Senior Men?s team take the bragging rights over Longford

September 13, 2023

Mullingar, 31 – Longford, 25

Mullingar played Longford in the Midland League on Friday night, and despite some early issues with the floodlighting, the conditions were perfect for rugby with practically no wind and dry conditions.

The early exchanges were tight with both tseams having several kicks at goal. However, Mullingar edged the kicking contest with Matias Pfaff, kicking three out of three, whereas Longford only managed one successful kick, to make the score 9- 3.

The first score of the night came following a penalty awarded against Longford for amounting to the referee. Daryl Quinn tapped quickly and charged into the Longford 22. The Mullingar forwards quickly recycled the ball at the ruck. The ball was moved from right to left through several pairs of hands and Ben McCarthy crossed the line to dot down. Matias Pfaff, kicks the conversion to make the score 16-3.

From the kick-off, Mullingar applied further pressure, but a scrum penalty followed by an offside penalty allowed Longford access to the Mullingar 22. Longford used their big pack of forwards to apply pressure close to the line, and Mullingar conceded several more penalties. Eventually, the referee lost patience and sent Niall Hannon to the bin for 10 minutes. Longford continued to apply pressure and eventually crossed in the corner. They were unsuccessful with the conversion attempt and the score was 16-8.

Matias Pfaff kicked another penalty from Mullingar to make the score 19-8 heading into the halftime break.

Mullingar started the second half strongly, and a good break by Paul Maxwell led to penalty advantage and allowed Ben McCarthy the opportunity to dunk a little chip over the top of the Longford defence, which Daryl Quinn regathered. Quinn linked with the supporting Ben McCarthy, who jinked and sidestepped to hold off the Longford defence before popping to Daryl Quinn, who crossed the line to add another try to the Mullingar score. Matias Pfaff, duly added the conversion to make the score 26-8.

Longford forwarded to yellow cards which meant they were playing with 13 against 15, and Mullingar were firmly in control. From a five-meter penalty, they chose to take a scrum but a near engagement let Longford off the hook. Two penalties later, Longford were in the Mullingar 22 and forced their way over for a try. Longford kicked the conversion to make the score 26-15.

A long clearing by Ben McCarthy was touched in flight which forced Longford to play out of their 22. Some good kick chase by Cian Lee forced a scrambling kick, which fell to Paul Maxwell, who looked certain to score, however, a Longford defender who was clearly offside cynically, tackled him and was sent to the bin for 10 minutes. Mullingar were unable to force their way over from the penalty, and Longford cleared their lines. From the lineout, Mullingar cleverly moved the ball from left to right and then back again, where Matias Pfaff found space and broke the line before popping to Paul Maxwell, who scored the try. Matias Pfaff was unable to add the conversion on this occasion to make the score 31-15.

The match appeared to be over at this point but two late tries from Longford left the closing stages a bit tense but Mullingar held on for the win. They will now face Edenderry in a Midland league final - the date for this final has not been set yet. Overall, the coaching staff will be happy with the improvements from the previous display against Edenderry but they know there is more work to be done before the first Leinster league match against North Kildare in two weeks’ time.

There were some good performances in this match, including messers Maxwell, Quinn and Alan Brabazon but perhaps the most pleasing was the composure at out-half by Ben McCarthy and the goalkicking prowess of Matias Pfaff. Hugh Rock, a graduate of our underage system, deserves a mention for his fine display of darts at hooker.

1 Donal McGovern

2. Hugh Rock

3. Chris Fox

4. Daniel Farrell

5. Daryl Quinn

6. Sean Cronin

7. Paul Maxwell (Capt)

8. Niall Hannon

9. Arthur Brabazon

10. Ben McCarthy

11. Lee Ryan

12. Alan Brabazon

13. David Lynam

14. Jack Sweeney

15. Matias Pfaff

16. Kevin Smith

17. Ben Glennon

18. Luke Finegan

19. Alan Naughton

20. Paul McCool

21. Alan O’Donoghue

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