St Mary's Granard player Darren Gallagher, back in action for Longford who take on Kildare in the O'Byrne Cup first round fixture in Newbridge this Saturday
Youth is going to gets its fling as the Longford senior football squad start the new season against Kildare in the opening round of the 2020 O’Byrne Cup senior football tournament this Saturday, throw-in 2pm.
St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge is the venue and a number of promising Longford newcomers are expected to feature in the fixture which will attract bigger interest than usual as It will be the first competitive game in charge for new Kildare manager Jack O’Connor, the former Kerry supremo.
Despite the introduction of a lot of young players into the current panel, the Longford boss Padraic Davis stated that the team that takes the field will be going all out to give it their best shot.
“I don’t know how strong Kildare will be but Jack O’Connor will probably be anxious to start his reign with a win and thus it is going to be a tough task.
“We will give it a good crack in the quest to produce a positive performance and a few of our younger players will be in action in Newbridge,” said Davis.
PJ Masterson (Abbeylara), Gerard Flynn (Longford Slashers), Shane Farrell (Kenagh), Oran Kenny (Rathcline), Aidan McGuire (Carrickedmond), Eoghan McCormack (Carrickedmond) and the McGann brothers Thomas and Keelan from the Kenagh club played in the recent wins over Roscommon and Sligo in challenge games.
The good news for Longford supporters is that Darren Gallagher (Granard), Rian Brady (Mullinalaghta), Dessie Reynolds (Sean Connolly’s) and Kevin Diffley (Ballymahon) have all returned to the county squad and are likely to start against Kildare.
Ciaran Williams (Clonguish) is a new addition to the panel as he finally gets his chance with the county seniors but a few regulars will be missing this season for different reasons, notably Mullinalaghtsa trio John Keegan, brothers James and David McGivney along with Barry McKeon (Colmcille).
Also in the same O’Byrne Cup group are Carlow and Wicklow with the top team going through to the semi-finals. Longford are at home to Carlow (Saturday 14 December) and away to Wicklow (Saturday 4 January).
Experimental Kildare team selected
Kildare have named a very experimental side for the O'Byrne Cup opener against Longford at St Conleth's Park, Newbridge.
In total there are only two survivors that started Kildare’s All-Ireland Qualifier defeat against Tyrone in June - Neil Flynn and David Hyland.
Having said that, classy attacker Daniel Flynn makes his return to the team for the first competitive game under new Kildare manager Jack O'Connor.
KILDARE: Aaron O'Neill; Liam Healy, Eoghan Bateman, Shea Ryan; Johnny Byrne, David Hyland, Kevin Flynn; Pascal Connell, Liam Power; Tony Archbold, Niall Kelly, John Tracey; Jack Robinson, Daniel Flynn, Neil Flynn.
Subs:- Mark Donnellan, Davy O'Neill, Padraig Nash, Con Kavanagh, Chris Byrne, Tommy Moolick, Paddy Brophy, Mark Hyland, Cian O'Donoghue, Daragh Ryan, Sam Doran, Daragh Kirwan, Robbie Philips, Emmet O'Keefe, John O'Toole.