For the first time since Glenn Ryan took over the reigns as Longford manager in late 2008, his side go into the Leinster Championship on the back of a successful league campaign.
Promotion to Division 3 was achieved this year as well as clinching the Division 4 title. Ryan is delighted with the form Longford have been in ahead of their first round clash with Laois on Sunday.
“It is good preparation, there’s no doubt about that. Hopefully it will stand to us on the day. The important thing is that we maintain our level of performance and commitment levels as well as work rate. It’s great to get into a habit of winning. It’s something we haven’t had much experience of in my time here in Longford so hopefully that will help on the day,” he told the Leader.
Winning certainly breeds confidence and Longford travel to Portlaoise with the belief that they can finally get over the first round hurdle.
Ryan said, “There is no doubt about it that there is a new element to the team this season, going into the championship that we didn’t have for the last two years. That can’t be taken away from us. We will have a certain level of confidence that we didn’t have before and hopefully that will stand to us.”
Laois also come into this game on the back of an impressive league campaign after securing promotion to Division 1. They lost out to Donegal in the Division 2 final a few weeks ago but will provide a very stern test for Longford especially on their home patch.
“They have a new manager (Justin McNulty) there and everyone has put in a huge effort to try and impress him. They have a number of lads who are seasoned campaigners and are still relatively young. They have a very strong midfield, the defence are a good unit and potentially they have a very potent forward division. It will be a tough task for us. But, if we play to our ability and strengths I’d like to think we can give Laois a good game,” the Longford boss said.
With nearly a full strength squad to choose from for the game Ryan and his selectors will have a few selection headaches. It is a nice problem for them to have.
He said, “Competition for places is a key factor for any team. It’s good for training to be competitive and as a result of that it means there’s pressure on lads to perform in training. It’s a great element to it. We are going to have a difficult job picking the team to face Laois,” concluded Glenn.