The Longford hurlers will take part in this year’s Lory Meagher Cup following an emergency meeting of county board officials, players and management last Tuesday week.
Longford failed to field a team for the Allianz Hurling League match against Fermanagh the previous Sunday, sparking rumours that county hurlers would pull out of the Lory Meagher Cup.
The Fermanagh game was to be new manager Frank Browne’s first game in charge but he had only 12 players available for selection for the Division 3B match.
That led to speculation that the team would be withdrawn from the Lory Meagher, but the players re-affirmed their commitment to the county and returned to training on Good Friday.
Speaking to the Leader, Frank Browne said he was happy with the turn-out at the Friday session. “I’m just in the door, and things were all over the place but we’re working at putting that right and I’m happy enough with how things have gone since. “Let’s not fool anyone, it’s going to be very hard. The big thing is that we concentrate on the next eight or nine weeks and go out and play the best we can in the Lory Meagher. There’s no dishonour in giving it everything and losing, but there is in not fielding the fifteen players.”
Browne, who brought Mayo ladies to an All Ireland final in 2007, said his job is made all the more difficult by the unavailability of senior players. “This is a problem in all of the perceived weaker counties, and I would say the footballers in Kilkenny have the same problem. I’m not surprised some lads decide to play senior club football over hurling for the county given tradition and the decent club set up here in Longford.”
Browne said the concentration over the next eight weeks will be on getting the best hurling from the squad, after which organisers of hurling in Longford will “take a deep breath” and decide on a plan for going forward into next season.