Longford Town 2 - 4 Mervue United
Report by: Rachael McKeon
In a game that ebbed and flowed throughout it was end to end action in Fahy’s field on Saturday last as visitors Longford Town took on Mervue Utd. The Town got off to the best possible start when striker Alex Kenny put the ball past Healy in the Mervue goal to open the scoring for Longford just five minutes in after Ryan Carberry delivered a great ball from the left wing which Kenny met on the volley.
This spurred Mervue on and five minutes later they appealed for a handball in the Town box but the referee was in a great position to see Town defender David Mackey clearly take the ball on his chest and waved play on. Over the next twenty minutes the game was fast and furious with both sides battling hard in midfield and creating plenty of chances. For a second time in the game Mervue were appealing for a penalty and yet again it was Town defender Mackey at the brunt of the Mervue appeals. Both himself and the home sides Ryan Manning went for the ball in the box but Manning managed to poke the ball away only for Mackey to catch his leg after the ball had gone which left the referee with no choice but to point to the penalty spot. Manning dusted himself off and calmly slotted the ball past McNamara in the Town goal to level the score with half an hour on the clock. Mervue now pilled the pressure on and played a long ball over the heads of the defenders and saw their number nine Dillon Murphy beat the offside trap only to meet the out coming McNamara who bravely smothered the ball at the attackers feet. On thirty five minutes the away side had a good chance to take the lead through an Alex Kenny free kick but after curling the ball over the Mervue wall he was unable to beat the keeper who saved just under the crossbar. Just before the half time whistle sounded Town keeper McNamara made another great save after a mix up in the box resulted in Mervue having a pop shot and with this save the sides went in level at the break.
It was Mervue that had the first chance to take the lead when the sides re-emerged for the second half, when their number ten Manning bet the Town defence and drilled his shot low and hard only to see his shot go just wide of the far post. Within a minute however Longford had their own chance to go ahead when midfielder Aaron Brilly floated a free kick into the Mervue box that was unlucky not to reach the head of an unmarked Kenny when the home keeper rose highest and claimed the ball in the air. Both teams rallied from here in search of a lead goal and yet again it was the Towns danger man Kenny who stepped up to the mark for the away side finishing low and hard into the bottom corner of the Mervue net following a wonderful ball into the box by substitute Kieran McNamara. Unfortunately for Longford this lead was fleeting as just one minute later Mervue levelled matters again when Richard Fahy rose above the visiting defence to direct an inswining cross past McNamara. Longford’s net minder was called upon again just two minutes later and made a great save from a close range shot to keep his side in it. Ten minutes from the end Mervue took the lead for the first time in this exciting encounter when a clearance from Town defender Paul Rushe was blocked down, the ball was crossed in and met by the incoming Manning who drilled a header beyond the reach of an unlucky McNamara. There was a double blow to come for the away side when firstly they went two goals down with just two minutes to go when the Mervue winger made a dangerous run along the end line, he then squared the ball to Fahy who finished the ball to the net. Then came the second blow when from the resulting kick off Longford played an early ball into the box where Kenny controlled the ball and was taken down by the out coming keeper Healy but somehow the referee judged that it was not a foul and waved play on. Not long after this the game came to an end. The home side that started the day joint top of the league table knew they had been in a hard game and would have been delighted to come away with all three points from what was a highly exciting, hard fought and entertaining encounter.
Next up for Longford Town is another Galway club in the form of GUST on Saturday at 2pm in Flancare Park.
Longford Town: David McNamara, Cormac Kennedy, Paul Rushe, David Mackey, Ruairi Carberry, Aaron Brilly(c), Dean Cosgrave, Michael James, Brian McNamara, Ryan Carberry, Alex Kenny.
Subs: Mark Rossiter for B. McNamara (56mins), Kieran McNamara for Cosgrave (63mins), Patrick Clinton for James (78mins).
Not Used: Paul Kennedy, Steven Boateng, Cillian Glacken, Jamie Coady, Liam O’Farrell.
Mervue Utd: James Healy, Eric Neary, Shane McNamara, Padraig Keane, Dylan Thornton, Luke Tully, Eoghan Walsh, Richard Fahy, Dillon Murphy, Ryan Manning, Aaron Mc Donagh.
Subs: Mark Gibbons, Aidan O’Sullivan, Evan Boyce, Sergio Nkolovata, Moise Assogba, Daniel Lenihan, Cian Mc Donnell.