Action from the Longford First XV v Carlow Leinster Rugby League Division 1B game at CPL Park on Sunday last
Longford maintained their unbeaten start to their Leinster League campaign with a hard fought victory against a well organised Carlow side at CPL Park on Sunday last.
Longford First XV . . . 15 Carlow . . . 10
The men in black had to dig deep, especially in the closing quarter as two yellow cards led to Longford playing with 14 men for a large part of the second half.
The match kicked off at a high pace. Longford got into their stride early mixing carries by the forwards and enterprising play out the backs. Colm Glynn operating at first centre was making some good ground with carries and it was off one of these straight up the middle that Longford scored their first try.
Glynn secured a line break and penetrated deep into the Carlow 22 and after a few carries it was spun out to the wing where Joe McGowan was on hand to dot the ball down in the corner to give Longford a 5-0 lead after eight minutes.
Unfortunately, the home side failed to consolidate the lead. Carlow won possession from the kick-off and worked their way down the pitch with Conal Slater eventually crashing over for a converted try to put Carlow in the lead. This was Carlow’s first incursion into the Longford 22 and the home side will probably have felt that they could have done more in defence.
However, Longford did not drop the heads and kept coming at Carlow. Longford put four or five very promising passages of play together. There were a few great breaks from scrum half Neal Farrell along with some great forward carries.
Also, Longford were working the narrow side well but all the good work was undone by a number of handling errors. Admittedly the wet pitch made the ball quite greasy.
Eventually, the good work was rewarded via a Ryan McHugh penalty to give Longford an 8-7 half-time lead, which was deserved considering the amount of possession and attacking passages they had in the first 40 minutes.
Coach Glenn Baskett’s half-time talk seemed to have galvanised the troops as Longford came out of the traps hard.
They were making excellent use of a shortened line out allowing No. 8 Kolo Kiripati to be released up the middle, where he made substantial yardage on a number of occasions.
It was from one of these carries that Longford eventually scored. Kiripati made a great line break up the middle and nearly put following flanker Packie Molloy away.
However, the ball was taken into contact, was then worked out to the right and then back into the centre where captain Benny McManus went over for a great converted team try to give Longford a 15-7 lead with thirty minutes remaining.
You got the feeling at this point that Longford might push on. However, it was Carlow that came strongly back into the match.
Longford certainly put themselves under a lot of pressure by conceding two yellow cards, which meant they had to play 20 minutes of the last 30 with 14 men.
Carlow literally threw the kitchen sink at Longford, whether trying to power through Longford or kicking to the corner.
The Longford defence worked well throughout with a great hunger and scramble very evident. Carlow knocked over a penalty midway through the second half to narrow Longford’s lead to five points.
The gathering cloud literally burst at this point and a period of very heavy rain made playing conditions difficult.
Longford really dug in for the last five minutes when down to 14 players and despite Carlow pummelling the Longford line, they eventually turned the ball over and cleared their lines to hold out for a win.
Things are really hotting up in the league next week as Longford travel to Sydney Parade to face Monkstown in a top of the table clash. Interestingly, it is also a top of the table clash for our J2 side too!
Longford Squad: L Brady, H Connolly, D Quinn, B McManus, A Beirne, B Stewart, K O’Gorman, K Kiripati, N Farrell, D McHugh, S Rogers, C Glynn, G Bester, J McGowan, R McHugh, P O’Farrell, C Craig, P Molloy, F Davis, W Nyman.
Post Match Reaction: Head Coach Glenn Baskett
“That was a game that we should have won a little bit more comfortably considering the possession we seemed to have early on. But the longer Carlow stayed in the game the bigger they got, and their belief grew.
“But I thought our white line defence was outstanding. We won a couple of crucial turnovers when we were really under the pump. But saying that I think if we had conceded at the end we would feel pretty disappointed going by how we played early on.
“Looking ahead to the trip to Dublin this week we will need to be better against a team that have scored 3 bonus point wins. It’s a week that we look forward to and have had an eye on this fixture for a while.”
Tough task against table toppers Monkstown
Longford RFC are second in the league table with three matches played courtesy of two wins and a draw away to Tullow.
They face a tough trip this Sunday to Sydney Parade to take on a Monkstown side that have recorded three bonus point wins in their first three starts. They just got over the challenge of Tullow on Sunday last with a 36-30 win. Longford will know that they need to move up a few gears to come away from Sydney Parade with the points.
Longford have been playing well since the start of the league and will be focusing on cutting down on unforced errors along with penalties conceded in the week ahead. Longford came away from Monkstown with the points last year only for Monkstown to turn over Longford in CPL Park where every bounce of the ball seemed to go against the home side
We are asking for a big travelling support and look forward to seeing you in Dublin on Sunday.