Can longford make further progress?

Bernard McElvaney on the attack for Longford against Wexford during the 2012 Leinster Senior Football Championship Quarter Final Replay in Tullamore in June 2012. PIC: RAY DONLON
After getting a badly needed boost with the comprehensive eleven points win over Limerick in Round 1 of the All-Ireland Qualifiers, Longford will now confront Wexford in a fairly confident frame of mind.

After getting a badly needed boost with the comprehensive eleven points win over Limerick in Round 1 of the All-Ireland Qualifiers, Longford will now confront Wexford in a fairly confident frame of mind.

With the throw-in time moved to the 7pm prime time slot, a big attendance is expected at Pearse Park on Saturday evening next and the home supporters will be hoping that Glenn Ryan’s side can make further progress through the championship back door.

But with key defender Michael Quinn still out injured, it must be said that Longford will be hard pressed to overcome the difficult challenge of a Wexford side who had a couple of weeks to recover from the shattering blow of losing to Meath.

Under the guidance of new manager Aidan O’Brien, Wexford firmly believed that they were good enough to reach the Leinster Final after passing the stern test of winning in Drogheda against a fancied Louth side who surprised a lot of people by beating Laois by no less than ten points in the previous round.

And when you take into account that Longford failed to get the better of Wicklow at Aughrim in Round 1 of the Leinster Championship then the formbook is suggesting a win for Wexford in the All-Ireland Qualifier next weekend.

With quality forwards in Redmond Barry, Ben Brosnan, Ciaran Lyng and PJ Banville, a powerful midfielder in Daithi Waters and a strong half-back-line in Adrian Flynn, David Murphy and Brian Malone few can argue with the fact that Wexford are still a useful side who must be respected.

But home advantage is a considerable plus for Longford and there was very little separating the counties when they clashed twice in the Leinster Championship last year, a draw at Croke Park with Wexford staging a late comeback to snatch a one-point victory in the quarter-final replay in Tullamore.

Both teams were relegated from Division 2 of the National League this season with Longford losing the league game by a point at Wexford Park but there is a lot more at stake on Saturday.