After making a winning start to the new season with a comfortable six points win over NUI Maynooth at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last, Westmeath and Wicklow are next up for Longford in the group stage of the O’Byrne Cup senior football tournament.
Denis Connerton’s squad were nearly always in control against the students and the highlight of a sound performance was the five cracking points (all from play) that were fired over by Mullinalaghta’s James McGivney, one of a number of players making their return to the county team.
But Longford are now facing a much tougher task against neighbouring rivals Westmeath at the St Loman’s GFC grounds this Wednesday night (throw-in 7.30pm) with the local derby switched from Tubberclair, the original venue for the O’Byrne Cup Round 2 game.
Although they were without a number of regulars from the team that started in the 2015 Leinster Senior Football Championship final against Dublin, most notably John Heslin and Kieran Martin, Westmeath fielded strong enough in the hard earned 1-14 to 0-13 win over Wicklow in Bray last Sunday .
Powered by Paul Sharry at midfield and with impressive displays also from forwards John Connellan (1-6) and Shane Dempsey (0-4), the visitors came out on top with corner-forward Connellan scoring the decisive only goal in the 50th minute.
Other regulars Ger Egan and James Dolan were also in action for Westmeath who will be hoping to make the most of home advantage for the clash against Longford.
Both counties will be anxious to lay down a marker before they meet again in the final round of the National League Division 3 at Pearse Park on Sunday April 3rd.
A place in the O’Byrne Cup semi-finals is at stake this Wednesday night and whoever wins in Mullingar will almost certainly progress to the penultimate stage of the worthwhile ‘warm up’ tournament as the preparations continue for the lot more serious fixtures ahead.
Longford’s remaining game in Group D of the O’Byrne Cup is against Wicklow at Pearse Park on Sunday next (throw-in 2pm) and some other members of the present panel will probably feature in this fixture, depending on the result against Westmeath.
The County U-21 squad were also victorious last weekend as they cruised to a comprehensive 2-13 to 0-5 win over Wicklow at Keenan Park, Ardagh.
Frank McNamee's charges are back in action in the Hastings Cup tournament on Saturday next against Leitrim at Pairc Sean MacDiarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon, throw-in 2pm. Venue to be confirmed depending on the weather.