Longwood's senior hurlers got their 2018 championship campaign off to a winning start with a deserved, if ultimately narrow victory over Trim on Saturday evening in Athboy.
Longwood were quick to settle with Eoin Lynch, giving a taste of what was to follow, opening the scoring with a point from play inside the opening 2 minutes. This seemed to spark Trim into life and they would register 1-2 without reply over the next 5 minutes, albeit the goal was extremely fortuitous.
Such a turn of events may have rocked some teams but Longwood have displayed composure and resilience throughout the 2018 season to date and they refused to buckle. Points from Niall Mulvey, Ryan Moore, Anthony Healy and Karl Ennis saw them draw level. The remainder of the first half saw Eoin Lynch, operating at centre half forward, produce a virtuoso performance bagging a further 5 points from play. Longwood took a deserved 5 point lead to the dressing rooms on a scoreline of 0-11 to 1-3.
The expected backlash from Trim looked like it was about to materialise when they picked off a point within 16 seconds of the restart. Yet again Longwood stood firm, recording the next three scores with a brace of points from Eoin Lynch backed up by another from Ryan Moore.
Trim, to their credit, responded with a hat trick of points to keep their hopes of an unlikely victory alive. But Longwood refused to ease off and matched them point for point as the game entered its closing stages. Eoin Lynch's ninth point gave Longwood a six point cushion with the Longwood supporters urging the referee to bring proceedings to an end. The match official had other ideas however and played upwards of 7 minutes injury time, during which Trim tagged on a goal and a point, the latter just clearing the crossbar as the men in red pressed for an equalising goal.
The final whistle was greeted with cheers and no little relief from the Longwood faithful. In truth, anything other than a Longwood victory would have been a travesty given their superiority for much of the game. While Eoin Lynch was undoubtedly the star of the show, there were excellent performances from Paul Gill, Mickey Burke and Chris Lynch amongst others. In truth it was a strong all round team performance which is sure to have pleased the management team.
So while one swallow does not a summer make, Longwood can look forward to the next round of the championship with plenty of optimism.
Final score: Longwood 0-20 Trim 2-12
Longwood: Mick Healy, Paul Gill, Chris Lynch, Johnny Furey, Joey Stenson, Mickey Burke, Ryan Moore (0-4), Niall Mulvey (0-1), Karl Ennis (0-1), Bob Maguire, Eoin Lynch (0-9), Damien Healy (0-1), Aaron Ennis, Anthony Healy (0-4), Ross Kerrigan. Subs: Sean Sheridan for Maguire, Mark Kennedy for Kerrigan