Thursday 19 April 2018

It's up to the rest to catch Dublin, insists Longford boss Connerton

Longford manager Denis Connerton Photo: Sportsfile
Longford manager Denis Connerton Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Carlow made a stand for Leinster last Sunday and now it's Longford's turn to try to provide another boost for a province whose counties currently occupy five of the six relegation places in the top three divisions of the Allianz football League.

Dublin's relentless pursuit of glory and records has taken them so far ahead of the rest of Leinster that it's difficult to see a serious challenge emerging for the foreseeable future.

That creates a risk that motivation levels will drop in some counties, although the opposite appears to be the case in Carlow, who have secured promotion from Division 4 for the first time in 33 years, and Longford, who will return to Division 2 for the first time since 2013 if they beat Fermanagh on Sunday. It's a huge occasion for them and manager Denis Connerton is hoping that the county gets behind the team in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.

Progress

"Fermanagh will bring a big crowd so we don't want it to sound like an away game for us. This is a real chance to get into Division 2 and we want to do everything we can to make it happen," he said.

While Longford are making steady progress, beating Dublin is still well off their agenda but Connerton believes that if the gap is to be bridged, all Leinster counties must re-double their efforts.

"There's no point complaining about Dublin or what they have. They are setting the standards and they won't be coming back down. It's up to the rest of us in Leinster to get to a position where we can challenge them. That's the incentive for everyone," he said.

Rising through the divisions is an important step in that process for Longford, for whom a draw with Fermanagh would be enough to win promotion.

They have taken nine of a possible 12 points so far, losing only to Armagh by a point.

"That was disappointing - we deserved something from that game. But, overall, we are in a good position. We're on target for what we set out to achieve at the start of the season and now it's in our own hands," he said.

He strengthened his backroom team this season and is delighted with the positive impact.

"We're making the best of what we have in Longford, which is all anyone can ask for. Hopefully, we can now take it to the next stage and get into Division 2," he said.

They will be without Michael Quinn (honeymoon) and Seán McCormack (injured) and face a tough task against opposition who are seeking to return to Division 2 after being relegated last year.

Irish Independent

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