While it may not have attracted the fanfare of the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and PSG, for the players and supporters of Longwood and Killyon, Sunday afternoon’s Senior Hurling Championship clash was much more important. For 2020, the local bragging rights rest in the village.
The stakes were high for both teams. Having lost to Trim in the opening round, Killyon simply could not afford another loss while Longwood entered Páirc Tailteann knowing that a win would see them through to a quarter-final at the very least.
Longwood may have been missing a few stalwarts but, as we have come to expect, the boys who donned the white jersey, including ageless warriors Enda Dixon and Jim Dorran, gave their all and it proved to be just enough after an hour of typically tough championship hurling.
Despite playing against the prevailing breeze in the opening half, Longwood took an early lead courtesy of an Anthony Healy free in the first minute. Killyon responded in kind less than sixty seconds later and they would go on to dominate the next ten minutes, tagging on three more points before Healy’s dead-ball skills raised another white flag.
While Killyon were on top in terms of possession, Longwood were always able to keep within touching distance. That said, a return of just two points in the opening quarter was not the sort of return that the boys were looking for. To their credit, they upped their performance level and scoring in the second quarter. Three more points from Anthony Healy and a couple of excellent overs from Mickey Burke and Ryan Moore, the latter particularly inspirational, ensured that they kept their opponent within their sights. Having played against the elements, a half-time deficit of three points seemed eminently recoverable.
Half-time: Killyon 0-10 Longwood 0-7
The atmosphere at half-time was noticeably strange. As the respective management teams gave their revised instructions on the side of the pitch, the incredibly small attendance talked amongst themselves and ventured an opinion as to where things could be improved for the second half.
Play resumed and this time Longwood would have the wind at their backs. Well if the wind was in our corner, nobody told the men from Killyon. They were quickest out of the traps and registered two quick points to stretch their lead out to five points, the widest margin to date.
Longwood needed a response and soon. Anthony Healy scored another point from a free before Sean Coloe took a pass seventy yards from goal before launching the sliotar between the posts with effortless ease. This fantastic score seemed to ignite his team mates and they thundered into the game. Ross Kerrigan, Ryan Moore, Mickey Burke and Damien Healy really came to the fore over the next 10 minutes and three successive points brought the sides level at the mid-point of the second half.
Another beautiful point from Ryan Moore gave Longwood the lead for the first time since the opening minute. Killyon responded quickly with an equalising point from Evan Burke but Longwood were not going to be denied and managed to keep their rivals scoreless for the remainder of the contest. During that time, Anthony Healy gave them the lead with a point from a 65 and this was followed by Moore’s third point from play.
Longwood led by two with time apparently up, when a loose pass inside their own half resulted in the ball being launched toward goal. When the ball broke to a loose Killyon forward in front of goal, memories of last week against Clann Na nGael came flooding back, but thankfully the ensuing shot was weak and rolled harmlessly wide.
Seconds later the referee’s whistle brought an end to proceedings. Longwood’s players and mentors were understandably delighted with the victory. While knowing that improvement will be required when they tackle Trim in a fortnight, this game will surely bring the lads on, given the lack of competitive games over recent times.
Well done lads, you dug in when the going got tough and ultimately came out on the right side of the scoreline. The entire team worked tirelessly throughout and it was this work rate that ultimately won the day. A special mention for Cathal Campbell who was a late call-up to the team and, despite the added pressure of a local derby, performed with great credit on his senior hurling championship debut.
Next up for Longwood – our footballers take on Ballinlough next Sunday in the 3rd round of the IFC while our hurlers square up to Trim in a fortnight.
Longwood: Enda Dixon, Kevin Maguire, Sean Coloe (0-1), Ross Kerrigan, Mickey Burke (0-2), Karl Ennis, Ryan Moore (0-3), Damien Healy, Cathal Campbell, Bob Maguire, Jim Dorran, Johnny Furey, Aaron Ennis, Anthony Healy (0-10), Gavin Griffin. Subs: Thomas Coloe for Jim Dorran
All fixtures/results/news can be found on www.longwoodgaa.com