Longford let victory slip again as Clondalkin stage late comeback

Longford compounded their poor run of form by suffering a second injury time loss in two weeks. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is a disease that appears to have infected this team. Longford have slumped to five defeats in a row leaving themselves second from bottom, only above Carlow.

Going into this game at CPL Park on Sunday last, Dublin opponents Clondalkin were just ahead of Longford in the table on 13 points with Longford on 11. Longford lost out following a poor final quarter that saw the visitors score 13 points to steal the game.

Longford’s first score came ten minutes in when a ruck infringement was spotted by the ref, with the official’s arm raised out half Colm Glynn took a pop at the posts, the effort went just inches wide, but when the penalty was given about 30 metres out and to the left the aim was true.

The pressure continued and a poorly executed one arm tackle by a Clondalkin gave another drop-kick opportunity. Again the ref brought it back for the penalty and even though the weather conditions had deteriorated the position had improved. Glynn was again on target and the home side had a well deserved lead of 6-0 with just 13 minutes gone.

Clondalkin got a respite when Longford were penalised for the use of hands in the ruck. Centre Chris Jebb stepped up to the mark and converted a very difficult penalty into points, leaving it 6-3.

The second quarter was all Longford. The inventiveness and attacking threat was all from the home side. The final score of the first half came as the 40 minutes had elapsed and Longford were awarded a penalty just inside the Clondalkin half for a high tackle on Dylan Quinn. Barry Trueick raised the officials flags and a huge cheer from the home crowd as he added the three points to leave the score 9-3 at the break.

Clondalkin started the second half well. A very clever short kick over the Longford line by Judd released his speedy centre partner. Ciaran Kennedy ran from deep to get in a miraculous tackle, but the slick underfoot conditions resulted in the full back sustaining a nasty injury and he was replaced by Ronan Keith.

A series of attacks by the men in black looked like they were were going to give Longford a first home try in quite a while, but every time Clondalkin seemed to be doing just enough. It was Derek Farrell the eventually unlocked the Clondalkin defence. It started with an opportune break through the centre after he shook off three tacklers before making a break,. Hubie Connolly came in support and the ball was worked wide before James O’Connell touched down for a well deserved try. With two thirds of the game gone Longford led by 14-3.

But Clondalkin battled their way back into the match. Two excellently kicked penalties by Jebb for a high tackle and an offside call brought the visitors to within five points as the 40 minutes elapsed in the second half. With two minutes of the injury time played Clondalkin stuck the knife in. Penalties brought them from inside their own 22 to the home side’s 22. There good tight pack play sucked in the Longford defence, before the ball was moved wide where full back Steven Cunningham went over for a try to level matters.

Jebb’s conversion put the Clondalkin ahead as they snatched the win. This was another game that Longford let get away. Longford are going to need a stellar performance in CPL Park next week against Carlow to get back on the winning trail.

LONGFORD: John Duffy, Hubie Connolly, Dylan Quinn, Clifford Richardson, Barry Stewart, Brendan Fagan, Paul Gallogly, Derek Farrell, Neil Farrell, Colm Glynn, David Fagan, James O’Connell, Jimmy Connolly, Barry Trueick, Ciaran Kennedy.

Replacements: Ian Farrell, Ronan Keith, Colin O’Brien, Peter Mimnagh, George McDermott.