Longford Rugby Club past and present stars shine

Sports Reporter

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Colm Glynn receiving the Derek Belton Trophy from Longford RFC President Tony Headon as winning captain in the Derek Belton v Derek Bannon Memorial Game. Photo: Gary Nolan
Derek Belton XV v Derek Bannon XV Memorial Match at CPL Park: Derek Bannon XV 35 Derek Belton XV 30 A number of marquee names from Longford RFC’s illustrious past took to the pitch in the Demesne on Saturday week last for an eagerly awaited contest between the Derek Belton XV and the Derek Bannon XV in the memorial match.

Derek Belton XV v Derek Bannon XV Memorial Match at CPL Park: Derek Bannon XV 35 Derek Belton XV 30

A number of marquee names from Longford RFC’s illustrious past took to the pitch in the Demesne on Saturday week last for an eagerly awaited contest between the Derek Belton XV and the Derek Bannon XV in the memorial match.

The weeks of intensive training in preparation for this clash betweens these Titans of Longford rugby elite were very much on display as the Derek Bannon team put in two late tries to claim the title on a score of 30-35.

The Derek Bannon side, under the stewardship of Colm Glynn, used power and persistence to give a great platform for a backline. The erratic wind made kicking tough, with just two successful kicks on the night, but the Derek Belton scrumhalf and outhalf pair of Trevor McHugh and Gordon Smith showed class in their game management.

The first try came as a result of a great line break by Eamon Kinahan of the Derek Bannon team. The centre then set up a drive that was finished on the outside by Shane Rodgers. Captain Gavin Belton rallied his troops and a play that commenced in the midfield was grounded by the captain to level matters for the Derek Belton XV.

Tries from Mervyn Johnston and Lorcan Connolly traded the lead before the break. The game continued at a blistering pace in the second half. Midfield movement by Mark Quinn and Benny McManus constantly put the Banno side under pressure, but the efforts of Dan Sweeney and Tommy Butler kept matters in check.

A rampaging try from Mick Murphy in which he executed three successive fends before being taken down just metres from the line earned him the Man of the Match accolade. The flanker popped up two phases later to finish off the move he had started himself.

As the game wound down scores from Benny McMahon, Jimmy Connolly, and John Mahon all made this a spectator’s joy. The final score came just as the Derek Belton side were struggling for the equaliser in the final minutes. An intercept by Barry O’Connor saw the second row burn all the opposition before crossing the whitewash to finish matters at 35-30.

A big thank to all the staff at Sin Bin Event Centre, who catered for all the players after the game and of course to the Belton family.

DEREK BANNON XV: Michael Connellan, Ciaran Connolly, Declan Smith, Mervyn Johnston, Barry O’Connor, Tommy Butler, Dan Sweeney, Shane Rodgers, Jimmy Connolly, Eamon Kinahan, Sean Smith, John Mahon, Ian Carroll.

DEREK BELTON XV: Justin Forde, Kevin Rodgers, Brian Dillon, Mark Quinn, Benny McManus, Huby Connolly, Gavin Belton, Trevor McHugh, Gordon Smith, Sammy Champ, Mark Farrell, Johnny Killane, Lorcan Connolly.

Successful awards presentation night

Longford Rugby Football Club hosted their annual player awards for the 2014/15 season at the Sin Bin Event Centre at CPL Park at the Demesne last Friday night week. The event was an opportunity for all Club members to get together for an end of season celebration of the success of the year.

The night started with an address from Club President Tony Headon. Tony welcomed all those in attendance and provided an overview of the Club’s progress in the past year. The Chairman spoke of the loss suffered by the club in the last 12 months when individuals who had made a tremendous contribution to the club past away.

Tony said that the death of Denis Madigan, Hugh Connolly, Mel Diffley, Terry McCormack and the passing on the night of Niall Enright had a significant impact on the club. He said that the contribution of those individuals had made Longford RFC the club it was today.

The first players to receive their awards were from the Senior ladies section. The most Improved Player of the Year went to Emma Mulvey; the Players Player award went to Mairead Coy and the Player of the Year accolade went to Cli O’Donnell.

The Senior Men’s Most Improved Player went to Kevin Rodgers; the Players Player of the Year went to Huby Connolly and the Player of the Year award was won by Benny McManus.

The 2014/2015 Club Person of the Year award went to Hillary Davis for her contribution to the club.