Kieran O'Gorman, a key figure on the Longford Rugby Club Ist XV who are enjoying an impressive unbeaten run so far this season.
Longford secured their third win in a row in the Leinster League Division 1B campaign with a hard fought win over Clondalkin at CPL Park on Sunday last. The home side have the boot of kicker Joe McGowan to thank for this victory in a niggly match.
Longford 1st XV . . . . . . . 28 Clondalkin . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
The full back contributed a total of 23 of his side's points. The win puts Longford in second place in the league behind Tullow. The Carlow side top the table thanks to two extra bonus points having scored four tries in every game they have played so far.
Clondalkin put in a very good display and the three tries they scored during the course of the match showed that they have qualities that mark them as formidable opponents. The fact that they have lost their opening three games show the level of competition in this league.
Longford got off to a good start right from the kick-off when pressure at one of the first rucks caused the Dublin side to come to the attention of the referee. The infringement was duly punished by Joe McGowan as the kicker clipped the ball over with ease from 45 metres.
With eight minutes gone there was a setback for the home side when Michael Bannon had to withdraw with an injury but replacement Justin Forde was more than up to the task despite his extended warm up.
The early phases of the game was all Longford but for some reason they were not able to capitalise on the numerous opportunities they created. However as the game progressed Clondalkin managed to get a foothold in the game.
Longford replied by stepping up the tempo. Again it was Joe McGowan who would keep the scoreboard ticking over when an offside call allowed him to show his place kick skills and leave it 6-3.
When Clondalkin finally got some possession and good quick ball they made the most of it. An exciting move that made the most of their backline allowed full back Matt Stapleton take advantage of the threat he had been posing.
Stapleton's try was added to by out half Chris Jebb whose low trajectory kick steered over the bar to leave it 6-7.
In the 24th minute Stapleton again showed his skills. A shimmy brought him through the Longford defensive line, a dummy then created enough space for him to showcase his pace and cross near the post for another try. Jebb's conversion left it 6-14.
But Joe McGowan tacked back three consecutive scores to put Longford in pole position. One was for a hit on the scrum half and the second when a bit of a group waltz was floored by the Clondalkin lock.
The five's action was right in front of the referee and the man in the middle gave him a 10 minute sin bin break for his trouble. McGowan added to the reprimand by tacking on the three points and his final kick before the break left Longford 15-14 in front.
Longford made a great start to the second half to extend their advantage. An exciting play in the 44th minute saw Derek Farrell go over for his side's one and only try to bring the score to 22-14 after the whole team had been involved in a play that turned defence into attack.
Longford then pounded the Clondalkin line but the efforts were thwarted by a tenacious defence. Coming up to the hour mark it really looked as if the second try was on the way but a penalty for not releasing let Clondalkin off the hook.
Joe McGowan ensured that his team kept moving forward thanks to two long range penalties in the 67th and 72nd minutes, the second bringing the score to 28-14. But Clondalkin’s hunger for points was impressive as the clock wound down they appeared to be more clinical and this yielded results
A penalty was kicked to the corner, the line out offered an attack on the blind side and they went over out wide for a try. Jebb showed his kicking prowess with an impressive shot over to leave it 28-21 and that proved to be the final score of the game.
This was solid Longford performance. The clever interplay between Kieran O'Gorman and Derek Farrell was augmented by fine support play from the likes of Ronan Keith and Shane Rodgers while the backline pairing of Neal Farrell and Danny McHugh again proved instrumental in Longford's success.
LONGFORD: Michael Bannon, Ronan Keith , Dylan Quinn, Aaron Beirne, Anthony Hughes, Derek Farrell, Kieran O'Gorman, Paul Gallogly, Finbarr McGowan, Joseph McGowan, Cormac Hughes, Shane Rodgers, Sean McGuinness, Daniel McHugh, Neal Farrell.
Replacements: Justin Forde, Brendan McManus, Hubie Connolly, Barry Stewart, Sean Flynn.
Away to Coolmine on Sunday
Longford RFC 1st XV are back in Leinster League action this Sunday (October 22) away to Dublin opponents Coolmine, kick-off 3pm.