Longwood’s senior hurling championship campaign got off to an ignominious start with a comprehensive defeat to neighbours Boardsmill.
The result extends Longwood’s winless run in the hurling championship, and they can have few complaints after what was a below par performance.
Longwood took an early lead courtesy of an Anthony Healy free in the opening minute. The free was a result of a heavy tackle on Joe Stenson just after the throw-in. Warrior that he is, Stenson dusted himself off and gave a typically gritty display, one of the few men in white to shine over the hour.
Sadly, the early lead was not a sign of things to come. In fact, it was the only time Longwood would lead in the entire game.
Boardsmill settled and looked far more assured; two goals in the opening ten minutes gave them a strong foothold and they rarely looked in trouble from then on. A third goal, a long distance free which somehow found it’s way through to the net gave them a nine-point lead. They had pushed their advantage out to ten points by the half-time break and it would be churlish to argue that they didn’t deserve it.
Half-time: Boardsmill 3-6 Longwood 0-5
A ten-point lead is not insurmountable, especially in hurling, but to have any hope Longwood would have to start the second half with a bang. An early Mickey Burke point from play was backed up by another over, this time from a majestic Ryan Moore side-line cut and the faint hopes of the Longwood support were on the rise. A goal at this point would have really set the cat amongst the pigeons but it wasn’t to be. In truth Longwood struggled to manufacture any goal chances throughout the game, instead preferring to shoot for points from distance.
A run of four successive points re-established Boardsmill’s superiority and the game was essentially up with fifteen minutes to go. Damien Healy was sent off late in the game, picking up a second yellow card after remonstrating with the referee. The Longwood and Meath star was understandably frustrated having been subjected to persistent fouling throughout the game and was surely deserving of a number of frees. However, the referee thought differently.
The match petered out to its now inevitable conclusion, a clear cut victory for Boardsmill.
Losing a championship game is always disappointing but the manner of the defeat will be the greatest cause of concern for Longwood. The rarely reached the pitch of the game and were unable to get out of second gear for the most part. Their shooting accuracy (9 scores converted out of 21 scoring opportunities) will have to improve dramatically as such a conversion rate will not win many games.
The second round of the championship is less than two weeks away and the clash with Clann Na nGael takes on even greater significance in light of Saturday’s result.
That said, it is early days and we can be sure the boys will redouble their efforts in the next fortnight with a view to delivering a much improved performance in the next round. We know it is in them.
Longwood: Damien Delaney, Johnny Furey, Ross Kerrigan, Alan O’Toole, Mark Kennedy (Joint Captain), Damien Healy, Ryan Moore (Joint Captain) (0-2), Mickey Burke (0-3), Sean Coloe (0-1), Anthony Healy (0-3), Thomas Coloe, Joe Stenson, Paul Gill, Gavin Griffith, Niall Mulvey. Subs: Billy Hogan, Cathal Campbell, Bob Maguire, Jim Dorran, David Dixon