Longford Rugby Club come out on top against Tullamore in the Towns Cup

Thomas Lyons

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Thomas Lyons

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Longford Rugby Club come out on top against Tullamore in the Towns Cup

Action from the Provincial Towns Cup first round game between Longford and Tullamore at CPL Park on Sunday last. Photo: Syl Healy

Longford progressed past the first round of the Towns Cup thanks to a sparkling performance that saw them prove too strong for Tullamore 2nd XV and the home side produced some great attacks in this emphatic victory at CPL Park on Sunday last.

Rugby - Provincial Towns Cup First Round

Longford 1st XV . . . . 23    Tullamore 2nd XV . . . . 3

Longford progressed past the first round of the Towns Cup thanks to a sparkling performance that saw them prove too strong for Tullamore 2nd XV and the home side produced some great attacks in this emphatic victory at CPL Park on Sunday last.

Two tries and four penalties accounted for the home side's tally as they spent most of the match in the Tullamore half of the pitch. A number of fresh faces made appearances for the men in black over the course of the 80 minutes suggesting that there is a bright future for this team, but it was the older players  who were instrumental in ensuring that the team was steered in the right direction throughout the course of the game.

Tullamore may have had a bigger pack but overall Longford were the more mobile and skilful. As the contest wore on the home team ran the visitors ragged, and with a little more focus could have opened up a wider gap.

The game was barely two minutes old when the referee had to stamp his authority on the contest. Longford fullback Ciaran Kennedy was in the air when an onrushing Tullamore player collided with him.

The visitor was shown a yellow card and although the penalty was just short of the halfway mark, Joe McGowan had a crack at the posts. The effort fell just short, but Longford were back on the attack almost immediately.

The extra man advantage was exploited when first centre, Colm Glynn, put in a sweet skip pass to hit Hubie Connolly. The hooker did a fine impression of a winger and sped along the the tramlines to leave sprinting cover in his wake. Even though the try was scored as wide as possible McGowan stroked over the conversion. Six minutes in and the home side led 7-0.

Tullamore then spent a good five minutes inching their way into Longford territory but the home team defended well. Returning to the Tullamore half in the 16th minutes saw the arm go up for an offside infringement but the penalty from about 40 metres out was too difficult to convert.

Four minutes later Longford got another go at the posts, this time Glynn had the shot, but the soft ground again stymied the effort, but Glynn then converted the next penalty to leave it 10-0.

In the 26th minute a little argy-bargy saw Dylan Quinn penalised and sent to the sin bin. The prop's indiscipline gave the visiting kicker, Conor Hegarty, a crack at the posts and he made the most of the opportunity to close the gap to 10-3.

Tullamore had been strong in the scrum in the early exchanges, and an overhaul of the front row did little to disrupt the flow, but it was the breaks by Longford from Benny McManus, Hubie Connolly, Paul Gallogly, Ruadhan McDonnell and Derek Farrell that were grabbing the attention.

Tullamore took advantage of the extra man at scrum time and pushed Longford back, but were not able to get any more advantage in open play. A great break by the visitors saw some swift tracking back to putting pressure on the attack. The winger dived for the line but he lost the ball forward in what was a lucky escape for Longford.

The half-time break came and went and two minutes into the second half Glynn pushed his side further ahead when converting a penalty to leave the score standing at 13-3.

A little flurry of brilliance by McManus split the Tullamore line and this was augmented by McDonnell and when the ball came out the back line Glynn delivered a crisp little pass to McGowan who weaved his way past the opposing defenders and seared through for a try with the successful conversion bringing  the tally to 20-3.

As the game wound down things started to open up a bit. Just as it looked as if the visitors would get a consolation try for their efforts  a textbook tap tackle by Gallogly halted the progress.


Much of the remaining time was spent in the visitors half and another penalty extended the Longford lead to 23-3 which was the final score. While it was a tough first round game, they looked comfortable and many of the younger players made valuable contributions.

Longford are now facing a difficult task in the second round of the Towns Cup away to Clondalkin on Sunday 19th of February.