening round and had six points to spare over Offaly in the quarter-final.
The suspended John Heslin missed both those games but the highly talented midfielder will be back for the eagerly awaited local derby and while Longford are again cast in the role of the underdogs they will make a bold bid to spring another surprise.