Report by: Rachael Mc Keon
Longford Town U19’s returned to league action this weekend in front of a large crowd at Oriel Park against Dundalk FC. The Town travelled without a keeper as Fallon (injured) and Devlin (exams) were both unavailable for today’s encounter. After missing out on last weekend’s Cup success against Finn Harps through injury striker Paddy Cheevers stepped up to the mark and went between the posts for Longford.
It wasn’t long before he was tested as Dundalk went on attack after attack from the start of the game. It wasn’t just Dundalk pushing forward as Longford pilled pressure on the home side also. The game was played at a blistering pace from the start and this was to continue for the entire ninety minutes. Both defences had plenty to contend with from start to finish. Longford’s striker turned keeper did well in his new role early on and pulled off some fine saves to deny the Dundalk strike force. Eventually though the home side broke the deadlock when in the seventeenth minute the ball was swung into the six yard box and met by the head of the Dundalk midfielder who headed past the inexperienced Cheevers. The Town got right back into it though and were not unnerved by the goal and managed to test the Dundalk keeper after some nice link up play between Carberry, Cosgrave and Rossiter but the home net minder was to deny Carberry’s excellent shot. Both sides continued to battle hard for the remainder of the half but the Town went in 1-0 down at the break.
Dundalk started the second half as they did the first and within five minutes of the restart they went 2-0 up when the ball fell loose in the box and the striker put it past the unfortunate Cheevers in the Town goal. It was only to get worse for Longford three minutes later when the same player was left unmarked in the box and slotted the ball past Cheevers again to make it 3-0 to the home side. Within a matter of minutes with the Longford heads down Dundalk got a throw deep in the Towns half which was linked onto and drilled into the box where an incoming Dundalk player finished well past an out coming Cheevers. At this stage when you would expect a team to totally give up Longford dusted themselves down and showed character to keep fighting for each other and for their pride. With this came a moment of magic that this team has shown more than once this season even when staring defeat in the face. Defender turned striker Effe Sodje weaved his way down the left and showed his strength to hold off the Dundalk defence before laying the ball back to the edge of the box where the incoming Cosgrave hit a powerful shot into the top of the Dundalk net. This goal seemed to spark the Town back to life and gave them hope of redeeming themselves again. They had several chances to add more goals to the score sheet but it was not to be as a mix of the home keeper making some fine saves and some tired shots meant they would get no further rewards for their hard work. With six minutes remaining Dundalk added to their tally when the left winger eluded the Town defence and slotted the ball home at the front post for or a flattering score line of 5-1.
The Town will be hoping they can reverse their fortunes against Dundalk next weekend in the second round of the Cup as they did with Finn Harps in the last round after being beaten the previous weekend in the league by the same opposition. The second round of the Cup will be played in Flancare Park on Sunday at 2pm.
The Longford Town U19 team and management would like to thank Spar Express on the Dublin Rd. in Longford for their kind sponsorship.
Longford Town: Paddy Cheevers, Patrick Clinton, Steven Boateng, Shane O’Connell, Cillian Glacken, Leo Araujo, Dean Cosgrave, Sean Flannery, Mark Rossiter, Effe Sodje, Darren Carberry.
Subs: Andrew Stead for Glacken (62mins), Padraig Gallagher for Rossiter (78mins), James Donnelly for Carberry (85mins).
Not Used: Ciaran Fagan