Arklow suffer narrow defeat against Longford
Arklow 8, Longford 9: This, the first game of the Leinster League started off at a fast pace with both sides trying to gain ground through their respective packs.
Longford were fist to score after ten minutes with a well struck penalty. Arklow equalised quickly with a penalty in front of the post.
Both packs were giving of their best and the play moved quickly between the Arklow 22 and Longford’s 22. Arklow made a series of attacks up field, which ended with a line out about 15 metres from the Longford try line.
A good clean catch from this line out and some good mauling among the forwards resulted in Arklow’s Barry O’Neill scoring in the corner. The extra two points were missed but the angle was very difficult for conversion.
Arklow were now starting to apply pressure with Longford occasionally lifting the siege and Longford were unlucky not to score due to a top class tackle by Johnny Butterworth.
Longford had a player dismissed for ten minutes for persistent fowling. Arklow defended well for the remainder of the first-half. As the half ended the game would belong to the team that seized the opportunity.
After just five minutes Longford had another man sent off. Longford were now reduced to 13 players to Arklow’s 15 and Arklow did not take advantage of their numerical superiority.
This should have been the signal for Arklow to get themselves down into Longford’s 22. Most of the game was now being played in the centre of the field until Arklow had a player sin binned for ten minutes.
The referee at this time seemed intent on making up for his earlier sending off and was giving Longford a succession of penalties for Arklow indiscretions.
One penalty was from the centre of the field and the Longford kicker converted from a very good kick.
The Longford team now saw themselves in with a chance of winning this match and applied pressure at every point of the game and were awarded another penalty which was duly converted.
By now Arklow were in trying to force the game but Longford were good at slowing down the game and fighting for every bit of possession.
Arklow forced their way up the pitch for one last battle and were awarded a difficult penalty and this was to be the final play of the game so the conversion had to be successful but alas Arklow’s kicker was just slightly off.
This ended the game, a game Arklow could have won but should take some hope from periods of this game where Arklow played very well. This is a long league and hopefully there will be better days for Arklow.
Team: from A. Plunkett, J Louth (C), E. Clancy, B. O Neill, K. Kirwin, B. Diaper, P. Crotty, I. Hart, M V Esbeck, M Kavanagh, D. Kavanagh, R. Murphy, J. Butterworth, C. Hughes, R. Mc Cormack, K Mc Carthy. M Doyle, S Vigors, L. Plunkett.