The Longford files

Okay then, we pulled the O’Farrell County from the hat yesterday evening and will face them at Pearse Park in the first round of the qualifiers on Saturday week (at a time to be announced later today).  So then, apart from their phlegmatic diction, what’s there to know about our midland opponents?

Well, courtesy of their county profile on Hogan Stand, we know that they have to their credit one NFL title (1966), one Leinster senior title (1968) and no All-Stars.  But their minors did win Leinster as recently as 2002 (their third provincial title ever at this grade) so we can assume that some of that talent must have made its way through to the senior ranks in the years since then.

Longford are currently managed by Glen Ryan – yes, Glen with the big goofy mouth that dentists can normally only dream about – who captained Kildare to that near-miss with Sam back in 1998.  He pulled on the bainisteoir bib for the Midlanders at the start of last year and promptly led them from Division 3 of the NFL to Division 4.  They didn’t do too hot in the league this year either – winning just twice, drawing once and losing five times, which saw them end the campaign seventh in the basement division, with only London and Kilkenny below them in the table.

Like ourselves, Longford’s provincial campaign this year was short and far from sweet and, like us, they went under by four points in their first round tie.  Longford were undone by Louth (who have since scalped Kildare as well) three weeks ago in Portlaoise but this was a game they could have won, as they shot thirteen wides on their way to that 1-11 to 1-7 loss.  They were also hampered that day by the absence of star forward Brian Kavanagh, who had been due to line out but who failed a late fitness test.

Longford’s main claim to fame in the championship in recent years has been the way they’ve acted as a kind of booster rocket for Kerry in the qualifiers.  They’ve met – and have been beaten by – the Kingdom twice in the backdoor in recent years and, on both occasions, Kerry subsequently went on to win the All-Ireland.  It was against Longford in Killarney back in July 2006 that Kieran Donaghy first burst onto the scene in the full-forward role that he emphatically went on to make his own later that year (as we can all, to our chagrin, attest).  Kerry really clocked Longford that day but they were far less impressive beating them last summer, in a bizarre contest at Pearse Park where Kerry failed to register a single score for the final 34 minutes of the game, eventually easing home by just four points.  And they still went on to win the All-Ireland, the jammy hoors.

Saturday week’s meeting between our two counties will, of course, be the first time we’ve come up against them in the championship.  Our most recent meeting in the league was (with thanks to ontheroad for pointing this one out to me as I completely missed it when first writing this up earlier on) back in March 2004 when we beat them by 0-16 to 0-8 in a Division 1A clash in Ballina. From the current squad, only Ronan McGarrity and Billy Joe lined out that day, with Pat Harte and Andy Moran also coming on as subs.  Prior to that encounter, you have to go back to November 1990 to find a match between us – that one was a Division 2 meeting down in Crossmolina where we came out on top by 2-11 to 0-4.  The last time we met at Pearse Park was in February 1989, also in Division 2 of the league, where we won on a scoreline of 2-11 to 2-5.  Such an outcome would, I reckon, do just fine the next day as well.

16 thoughts on “The Longford files

  1. Very interesting facts there Willie Joe! The last time I was in Pearse Park was last year for the Colman’s match, hopefully this match will go better than that….

    Any updates on Alan Dillon anyone? I’m hoping that it was just a rumour, or is an injury that isn’t serious. We really need him, and it would be tremendous loss.

  2. My last two visits there were defeats too, Esther – the minor final replay against Tyrone in 2008 and the U21 All-Ireland semi-final loss to Down last year. Third time lucky?

    I haven’t seen any confirmation as yet about any injury to Alan Dillon but, like everyone else, I’ve heard the rumours. If it’s true, then I guess we’ll hear it officially soon enough. He definitely would be an enormous loss if he is out.

  3. Pearse park not a happy hunting ground for us although I remember us beating offaly there in an under 21 semi final on a sunny evening back in 1995 . Its prob the type of draw Mahony needs to “ease” us back into the championship. Of course we dont do easy….

  4. Even if it is “only” Longford unfortunatley we can be far from happy. Football as we all know is a physical game and the team that is ready to tear into the opposition can often prove a real handful for a team that isnt that pushed even if that team has the better ball players. Thats my concern, we are always flat in the qualifiers and God knows if we’re flatter than we were against Sligo then surely that gives Longford a crack. Will reserve judgement till we see the team but I cant see the attitude displayed against Sligo being fixed in 2 training sessions. I’m not trying to be negative, just saying it as it looks at the moment. Will make the journey from Cork to longford anyway so cant be accused of not supporting them.

  5. If we win and if we avoid Cork in the next round we could pull the likes of Fermanagh, Waterfors, Leitrim, Westmeath, Laois/Meath, Down. We wont get Sligo becaise we already played them. It doesnt matter amyway, the present charade needs a quick end not a long death.

  6. It is an open draw for all rounds except provincial finals cannot be repeated in the Qualifiers.

    Remember Derry and Monaghan met twice last year.

    So we could be seeing our Sligo friends again in a few weeks if we get over Longford! Would love it!

  7. You are probably right Roger Milla, I am confused over when extra time prevails, what constitutes a free in or free out, what defines a double hop so I am probably wrong on the draws as well. By the way I am sunk completly on Face the Ball, between draws and what not I feel as if I have been taken over by something strange. Looking forward to seeing you in the World cup finals Roger, blast Camaroon didnt make it or did they?

  8. WJ. we played them in Div 1 in 2004. They had a good run that year. Was at the match in Ballina where a thick ass refused to let my youngster and myself into the “Stand”, (a hay shed roof) unless we paid an extra 2 euro each but to do that we would have to go back against a late crowd to the gate once more. I left early as the young fella had a blackout due to a strong sun that beat down on him. Below are the match details from your archive.

    Mayo 0-16 Longford 0-8 (Ballina, 7/3/2004). MAYO : J Healy; D Geraghty, P Kelly, G Ruane; F Costello, G Mullins, J Nallen; B Ruane, R McGarrity (0-1); M Moyles (0-1), BJ Padden (0-3), E Gallagher; M McNicholas (0-1, free), A O’Malley (0-7, five frees), D Munnelly (0-2). Subs: P Harte for McNicholas (51 mins), A Moran (0-1) for Gallagher (59 mins), F Kelly for Padden (61 mins).

  9. Thanks for that, ontheroad – I completely missed that one and I’m a bit surprised that we played them as recently as then. I’ll correct the post to take account of this.

  10. Hi
    Does any one know if they gave details yet as to when the match is to be scheduled ? Is it this weekend coming or next one ?

  11. Hi
    Great website Willie Joe, informed debate and passionate posters. It’s the first website I visit each day.

    JPM the match is on Sat June 26th at 7pm in Pearse Park, Longford.

  12. Cameroon are there ontheroad , didnt do too good yesterday , eto’o didnt shine after my namesake accused him of all sorts of things the week before. would be some fun if we got sligo again , unless of course they did us again…

    folks i am presuming we wont get any telly coverage for this qualifier ?

  13. RTE are showing the Armagh-Donegal game at 3.30. They have no plans to show any of the other games yet.
    TV3’s coverage of the qualifiers only starts in round 2, so they won’t have it either.

  14. Sean Burke-fantastic news! Absolutely brilliant! I don’t know why that rumour started, but ’tis a relief to know that he’s not ‘out for the year’ as somebody said on another site!

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