Wonderful season for Longford

Who could not but agree that 2013 is indeed a wonderful year so far for Longford Rugby Club. It is without doubt their own “Annus Mirabilis”. To start with Longford RFC have reached the Provincial Towns Cup Final for the first time since the club was reformed in 1967. There will be another historic occasion for the club in July this year when Pat Fitzgerald, representing Longford RFC, will become the next President of the I.R.F.U. He will be the first Junior Club representative ever to hold this office.

Who could not but agree that 2013 is indeed a wonderful year so far for Longford Rugby Club. It is without doubt their own “Annus Mirabilis”. To start with Longford RFC have reached the Provincial Towns Cup Final for the first time since the club was reformed in 1967. There will be another historic occasion for the club in July this year when Pat Fitzgerald, representing Longford RFC, will become the next President of the I.R.F.U. He will be the first Junior Club representative ever to hold this office.

The Provincial Towns Cup is one of the oldest trophies in existence in Irish rugby dating back to 1892. The Cup originally named the Leinster Junior Challenge Cup was then presented for the inception of the Provincial Towns Cup in 1926. Longford RFC are now contesting the 88th final for this great trophy on Sunday next, April 21st at 3.30pm in Edenderry, where they will face formidable opponents in the shape of Tullamore.

Undoubtedly Longford will be faced with their sternest challenge yet and will be viewed by many of the “cognoscenti” as the complete outsiders to lift the cup for the first time against the raging hot favourites and current All-Ireland Junior champions. However, a Cup Final was never won on paper and what better time than now for this outstanding young Longford team to pull off an historic shock win.

Cast as they are as complete underdogs, it will be a great opportunity for them to show their fighting spirit, steely determination and outstanding talent and upset the applecart, thereby giving true meaning to the phrase “the romance of the Cup”. It will be a great day out for all concerned and this present team well deserve their day in the sun.

Longford currently are in Division 1B having narrowly missed out promotion to the top division this season. This great Cup run, though unique in the annals of the current club, is no bolt from the blue. The previous Longford rugby club reached the final once before in 1932.

Longford is truly a grassroots rugby club, or in the modern idiom, is now what is termed a community based club. An unique feature of the current team is that it is largely locally based. The vast majority of the players are from Longford town and county and the remainder are from the surrounding counties. Many members of the current team have come through from the club’s excellent underage and youths coaching structure.

A prime example of this player progression is out half and Head Coach, Colm Glynn. Colm started rugby at under 10s and played right through the age grades for the club. He represented Leinster A Schools and Leinster Youths when in St. Mel’s. While he was completing his studies he also played for U.C.G., U.C.D. And for a grand slam winning Connacht U-21s. He also has experience of playing A.I.L. Division 1 Rugby for both Buccaneers and Galwegians.

The Club in 2009 backing its faith in the young bloods appointed Colm as their youngest ever Head Coach. Since then the team has continued to change and progress steadily each year. Niall Moran joined the coaching team as forwards coach in 2010, having previously coached in Buccaneers and Athy. Together under the guidance of Director of Rugby Damien Curley, this dynamic and energetic trio have overseen a golden period of success for the Club on the playing field. Along the way the Club has either consolidated or promoted its league position each year and also gained its first Leinster League pennant as champions of Divison 2A, won a Midlands League title, reached a Provincial Towns Plate Final last year and this season they have already won the Midlands 7-a-side Loughnane Trophy.

So now let us all get behind this young team and lend our support to them on Sunday next in the final. For all those loyal and long serving supporters of the club, that old adage “what’s rare is wonderful” most certainly rings true. Come on Longford.