Barden: Longford fired up for battle

THEIR qualifier success over Mayo in Pearse Park last July was one of the most uplifting stories of the summer but it’s the subsequent defeat to Down which Longford attacker Paul Barden uses for motivation in 2011.

“Mayo was a great scalp for us to take,” he admitted. “The home game stood to us that day and we caught them on the hop. But a lot of people forget that we played Down after that and we were beaten by only three or four points above in Newry in shocking bad weather. We conceded a penalty that we thought was pretty soft as well.

“All we can do is take the positives from it, when you see how they have progressed from last year.

“They have gone from strength to strength. Hopefully Longford is heading the same way.”

Ahead of tomorrow’s Leinster opener, the vibes are currently good in the county. Last year’s Leinster minor triumph was followed by an appearance in this season’s provincial U21 decider. The seniors made fine progress during the spring as well by winning the Division Four final last month.

“There is a good buzz around. It was disappointing to see the U21s beaten in the final this year but with the minors winning in Croke Park last year and the U21s doing so well, the future looks bright for Longford.

“Setting out at the start of the year, promotion to Division Three was our aim. Anything after that was a bonus but it was nice to win a bit of silverware in Croke Park.”

Barden credits one man for the upswing in their fortunes — manager Glenn Ryan. “There’s no doubt about it Glenn was a new man coming into Longford three years ago. He would tell you himself, he was only learning. I’ve to say the man has learned from year to year and he is going from strength to strength.”

LAOIS: E Culleton; C Healy, K Meaney, M Timmons; D Strong, S Julian, P O’Leary; C Begley, B Quigley; D Carroll, J O’Loughlin, N Donoher; R Munnelly, B Sheehan, MJ Tierney.

LONGFORD: D Sheridan; D Brady, B Gilleran, D Reilly; S Mulligan, K Diffley, N Farrell; B McElvanney, M Brady; D Barden, P Dowd, P Barden; D McElligott, B Kavanagh, S McCormack.

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