Longford look at bigger picture ahead of O’Byrne Cup final

Silverware desirable but Division 3 league status takes priority for Liam Connerton

 

Longford’s Liam Connerton has admitted that balancing their O’Byrne Cup final ambitions with their need to hit the ground running just days later in the Allianz League is a testing challenge.

Connerton, son of new manager Denis, struck the crucial goal that helped secure a surprise O’Byrne Cup semi-final win over Dublin last weekend.

Longford’s reward is a final against Meath in Navan next Sunday and the chance to claim just a third ever title on top of their solitary National Football League and Leinster championship wins.

Longford clearly can’t snub a potential final win though they also have to look to the bigger picture of securing their status as a Division 3 team following promotion in 2015.

Central Council’s proposal to place Division 4 counties in a B championship in future may further focus Longford’s minds towards staying in Division 3 this year.

‘Massive challenge’

“We have Offaly first up in round one and they will pose a massive challenge down in Tullamore. We had a big fight with them down there last year and we just got out with the win, in the championship, and we know they’ll be waiting for us.

“So hopefully we can get through next weekend without any injuries, anyone vital. We really don’t want to lose anyone. But look, with Longford, any silverware that we can get, we’ll take it. If we can get it next weekend, that would be fantastic. It would be really something.”

Connerton has overcome a hand injury and required just four minutes following his 60th-minute introduction to score his goal against Dublin, moving Longford from three to six points ahead. In all, the half-dozen point win represented a 33-point swing having lost to Dublin by 27 points when the sides met in last year’s Leinster championship.

Longford clearly weren’t traumatised by last year’s setback and life under new manager Denis Connerton has begun well.

“I suppose I’m used to Dad managing,” said UCD student Liam. “I would have trained under him at primary school and he would have taken my club team at under-14s. He’s always had an influence on my football. But we’re able to keep it very professional. I don’t think anyone minds that relationship being there. The bottom line is you won’t be getting your place unless you work for it, simple as that.”

Mick O’Dowd’s Meath overcame Longford by eight points in round two of last year’s O’Byrne Cup though the counties have generally met sparingly over the years.

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