Longford manager Denis Connerton: 'Derry is a massive match for us'

After their 3-18 to 1-13 demolition of Offaly, Longford face Derry in Round 2 of the Allianz NFL Division 3

Longford manager Denis Connerton: 'Derry is a massive match for us'

Longford manager Denis Connerton. Photo Declan Gilmore

Although he was obviously happy to see his side easily defeat Offaly in their opening Division 3 game on Sunday last, Longford manager Denis Connerton was cautious about the result; looking back on last year’s campaign.

He said: “It was what we came here to do today; to perform. I’m always saying that. We performed very well and the squad has gelled together well. We are in a good place at the moment. We have two points on the table; this time last year we had the same number of points and look what happened after that.”

There were plenty of positives to take out of the game but Connerton admitted there were a few things that his side have to work on.

“We got a little bit sloppy. I felt at the end of the game we conceded quite a few scores that was from our own unforced errors. That’s something that we will have to work on during the week.”

One thing that pleased the manager was the score his side racked up and he believes the O’Byrne Cup was great preparation for the opening league game.

“It’s a great score. We had prepared very well and did very well in the O’Byrne Cup. We played against top class opposition; two Division 2 teams (Louth and Meath) and Kildare who are Division One. It brings players on and you could see the fruits of that were visible today.”

With Division 3 going to be extremely tight the final placings could go down to scoring difference so Sunday’s high score was important.

Connerton said: “We lost out in 2016 on scoring difference; Clare went up that year. It was probably the damage that Clare did to us on that bleak day in Ennis so scoring difference is a huge thing.”

It was a fine team performance all round with half back Barry Gilleran getting up to score two points while Robbie Smyth proved once again he is one of the best forwards around. Connerton is delighted with the players at his disposal.

“They are good lads who have a lot of class about them. This is our third year with the team and there is a maturity about them.

“It is well documented that the team that had been there was coming to an end. We had to add to the squad and the new lads are blending in well.”

Connerton’s mindset moved quickly from the Offaly game to Longford’s next league fixture against Derry at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday and he is hoping to see a big home crowd.

“We have Derry at home; a team that has come down from Division 2. That will be a massive match for us and hopefully our supporters will turn out in big numbers. We have to retain possession better than we did today because the stronger teams will punish us.”

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