Longford set for crunch Limerick tie

Longford will have to cope without the services of key midfielder Michael Quinn if they are to overcome Limerick in the first round of the All-Ireland football championship qualifiers.

Longford will have to cope without the services of key midfielder Michael Quinn if they are to overcome Limerick in the first round of the All-Ireland football championship qualifiers.

The Killoe ace picked up a heel injury during a recent challenge match against Offaly, ruling him out of next weekend’s clash with Maurice Horan’s side at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.

Quinn apart, Longford have no fresh injury worries as they look to record their first competitive win this season and reverse last season’s six-point loss to Limerick in Round 2 of the qualifiers.

That defeat came at Longford GAA headquarters, the same venue supporters hope will provide a very different outcome on June 29.

“It’s a great draw for us,” said a clearly upbeat County Board Chairman, Brendan Gilmore. “We are at home and although we lost to Limerick last year, we know what we are facing into.”

Such self-assurance is likely to have been bolstered by the problems facing next weekend’s opponents.

An 18-point drubbing at the hands of Cork last month was the Treaty County’s heaviest defeat at Munster SFC level in 18 years. This, coupled with injury doubts hanging over stars such as Mark O’Riordan, Pa Ranahan and Seanie Buckley, look set to heap further pressure on Horan and his players.

Mr Gilmore said the mood within the Longford set-up is one of “quiet optimism” as thoughts turn towards erasing memories of last month’s Leinster SFC First Round exit to Wicklow. “Last year we had a couple of good wins (including Derry in Round One) and there may have been a little bit of over confidence there,” he added.

Twelve months on, the county board supremo promised there would be “no excuses” this time around even without the likes of Quinn and other notable asentees, Brian Kavanagh and Paul Barden.

“We are the ones at home and it’s important that we win. The players will want to prove to all the supporters who travelled to Aughrim that it was just a bad day.”

Let’s hope he’s right.