Match Report

Town bottled up by Cork in Cup Quarter-Final

Sun Sep 10th 2017

Report by Tony Ghee

Longford Town 1-4 Cork City

Longford Town scorer: (Williams o.g. 65)
Cork City scorers: (Sadlier 24, Keohane 28, Sheppard 43, 51)

For the second successive year, Longford Town bowed out of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup losing 4-1 at home to Cork City at the City Calling Stadium. Four of the goalscorers from last season’s Cup game between the sides have moved onto pastures new as Kevin O’Connor, Seanie Maguire, and Chiedozie Ogbene have all left Cork, while Eddie Dsane is no longer with the Midlanders.However, Karl Sheppard who scored Cork’s third goal in last year’s tie produced the goods again for the Leesiders with a double salvo to help the cup holders and runaway Premier Division table-toppers progress to the last four of the blue riband competition.

It took the visitors fifteen minutes to settle into the contest but then they completely dominated proceedings and richly deserved the victory.

Morrissey was just wide of the Town post with a seventeenth minute twenty-yard effort and on twenty-two minutes a Griffin pass picked out Dooley whose twenty-five yard strike flashed just inches wide of the Town’s far post.

Cork took the lead in the twenty-fourth minute. A brilliant Keohane shot was superbly tipped around the post by Town stopper Brady, but the home defence were caught napping from the quickly taken corner as Keohane played it short to Sadlier and his left-wing delivery sailed over Brady into the net.

Four minutes later it was 2-0 to Cork as the impressive Griffin found Keohane with a precision cross and Keohane exquisitely curled his shot beyond Brady’s despairing dive into the bottom corner of the Longford net.

The rampant visitors should have scored again on thirty-four minutes as Sadlier’s excellent weaving run eventually resulted in the ball arriving at the feet of the unmarked Dooley inside the Town box but he somehow missed a glorious opportunity.

The Munster side did score a third just before half-time as Sheppard was adjudged to have been fouled by the referee’s assistant, and the striker dusted himself down before despatching the subsequent penalty with keeper Brady diving the wrong way.

It took Cork just seven minutes after the resumption to make it 4-0, as Sheppard scored his second of the match. The high-line Town defence was caught out by McCarthy’s clever ball and Sheppard timed his run to perfection to beat the offside trap and he coolly fired a low shot to the bottom left corner of the Longford net.

The Town did get a consolation goal in the sixty-fourth minute. Verdon won possession and sprayed the ball out to winger Hopkins, and his right-wing cross was sliced into his own net by Cork defender Robbie Williams.

The Town rallied after their goal and created some good chances. A crisp shot from Simon flew just past the far post and a David O’Sullivan goalbound shot was deflected narrowly over the bar by Cork defender Delaney.

Cork striker Sheppard was awarded the man-of-the-match accolade, but Keohane, Sadlier and Shane Griffin also impressed for the winners.

So the double is still on for a Cork side who now join league champions Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers and Limerick in the semi-finals of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup.

Longford Town: Brady, Friel, Haverty, O’Reilly, Noack-Hofmann, Hopkins, Dillon, Zambra, Kehoe, Verdon, O’Sullivan.
Substitutes: Cowan for Dillon (half-time), Chambers for Hopkins (76 minutes).

Cork City: McNulty, McCarthy, Williams, Delaney, Griffin, Bolger, Dooley, Morrissey, Sadlier, Keohane, Sheppard.
Substitutes: Ellis for Dooley (half-time), Campion for Sadlier (76 minutes).

Referee: Derek Tomney

FAI Cup Second Round – Bangor Celtic 0-1 Longford Town

Sat Aug 26th 2017

Report by Tony Ghee

Longford Town progressed to the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup with a hard fought 1-0 victory away to top Leinster Senior League side Bangor Celtic in Dublin last night courtesy of a stunning Don Cowan goal and an incredible wonder save from Town keeper Jack Brady.

The Town, who knocked out Premier Division Sligo Rovers in the last round, completely dominated the first half against their non-league opponents but failed to hit the target as the teams were scoreless at the break.

In the 9th minute, Hofmann’s goalbound header from a Chambers corner was cleared off the line and Kelly’s subsequent cross was headed against the Bangor bar by O’Reilly.

On 17 minutes, a brilliant Town move involving Friel, Kehoe, and Kelly resulted in O’Sullivan heading narrowly wide and on 24 minutes a Verdon header went just over the bar.

Another brilliant move in the 24th minute nearly gave the Town the lead. A superbly weighted long pass out of defence from Friel picked out O’Sullivan just outside the Bangor box and he expertly took the pace off the ball with his left foot, cushioning the ball onto his right foot before unleashing a sumptuous volley that flew just wide of the far post.

On the half-hour mark, a rampant Longford came close again only for Verdon’s thirty yard piledriver to whistle just over the crossbar.

Longford thought they had scored four minutes before the interval when O’Sullivan’s deflected header struck the inside of the post and bounced across the line with Verdon pouncing to prod home the rebound, however, the goal was disallowed as Verdon was offside.

Bangor Celtic may have been played off the park in the opening forty-five minutes, but the Leinster Senior League outfit were a vastly improved side in the Second-half as they played some excellent football creating chances that should have reaped dividends.

After the visitors came close again in the 53rd minute when Verdon’s glancing header from a Friel cross floated wide off the far post, the home side suddenly awoke from their slumber as they produced a fine move that resulted in Graham Zambra heading a Phillips cross inches wide.

On 65 minutes, the excellent Byrne fired in a twenty-five yard salvo that seemed destined for the top corner only for the cat-like Town keeper Brady to athletically claw the ball away to safety.

Within a minute, Longford almost broke the deadlock but former Town stopper Conlon produced a magnificent save from Kehoe after the Town winger had weaved his way into the Bangor box.

Soccer is often called the beautiful game and it’s beauty was epitomised on 71 minutes with a captivating, breathtaking goal that truly was beautiful.

O’Reilly delivered an exquisite crossfield ball into the path of substitute Cowan and he waltzed his way past four defenders with perfect balance and poise to finish off the move in style with a low shot beyond Conlon into the Bangor net.

Bangor Celtic responded well with two good chances to force extra-time. Firstly, Sinnott was just over with an excellent strike and then on 81 minutes, Town keeper Brady made a world class save. Graham Zambra’s excellent shot changed direction causing Brady to dive the wrong way, but somehow, the Town keeper adjusted his body and incredibly raised his feet upwards to produce an incredible save.

Bangor Celtic: Conlon, Phillips, Fadden, Keely, Bamba, Coleman, Murray, Dunne, Byrne, Graham Zambra, Fox.
Substitutes: Andrew Dunne for Bamba (49 minutes), Sinnott for Fox (73 minutes), O’Connor for Murray (89 minutes).

Longford Town: Brady, Friel, Haverty, O’Reilly, Noack-Hofmann, Chambers, Dean Zambra, Verdon, Kehoe, Kelly, O’Sullivan.

Substitutes: Cowan for Chambers (66 minutes), Dillon for Kehoe (87 minutes)

MATCH REPORT: Hat-trick of Hat-tricks for O’Sullivan earns joint record win for Longford

Sun Aug 20th 2017

Match report by Tony Ghee

Longford Town equalled their record league victory with a thumping 7-1 win over Athlone Town at the City Calling Stadium last night. The win matches the 6-0 home victory over Shamrock Rovers in May, 2014, and was richly deserved as David O’Sullivan’s third hat-trick of the season against Athlone, a double from Karl Chambers, and a goal each from Kealan Dillon and Daniel O’Reilly secured this emphatic triumph infront of the biggest league crowd of the season at the City Calling Stadium.

O’Sullivan scored his hat-trick inside 13 minutes with the first arriving as early as the 3rd minute. Kelly’s perfectly weighted defence-splitting pass put in the Longford striker and he fired a low diagonal shot into the bottom right corner.

Five minutes later, O’Sullivan headed home a Kelly corner at the near post, and in the 13th minute O’Sullivan’s awareness allowed him to beat the Athlone offside trap as he ran onto a long clearance before calmly shooting past Labuts into the Athlone net.

Remarkably, this was O’Sullivan’s third hat-trick of the 2017 season against Athlone, and the club’s fourth, as current Athlone Town striker Enda Curran also scored a hat-trick against Athlone when he wore the ‘Red and Black’ earlier in the season.

The home side could have been much further ahead at the interval as they had several other chances to add to O’Sullivan’s hat-trick. In the 11th minute, O’Reilly’s powerful header from a Kelly corner was magnificently tipped over by Labuts. A twenty-five yard effort from Kelly went narrowly wide, and a clever Kelly cut-back from the end-line picked out midfielder Verdon who shot wide from a good position.

Athlone briefly got back into the contest two minutes after the restart when Gaffey’s deflected shot from the edge of the box nestled in the Longford net.

The ‘Red and Black’ restored their three goal cushion just before the hour mark when Kelly’s corner was headed home from a tight angle at the back post by centre-half O’Reilly, and Don Cowan almost scored number five on 68 minutes but his shot was cleared off the line by Athlone captain Dragos.

The home side did score a fifth goal on 76 minutes as Chambers pounced to score on the rebound after O’Sullivan’s effort was initially blocked. Substitute Dillon made it 6-1 on 81 minutes with a stunning twenty-five yard volley, and two minutes after that it was 7-1. Dillon and Hofmann combined to set up Chambers whose deflected shot rattled the Athlone net.

Longford Town finished the match with four players on the team who have come up through the underage system. Noack-Hofmann and Chambers both started, while Dervan and Beya came on as substitutes in the 58th and 74th minutes respectively.

Longford Town: Brady, Chambers, Haverty, O’Reilly, Noack-Hofmann, Cowan, Verdon, Zambra, Kehoe, O’Sullivan, Kelly.
Substitutes: Dervin for Zambra (58 minutes), Dillon for Kelly (64 minutes), Beya for Kehoe (74 minutes).

Athlone Town: Labuts, McCartan, Folan, Dragos, McGrane, Walsh, Carmondy, Spelman, Gaffey, Nkololo, Layng.
Substitute: Arebiyi-Atoki for Walsh (72 minutes).

Referee: Tomas Connolly.

MATCH REPORT: Town knock out Sligo Rovers in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup

Sun Aug 13th 2017

Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup First Round

Saturday 12th August 2017 / City Calling Stadium /  7.30pm

Longford Town 4-2 Sligo Rovers

667 were on hand to witness Longford Town defeat Sligo Rovers and dump them out of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup after the first round clash at City Calling Stadium. An early goal from Karl Chambers put Longford in front before Sligo got 2 back to go in leading at the break. Town eventually equalised through Sam Verdon before going on to win 4-2 after extra time with goals from Man of the Match Peter Hopkins and Kealan Dillon.

Longford came into the game minus the services of club captain Kevin O’Connor who picked up an injury a couple of weeks ago and with regular #1 Paul Skinner also on the injury list, U19 keeper Adam Kenny was promoted to the first team bench. Neale Fenn’s men were boosted, however, by the return to fitness of super striker Davy O’Sullivan. Sligo had no injury worries but were without Tobi Adebayo-Rowling who was suspended.

The returning Section O were as loud as ever as the game kicked off. New signing Peter Hopkins signalled his intent immediately with a darting run down the right wing to get a cross in. Sligo, however, were the first with a real chance. Benny Igiehon ended up free in the b0x but Noel Haverty pulled off a last ditch tackle to get it away. Davy O’Sullivan had a chance for Longford as Friel’s cross was met in the air by the Wicklow man but it was over the bar. Moments later Sligo almost opened the scoring but Jack Brady pulled off a brilliant save, the first of many in a possible man of the match performance.

Longford opened the scoring on 26 minutes – Dean Zambra threading a lovely through ball to Karl Chambers in the box who easily put it past Michael Schlingermann in the Sligo goal. The stadium erupted.

Sligo responded almost immediately. Rovers captain John Russell swung a cross in to find Daniel Kearns who made no mistake in heading home. Town players called for offside but to no avail. Sligo got their second 3 minutes before half time, the big man Benny Igiehon, muscling his way through the box and scoring from close range after a Sligo corner wasn’t cleared.

Longford started the second half the livelier of the two. Peter Hopkins, who caused trouble all night, once again getting crosses in from the right hand side. Town began to apply pressure but did have to withstand some Sligo attacks. Brady in goal, pulling off a number of great saves. De Town had a chance to equalise when Daniel O’Reilly leaped high to header a Jake Kelly corner but Schlingermann saved. Don Cowan, who replaced Aidan Friel, was physical from the get go, winning a free immediately after coming on. The free was laid off to Sam Verdon who played in Davy O’Sullivan but his low shot was just wide. Town equalised in the 83rd minute after Sam Verdon headed home brilliantly from a Peter Hopkins cross. There was nothing Schlingermann could do about it. Moments later, Brady came to Longfords rescue once again, this time pulling off a finger tip save to deflect the ball on to the crossbar and out for a corner. Sligo eventually ran out of steam and the game went into extra time with the score level at 2-2.

Town came out all guns blazing in extra time. Karl Chambers and Jake Kelly who never stopped running all night, worked tirelessly to chase every ball down. Longford took the lead after breaking from a Sligo corner. The ball fell to Peter Hopkins who made no mistake in burying it in the back of the net. Neale Fenn and Gary Cronin erupted in joy as the City Calling Stadium rocked. Sligo had a penalty waved away just before half time of extra time. Things went from bad to worse for the Bit O’Red as McDonagh picked up a yellow for diving then moments later was sent off for two footed tackle. Town took advantage of the extra man, breaking out from the back, the ball was played to Kealan Dillon (who replaced Verdon) who then rounded the Sligo defender before cooly slotting it low past Schlingermann to end the game.

In scenes, reminiscent of previous years’ cup runs of old, City Calling Stadium was a cauldron of noise and colour and smiles. In 1969, just like tonight, a Longford Town team many thought to be easy pickings for most premier teams, defeated Sligo Rovers in the FAI Cup. Tonight, the same result was achieved, once again proving, that although a lot of things change in football, the fighting spirit of Longford Town FC will always remain.

Longford Town: Jack Brady; Aidan Friel (Don Cowan 76), Noel Haverty, Daniel O’Reilly, Tristan Noack-Hofmann, Peter Hopkins, Jake Kelly (Rhys Gorman 112), Dean Zambra, Sam Verdon (Kealan Dillon 104), Karl Chambers; David O’Sullivan.

Subs not used: Adam Kenny, Cody Mulhall, Aodh Dervin, Paul Finnegan.

Sligo Rovers: Schlingermann; McDonagh, Leahy, McFadden, Donelon; Russell (Kenny 72), McCabe, Kearns (Cretaro 75); Boylan; Igiehon (Faherty 58), Moorehouse.

Subs not used: Patton, Sharkey, Roddan, Haughton.

Attendance: 667

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