Footballers give county timely tonic with second Croke Park win in-a-row

There’s quite a feel-good factor running through the streets and byways of Co Longford right now, writes Liam Cosgrove.

There’s quite a feel-good factor running through the streets and byways of Co Longford right now, writes Liam Cosgrove.

Unusually, that sentiment has nothing to do with a sudden or unexpected jobs announcement or even a steadying contentment governing the state of our domestic economic fortunes.

Rather, it has everything to do with the euphoria that greeted the sounding of Conor Lane’s full time whistle at the home of gaelic games last Saturday evening-Croke Park.

So long a graveyard for even the most decorated of GAA heavyweights, those anxieties were firmly put to bed as Longford recorded their second successive NFL promotion in 12 months.

Last year, it was Roscommon to bear the full force of Glenn Ryan’s well-drilled side. This time around, the victims were fellow Leinster counterparts, Wexford.

Full of confidence, and with a seven match unbeaten streak to their name, it was perhaps surprising eagle-eyed bookmakers made the Model County hot favourites to emerge victorious prior to throw-in.

Not that any of those pre-match forecasts appeared to bother the estimated 2,000 strong Longford contingent who lined the windswept Hogan Stand in quiet anticipation.

And judging by the deafening cries of ‘come on Longford’ that followed at half time with the midlanders enjoying a ten-point cushion, you could have been forgiven for surmising more than a few had a healthy wager on last season’s Division Four League champions upsetting the proverbial apple cart.

Not even a spirited second-half Wexford fightback, one which saw Jason Ryan’s side come within two points of restoring parity, threatened to deny Longford a famous victory.

Much of the acclaim undoubtedly went the way of leading marksman Sean McCormack, whose eight-point personal haul effectively proved the difference between the two sides.

But, in what has become a tried and trusted approach of the man tasked with resurrecting Longford’s footballing since his appointment three-and-a-half years ago, Glenn Ryan’s post-match message was as both straightforward and uncomplicated in its delivery.

“We are a small crew, a small county,” said a smiling Ryan afterwards. “We have a small pool of players but we are all pulling together for Longford which is the most important thing.” And so say all of us.