Longford senior football team manager Denis Connerton pictured in Drogheda for the recent All-Ireland SFC Round 1A qualifier against Louth. Photo: Declan Gilmore
While the general opinion is that Longford are facing a daunting task in Ballybofey against Division 1 opponents Donegal in Round 2A of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifiers, their recent away record against Ulster counties through the ‘back door’ is impressive.
Longford were given little chance when they travelled to take on Derry at Celtic Park in the opening round of the 2014 qualifiers but they produced a tremendous display to emerge victorious in a high scoring thriller for what was unquestionably the highlight of the Jack Sheedy regime.
There was considerable more hope when the county senior footballers headed up north to Newry last year for the first round qualifier against a Down team who were then in disarray after suffering a long sequence of disappointing results.
And Longford duly capitalised in coming out on top following a terrific tussle that was eventually decided after extra-time.
Denis Connerton’s revitalised side were back on the road again for the second round showdown against Monaghan in Clones.
Nobody gave them a hope against the Division 1 outfit but they somehow managed to spring a shock, much to the sheer delight of the small contingent of Longford supporters who were there to witness a magnificent performance by the underdogs that was the talk of the country.
While it is a somewhat similar situation this Saturday evening (throw-in 5pm) as ‘little’ Longford attempt to produce another giant-killing act, Donegal have had a couple of weeks to recover from the trauma of the torrid loss (1-21 to 1-12) they suffered against Tyrone in the Ulster semi-final.
Donegal are extremely difficult to beat in the Ballybofey ‘fortress’, defending a proud home record, and the odds are stacked against Longford causing another major upset but they will be going all out to give it their best shot.
Connerton’s charges showed a lot of character in bouncing back from the bad defeat against Laois in the Leinster Championship to score a great win over Louth in Drogheda in the first round of the qualifiers and that positive result will have boosted the confidence factor considerably.
The other Round 2A fixtures are also down for decision this Saturday - Mayo v Derry; Meath v Sligo and Laois v Clare. The eventual winners will join Donegal or Longford in the draw for Round 3A of the All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers which will be made on the Morning Ireland programme on RTE Radio after 8.30am on Monday next, July 3.