In the aftermath of the bitterly disappointing defeat against Wicklow in the Leinster Senior Football Championship a few weeks ago, Longford will be hoping to redeem themselves in the All-Ireland Qualifiers.
But Glenn Ryan’s side are suffering from a serious lack of confidence this season and could be hard pressed to end a long losing streak when they take on Limerick in the Round 1 clash at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday evening next, throw-in 7pm. The county senior management team of Ryan, Padraic Davis, John Fay and Pat Cahill are under a lot of pressure to deliver a positive result in a bid to make some progress through the back door but a significant setback is the absence of key defender Michael Quinn.
While Quinn started against Wicklow, he was forced to retire after just 20 minutes with a recurring ankle injury that was initially sustained in the challenge game against Offaly a couple of weeks earlier.
With Quinn ruled out, his place at centre-half-back will almost certainly be filled by fellow Killoe clubman Padraig McCormack and it remains to be seen whether the mentors make the other obvious switch by starting Bernard McElvaney in his natural position at midfield. And particularly so with the towering presence of John Galvin in this crucial sector with the powerful Limerick player back in action after a lengthy injury absence.
Galvin missed most of last season, including the All-Ireland Qualifier Round 2 clash against Longford at Pearse Park which was eventually won by Limerick after extra-time, 1-21 to 1-15, but hopefully revenge can be gained.
Longford will not have to face the Limerick dangerman Ian Ryan (out with a torn ankle ligament) and the visitors could be in a vulnerable state after the crushing 3-17 to 0-8 defeat against Cork in the first round of the Munster Championship.
But Limerick (managed by ex-Mayo footballer Maurice Horan) are clearly a better team than that horrific result would appear to suggest after winning the National League Division 4 title this season.