By Mike Fitzpatrick
Rockland 3-19, Longford 0-10
GAA history was made on Sunday when the Rockland club made its first ever appearance at Gaelic Park as a senior football team.
Rockland fought their way out of the tough junior division A last year, defeating Denis Tuomey’s impressive Rangers side in the junior final. However, there were some skeptics concerning the length of Rockland’s stay in the senior divisions but the upstate side rammed those criticisms down the throats of the naysayers on Sunday, with a convincing performance that rocked Longford.
Mike Fitzpatrick, the sanctioned weekend forward on the Rockland side, got the afternoon off to a perfect start with a couple of well-deserved points for his side. Teammate Damian O’Brien followed up with another effort.
Mike Cronin’s Longford side got back on track, with efforts from David Coleman registering on the scoreboard. Coleman was arguably Longford’s best player on the day. Without former New York All-Star Kevin Lilly, Cronin’s men never truly gelled up front. Coleman, assisted by his cohorts in the forward line, Kevin O’Brien and Michael Sheridan, did manage some counter attacking, but in the second half it was all Rockland.
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In the first 30 minutes, there was never more than a point or two between the sides, but after the break, Rockland were a different side. The Longford backline was unprepared for the onslaught provided by Fitzpatrick in particular, and goals came from Gerry O’Riordan, Damian O’Brien and Peter Corcoran.
Eventually winning this tie by such a wide margin, Rockland will surely make the rest of Div. II sit up and take notice. It would be a fantastic achievement for this young club to receive another promotion to reach the pinnacle of New York football, but on today’s performance, maybe that’s not such a crazy dream.
Longford must sit down and take stock of themselves, and try to get their long term plan together. Two defeats so early in the season do not auger well for this club, and unless they turn the corner in their next game in a few weeks, they’ll surely find themselves in trouble.
Longford: Kieran McCann, Niall Corbett, Eoin Bland, Dan Harrington, Dessie McGoldrick, Brendan Lennon, Barry Kavanagh, Mike Bishop, Brian O’Connor, Kevin O’Brien (0-2), Brendan Donohue, David Coleman (0-7), Pat O’Halloran, Aidan McGoldrick, Michael Sheridan (0-1). Sun Declan Bracken.
Rockland: Jimmy Dwyer, Kieran Lee, Tom O’Riordan, Dermot Yorke, Tommy Acton, Mike Healy, Donal Cassidy, Paddy Corcoran, Tom McHugh, Peter Corcoran (1-1), Mike Fitzpatrick (0-8), Gerry O’Riordan (1-2), Dave Fitzgerald (0-5), Damian O’Brien (1-3), Paul Rowley, Sub: Billy Horan.