Longford centre Comac Hughes on the attack against Coolmine in the Leinster Rugby League Division 1B game on Sunday last.
An excellent away win against Coolmine at the Ashbrook grounds on Sunday last extended Longford’s impressive unbeaten run to four games in the Leinster League Division 1B and they are now on top of the table ahead of Tullow.
Coolmine . . . 10 Longford 1st XV . . . 14
The re-occurring theme of the closeness of this league shows just one point separating each of the top four teams and, baring basement club Portlaoise, a one point gap between the lower half teams.
A large number of supporters made the trip to Dublin to join with a sizeable Coolmine contingent. Longford RFC started well in Ashbrook bringing the back line into the game early. The early dealings between the sides suggested that the visitors were in good form for the contest.
Much of the early exchanges were typified by a sprightly Longford attack that heaped pressure on the home team.
However, an injury sustained by Joe McGowan five minutes into the game, was a significant setback. A little rejigging saw replacement Colm Glynn brought in to centre and he was more than a measure for the task and played a key role in the overall Longford performance.
The first opportunity came from a Shane Rodgers attack. An infringement by the defence gave Glynn his first kick at goal and the kicker duly obliged to leave it 0-3. In the 13th minute the centre repeated the feat and the second penalty by Glynn extended the lead, 0-6.
Confident carries from Benny McManus and Anthony Hughes gave good forward ball and the labours of Derek Farrell and Paul Gallogly caused numerous problems for Coolmine.
It was Rodgers again who was the ultimate source of woe for the home team. His cut from 35 metres out saw him cross in the corner and his try brought the score to 0-11. Glynn's conversion attempt was as close as possible but skidded off the post.
Another injury saw Kieran O'Gorman come in to replace Paul Gallogly but Longford maintained the tempo they had established early. However as the first half came to a conclusion they lost a bit of cohesion. This resulted in a nervy period as Coolmine started to get a grip on the game.
In the 33rd minute they ran in a good try. Four minutes later they added a penalty to leave it 10-11 and at the half-time break the score was that one point margin but casual observers noted that it was against the run of play that the Dublin outfit had made the most of the opportunities that they had been presented with.
Longford started well in the second half. What transpired was a defensive arm wrestle. In it Longford put on a lot of pressure. In the 49th minute a penalty decision gave Glynn a pop at the posts and the kicker tagged on that three pointer which proved to be the only score of the second half.
This did not mean that the contest lacked any excitement or intensity. From a Longford perspective Liam Hallinan showed well, at both wing and full back. He got good line breaks against a very miserly Coolmine defence. Big hits by Colm Glynn and Daniel McHugh were key aspects of the Longford defence.
With increasing pressure from Coolmine, the men in black were fortunate to ride out an unrelenting attack in the closing stages of the game to consolidate their slender lead.
Longford will be concerned by the dip in concentration that was apparent in the closing stages of either half. Nonetheless, no matter how you look at the performance this was another impressive win.
LONGFORD: Justin Forde, Ronan Keith, Dylan Quinn, Brendan McManus, Anthony Hughes, Derek Farrell, Barry Stewart, Paul Gallogly, Neal Farrell, Daniel McHugh, Joseph McGowan, Cormac Hughes, Shane Rodgers, Liam Hallinan, Finbarr McGowan.
Replacements: Colm Glynn, Kieran O'Gorman, Hubie Connolly, Paud Farrell, Finbar McGowan.