Lory Meagher Cup: Longford v Leitrim preview

After losing away to Lancashire by seven points in their opening Lory Meagher Cup match, Longford got their Lory Meagher Championship campaign back on track with a comprehensive seventeen-point win over Warwickshire at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last with the home side winning by 2-23 to 1-09.

The victory took Longford off the bottom of the table in the six-team competition and actually sent them up to second place behind leaders Lancashire.

Reuben Murray top-scored for the victors with 1-05, Paddy Lynam tallied 1-02, Cathal Mullane fired over 0-5, David Buckley added 0-04, Evan Tully got 0-03, while Charles Flynn, Ronan Sheahan, Adam Quinn, and Karl Murray all scored 0-01 each.

Speaking ahead of this Sunday’s clash away to Leitrim in Drumshanbo, the Longford manager Adrian Moran acknowledged that the performance and the victory was a great way for Longford to bounce back from the loss to Lancashire.

‘It was a brilliant way to respond, but it’s just two points on the board. We won’t be getting over excited by it but it was a really good display, especially the opening seventeen or eighteen minutes of the contest when the lads hurled like we want Longford hurlers to hurl. They really did express themselves superbly during that period in particular. We have started very slowly in most of our games this year, so it was really nice to see the lads get off to such a fast start and build up a big lead so quickly. Last week, the travelling over to England to play the game was really tough, and it had to be the same for Warwickshire coming over to Longford for this game. Teams having to travel outside of their country is not easy and it is hard to adjust to it. On our home ground today, we got the ball rolling and there was a good buzz about the dressing room before the game and everyone was in fine fettle, and that continued throughout the game and we collected a very valuable two points.’

There was some excellent play throughout the match for Longford and the team work and work rate was top-class.

The stand out moment was Paddy Lynam’s goal. Ronan Sheahan surged forward with the sliotar, passed to Liam Browne who flicked the ball up from behind, swivelled, caught the ball and played a sumptuous pass to Lynam who rifled a low diagonal shot to the opposite bottom corner of the Warwickshire net.

Adrian stated that it was an example of goal creation and clinical execution that had been missing in the League campaign.

‘It was great to see and we failed to do that in the league where we struggled to create goal chances, let alone take them. We have worked hard on that aspect of our game in preparation for the Championship and both management and players are delighted to see it paying off. However, we won’t be getting carried away, and we will keep our feet on the ground as we now have to play Leitrim away on Sunday, and they have already beaten us twice at Shane McGettigan Park in the League, so we know we have a very difficult task ahead of us to achieve back-to-back victories.

Warwickshire, despite the heavy defeat, did rattle off 1-04 without reply in the latter stages of the contest, but it was too little too late and it was inevitable that Longford’s high-octane display would peter out towards the end as they tired, a point that Adrian alluded to.

‘It was very high intensity from the lads especially in the opening thirty-five minutes and that’s what gave us such a big cushion at half-time and although we shot some bad wides, if you are not shooting, you won’t score and in fairness our conversion accuracy was quite high and our work rate was immense. It has put us in a good frame of mind for the Leitrim game, but in this competition, everyone is capable of beating each other, so we need to repeat our performance against Warwickshire if we are going to get the better of Leitrim on Sunday.’

Round 1: April 15: Lancashire 3-21 Longford 2-17; April 16: Monaghan 1-18 Leitrim 2-12; Warwickshire 3-15 Cavan 0-22;
Round 2: April 22/23: Cavan 2-16 Monaghan 0-19; Lancashire 4-15 Leitrim 1-15; Longford 2-23 Warwickshire 1-9.
Round 3: April 29/30: Cavan v Lancashire; Monaghan v Warwickshire; Leitrim v Longford.
Round 4: May 13/14: Longford v Cavan; Warwickshire v Leitrim; Lancashire v Monaghan.
Round 5: May 20: Cavan v Leitrim; Monaghan v Longford; Warwickshire v Lancashire.