Joe McGowan pictured in action for Longford Rugby Club.
Longford came very close to claiming their first Provincial Towns Plate but ultimately were downed by a very good Naas side after extra-time in a most entertaining high scoring final at Edenderry RFC on Sunday last.
Naas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Longford . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Longford will be wondering how they ended up losing this one as they were 20-0 up after twenty minutes after an early penalty and two tries by Ciaran Kennedy and Colm Glynn and another penalty after.
A strong wind was blowing behind Longford for the first half which they worked to their favour. However, after Longford’s barnstorming start Naas started to work their way into the match.
A Longford yellow card allowed Naas to gain possession and territory, they then managed to rack up a converted try and a penalty during the Sin Bin period to peg the score back to 20-10. They also notched a further penalty just before half-time to leave Longford seven points to the better at the break, 20-13.
Longford knew they would be against in the second half playing into a strong wind but gave a very good account of themselves in the opening 20 minutes. They scored first via the boot of Joe McGowan after 7 minutes and further stretched their lead with a Derek Farrell try in the corner to leave the score 28-13.
Just as in the first half Naas switched on for the second 20 and put Longford under severe pressure with a penalty and two well worked tries by their wingers, who had looked increasingly dangerous as the match progressed, to leave Longford 28-31 behind for the first time in match with only a few minutes to go.
Great credit must go to Longford as they marched their way up the pitch to earn Joe McGowan a penalty opportunity which he duly slotted to bring the match to extra-time with a final normal time score of 31-31.
Longford would have been feeling good with the wind behind their backs for the first ten minutes of extra-time but it ultimately proved disastrous for Longford who leaked three tries, one almost immediately from kick-off, one from an intercept with Longford on the attack and one from a Naas kick through.
Longford’s quest for plate glory looked well and truly buried going into the second period of extra-time with Naas leading 52-31. However, in a great reflection of the character of the side they refused to let their heads drop and scored a try in the corner to bring the score to 52-36 and then followed up with a penalty try after the Naas winger slapped the ball forward with the line at Longford’s mercy.
Longford pressed to try and make up the 9 point deficit but ultimately fell short, not for want of any effort with the final score 52-43 in favour of Naas.
Longford will certainly feel that this is one that got away but can reflect on a very good overall season where they finished third in a very competitive Division 1B of the Leinster League, won the Midland League and reached the Provincial Towns Plate Final.
With our U-18s scoring a fantastic victory in the Leinster Darcy Cup on Saturday, it is hopefully a case of onwards and upwards in the coming seasons.
LONGFORD: L Brady, R Keith, D Quinn, B McManus, D Geelan, H Connolly, D Farrell, K O’Gorman, N Farrell, D McHugh, J McGowan, C Glynn, S Rodgers, F McGowan, C Kennedy, P Dardis, J Forde, M Cullen, L Connolly and A Beirne.
Longford players in action for Leinster
Congratulations to Longford players Kieran O’Gorman, Benny McManus and Dylan Quinn who all played for the Leinster Juniors in their 32-19 win against Connacht on Saturday last. O’Gorman captained the Leinster side who play Munster in Coolmine this Saturday.