Kieran O'Gorman pictured in action for Longford Rugby Club against Cill Dara in the Leinster League Division 1B game at CPL Park earlier in the season Picture: Syl Healy
There is a great buzz around Longford RFC in anticipation of the first round of the 2020 Provincial Towns Cup where Longford Senior Men travel to Navan this Sunday, kick-off 3pm.
It is a competition that Longford have had a lot of success in over the last decade. They have featured in one Provincial Towns Cup Final, a semi-final last season and three Plate Finals.
In 2013 Longford RFC reached the Provincial Towns Cup Final for the first time since the club was reformed in 1967; a historic year when Pat Fitzgerald, representing Longford RFC also became the President of the IRFU. He was the first Junior Club representative ever to hold this office. Maybe 2020 is the year that Longford can go one step further and etch their name on the famous trophy?
The Provincial Towns Cup is one of the oldest trophies in existence in Irish rugby dating back to 1892. The Cup originally named the Leinster Junior Challenge Cup was then presented on the inception of the Provincial Towns Cup in 1926. Longford RFC contested the 88th final v Tullamore and also reached the final in 1932, losing out to Dundalk.
The competition is an open draw format and as such throws up many David v Goliath encounters. Former President of the Leinster Branch Ben Gormley summed it up well: “The Town's Cup is the Holy Grail of Junior rugby in the province and it is a competition that grips towns like no other. Its popularity continues to grow year on year.”
As regards next Sunday’s first round match Longford Head Coach Glenn Baskett says that the outcome is very much in the hands of his team.
“Our own performance is really what we have got to focus on. Obviously, we are going to look at the opposition and try and determine what we have to do in our bid to win the match.
“Navan really have a lot to offer but from our perspective we have got to focus on what we do and ensure we do it well. We can ask no more than that and we are not going to get upset or worried about our opponents.”
Baskett is under no illusion as to the quality of the opposition.
“We have to respect what Navan bring to the table but we would be underselling ourselves if we were not up for this game.
“ It is still going to be a big ask for us, but if we intend to make a game of this then we have to match them in the pack. We would be quietly confident that we can do that.”
“It has been a really disruptive week again with the weather going against us again. We can’t control the weather but all we wanted to do was get the games played in the league, see where we were in the shake up there and move on to the cup competition.”
Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup First Round
Edenderry RFC v North Kildare RFC
Roscrea RFC v Balbriggan RFC
Mullingar RFC v Boyne RFC
Cill Dara RFC v Wicklow RFC
Arklow RFC v Skerries RFC
Athy RFC v New Ross RFC
Naas RFC v Tullamore RFC
Enniscorthy RFC v Portlaoise RFC
Navan RFC v Longford RFC
Tullow RFC v Newbridge RFC
Wexford Wanderers RFC v Midland Warriors RFC
Co Carlow FC v Clondalkin RFC
Byes: Ashbourne RFC, Dundalk RFC, Kilkenny RFC and Gorey RFC.