Longford Town 1 - 1 Limerick FC
Report by: Rachael McKeon
On Saturday afternoon last Longford Town U19’s finished off their season at home in Flancare Park against League runners up Limerick FC. Even though many would have thought this game was a dead rubber that could not have been further from the truth. Both teams had players that were pushing for inclusion in their respective senior squads for the upcoming Airtricity League season and so it made for an entertaining game.
As the game kicked off it was evident that this was going to be a tough game with hard hitting tackles flying in from the start. Both teams were also playing some attractive football and it was the home side that almost opened the scoring in the tenth minute. Kieran McNamara swung in a corner that was met by Boni Odomene on the half volley but his shot went narrowly wide of the Limerick goal. Minutes later K. McNamara and the Limerick right full back went in for a fifty fifty challenge and unfortunately the Limerick player needed treatment for a serious knee injury which resulted in a lengthy break in play before he was stretchered off and taken to hospital by ambulance for further treatment. McNamara required treatment for a nasty cut on his knee but luckily for the Longford side he was able to play on. Once play resumed it took awhile for the tempo to rise again but when it did both teams created chances to open the scoring for their side. David McNamara in the Town goal made a number of good save’s, he was ever alert and quick off his line to snuff out Limerick’s advances on goal. For Longford, Odomene, John Reed and Dean Murphy all went close to opening the scoring but were unable to break the deadlock and both sides went in level at the break.
As the second half got underway Longford took the game to their opponents and within a minute of the restart Murphy almost opened the scoring when he headed the ball goal ward from a corner only for the ball to be cleared off the line by a defender. Minutes later the visitor’s efforts were thwarted by good work from Town defenders Sean Duarte and Brian McNamara. As the half went on there was a real cup feel to the game as both sides pushed on looking for a goal. On 77 minutes the deadlock was broken when the home side received a corner that was met at the back post by Murphy who headed the ball into the top corner of the Limerick net. This seemed to be the catalyst for Limerick to throw everything forward. The Town defence stood strong but unfortunately for them in the 85th minute the visitors got a free kick on the edge of the Town penalty area. The free was played into the box where their striker lost his marker and slotted the ball past an unlucky McNamara who almost got to the ball first. In the 88th minute Ryan Carberry pulled the Limerick winger down in the box and the referee was left with no choice but to point to the penalty spot. The Limerick player dusted himself off and stepped up to take the penalty but McNamara pulled off a great save and then made a wonderful reaction save for the rebound. This was nothing more than the home side deserved as defeat would not have been a fair reflection on the game for either side. In the end a draw was a fair result. As the referee blew the final whistle and both sides left the field it was clear to see how much this game had taken out of both sets of players. Credit to both teams that in the final game of the season they still gave 100% and left everything on the pitch. The future of the Airtricity League certainly looks bright with players like that coming through.
The Management team of Longford Town U19’s, Philip Coffey and Adrian Massop would like to thank everyone who helped out throughout the season with the running of the team and especially the players and their families for their hard work and dedication.
Longford Town: David McNamara, Sean Duarte, Brian McNamara, Steven Boateng, Kieran McNamara, Aaron Brilly(c), Boni Odomene, Ryan Carberry, Dean Murphy, Paul Kennedy, John Reed.
Subs: Dean Cosgrave for Kennedy (67mins), Ruairi Carberry for Duarte (80mins), Cillian Glacken for Reed (80mins).
Limerick FC: Unavailable.