Player Interview


Fri Aug 10th 2018


Longford Town have an exciting Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup First Round tie against Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds on Saturday evening at 7.45pm.

Last season saw an inspired Town dispose of their upcoming opponents Sligo by four goals to two at the City Calling Stadium as Neale Fenn’s young guns stunned Ger Lyttle’s Bit O’ Red with goals from Karl Chambers, Sam Verdon, Peter Hopkins and Kealan Dillon.

[caption id="attachment_18746" align="aligncenter" width="1368"] Longford Town defeated The Bit O’Red 4-2 after extra-time in last year’s FAI Cup.[/caption]

Ahead of the impending clash which has pitted the two N4 rivals together once again, local star and current first-team left back Tristan Noack-Hofmann spoke exclusively to reporter Andrew Dempsey ahead of a salivating do-or-die cup clash against Sligo Rovers on Saturday evening.

Discussed in this interview was our season to date alongside the exciting times that only cup games bring to the table against the best teams the country has to offer.

Consolidating his place in the first-team this year with twenty league games under his belt thus far, Tristan has made the left back spot his own in recent seasons at the City Calling Stadium with many solid defensive displays of grit and determination.
Saying that, he has experienced many ups and downs already in his short career as a League of Ireland footballer, none more so than the recent defeat at Tolka Park.

Now 20, the impressive full-back noted that it was vitally important for the team to bounce back in the way they did against Athlone last week as Neale Fenn’s side look to find that all important momentum between now and the end of the season at the City Calling Stadium.

“It was a difficult weekend for us after the Shels game. At half time or even after an hour you would never have seen anything like that coming but it is what it is, and it was important that we bounced back against Athlone last week. We needed another win under our belts and we’ve a big cup game this weekend against Sligo. Confidence is so important because we have a young squad and thankfully we got a good win against Athlone!”

Lying on 38 points in the First Division league table in 5th place, just four points behind Drogheda United and Shelbourne in 3rd and 4th spot respectively, Town look primed for an end of season assault on the play-offs.

While the title is now mathematically out of reach at the Strokestown Road venue, Noack-Hofmann believes that it is of paramount importance for the team to keep getting points on the board between now and the end of the season as the Red and Black of the Midlands hunt down an elusive Playoff spot.

“In general, we’ve been quite consistent this year. Our levels of football and the way we play has stayed the same throughout. As a squad we’ve gelled together incredibly well. Fair enough the results might not always be the best or the points tally may not have been fair on us so far. Performances have been quite good this year apart from one or two results especially Finn Harps away. We just need to keep getting points on the board between now and the end of the season and who knows what will happen then!”

Comparing last year’s First Division to the latest instalment of it which has seen plenty of twists and turns thus far, the Longford/Cavan border native remarked that it is a far more enjoyable competition to play in this term, citing the unpredictability of results as the major reason as to why.

“It’s so much more enjoyable compared to last year! Every game means so much and you can go to every ground thinking you can get a win on the board. There’s no such weekend when you look at teams saying they’ll beat them or vice versa. As we’ve seen already it’s just so unpredictable. Cabinteely can go and beat UCD or Athlone could go off and take points off anyone. It’s just that kid of a year! You have to take each game as it comes and play to the best of your ability.”

With an improved buzz around Longford Town this year in terms of attendances and results, Tristan noted that he feels no different this year in terms of supporter expectations compared to his previous seasons in the Red and Black as both himself and close friend Aodh Dervin have played starring roles in Neale Fenn’s side.

“To be honest I don’t feel any different this year compared to other years playing for the club. Aodh and I are certainly enjoying our football. We’re both being allowed to express ourselves and that’s a great way to be. The club have been great to us so far and the fans have been so supportive of us when we get out there. They’ve taken us under their wings and have helped us along the way. Expectation is always good in a way but too much expectation is not good. I think we’ve had the perfect balance which has let us excel and allowed us to enjoy our football!”

With this week signalling the introduction of League of Ireland teams into the FAI Cup, the Longford Town FC academy graduate noted that he would love to be involved in another FAI Cup run akin to last year’s adventure in the storied cup competition.

“Cup runs are always great! As good as the First Division is this year, you always relish the feeling of going to big grounds in front big crowds against the best teams there are. You get a real buzz getting out onto the pitch when you’re in the middle of a cup run. You play against the best players and we’ll notice that against Sligo. They have an unbelievable squad and it’s a great experience when you get to play against players of that calibre. A cup run is so important for us lads to experience vibes of a higher league and the differences of playing at that elite level.”

With Manager and Assistant Manager Neale Fenn and Daire Doyle having plenty of fantastic experience in the FAI Cup during their playing careers, the 20-year-old defender noted that the experienced duo have passed on plenty of advice to the players ahead of the exciting cup clash against Sligo come 7.45pm on Saturday night.

“Neale and Daire have been very helpful in getting us ready for the game against Sligo on Saturday night. We know that we’re playing a very good Sligo team and we’ll stick to our own philosophy which has got us to where we are already. We’ve been good with that side of our game throughout this season with Neale and Daire, although we play different teams with different challenges, we’ve generally stuck to our philosophy which has helped us. I think it’s important that we stay to that because that’s how we play best!”

Remarkably, Town have quite an impressive record against Premier Division sides in the Cup competitions under the stewardship of Neale Fenn.  Only Cork City have got the better of De Town since Fenn’s arrival in late June 2017 as the 40-year-old Londoner has masterminded wins against the likes of Sligo Rovers and Shamrock Rovers previously in both the FAI and EA Sports Cups during the last twelve months.

An evident aspect of our new style of play, introduced by Neale Fenn, has been the ability for his side to test seasoned Premier Division clubs.

This sentiment was echoed by Tristan when he spoke about the Sligo game at the Showgrounds who believes the team plays better when they are given a crack at bigger teams on quality surfaces.

“The thing with us is we play better when we play good opposition on good pitches. When we play the likes of Cabinteely away on a rugby pitch or Athlone away we struggle to get our game going.  On pitches like the Showgrounds in Sligo we really enjoy it. We always put in our better performances when we go out and strut our stuff on better pitches because that’s the kind of team we are. Hopefully the Showgrounds will be in good nick like it always is and we’ll see what happens!”

And finally, Noack-Hofmann had this message for the supporters thanking them for the support they have given the team so far this season.

[caption id="attachment_18749" align="alignnone" width="2048"] Tristan was named last year’s LTFC Young Player of the Year.[/caption]

“The support for us has been immense so far this season. You really notice it when we play at the City Calling Stadium and other grounds throughout the country. When we come out from the dressing room, you get that extra 10% which is such a massive boost to ourselves. When we were at Tolka it was like we had a home game! It really gives you that extra push when you need it most and it’s really important to us!”


Fri May 4th 2018

Interview by Andrew Dempsey

Since joining the club in July 2017, Sam Verdon has established himself as one of Neale Fenn’s most trusted creative sparks in the midfield area, during his brief, yet fruitful stint at Longford Town having joined the club from former club St Patrick’s Athletic in last year’s summer transfer window.

So, ahead of this weekend’s bumper weekend of action down in Cobh, Sam spoke with reporter Andrew Dempsey, as the pair looked back on a heart-breaking few weeks for De Town while also looking ahead to an exciting weekend of action at St Colman’s Park.

After joining the club shortly after the arrival of Neale Fenn at the helm, Sam noted that he has thoroughly enjoyed his spell in the Red and Black of Longford Town so far.

“It’s been great! When I first came the league was more or less over as Waterford had the league wrapped up, but we had a good cup run to the quarter-finals against Cork City. It was great for myself personally to get some senior games under my belt and obviously since the start of this year we started off well, but we’ve had a few bad results in recent weeks, but it’s been good so far and I’ve really enjoyed it!”

Having worked under Liam Buckley at St Pat’s for so long prior to his move to the Midlands, the now 22-year-old Dubliner revealed that he has found playing under Neale Fenn quite similar to his time with Liam Buckley at Inchicore, with the style of play being a major plus side of the pairs relationship with Sam.

“Well it’s quite similar! They both try and keep the ball and they both try and play the same style of football anyway so in that terms its hardly been a massive change for me now. Obviously, every manager is different when they try to do things and they all do things differently but its been good for me. I like to play the way that both Neale and Liam want to play so it hasn’t been a massive change, but it’s been good!”

With so many experienced heads joining De Town in the off-season, Sam revealed that he has found working with the likes of Shane O’Connor, Chris Mulhall and Darren Meenan to be a great learning experience as he looks to forge a promising career for himself at the City Calling Stadium.

“They’ve all been great in fairness to them. Darren’s obviously achieved great things up at Dundalk and he’s had a great career while Shane and Chris have likewise. It’s great to have a mix between youth and experience which we do have. We’ve got a good mix in the team between young and old lads and it’s a good blend as we look to get a bit of success!”

Verdon also admitted that he has found the help of more senior players to be a welcome learning curve for himself in previous years and he is now looking to pass on his footballing knowledge gained from to the likes of Greg Bolger and Keith Fahey to younger players in the Longford Town first-team, like local midfield star Aodh Dervin.


“I see myself passing on bits and pieces to the likes of Aodh whose come in and done a great job for us so far! It’s very unfortunate that he’s after getting injured but it’s the little things that we all pass on to each other. It’s always a thing that when you’re young you look to the older lads for a bit of advice here and there! I remember when I was younger I was getting advice from the likes of James Chambers, Greg Bolger, Keith Fahey and all them players. Even just a little word in the ear can be a huge help and its generally always minute details!”

However, with the amount of late goals going against the “Red and Black” at the moment, Verdon is hoping that this rotten run of bad luck will cease in the not so distant future at the City Calling Stadium.

“It’s heart-breaking. It really is but look, that’s football. We hope that later on in the season our luck will change somewhere along the way and we’ll be the ones getting late goals but when you look back on Saturday I think that was our best performance of the season and it’s a game you’re wondering how did we not get a win, and then if we take a point at least we didn’t lose it but to lose it that way was heart-breaking.

“Saying that, it wasn’t just the other night, it happened us against Drogheda, Cobh and Shels as well. It could be just a little of maturity in a way that is needed, and we need to iron out one or two little things. It’s not to do with the players we have or anything like that but it’s the know-how. The other teams like Shelbourne and Finn Harps both have that and that’s something we’ll have to learn.”

However, looking ahead to the two trips down to Cobh in the space of four days, Sam knows the importance of staying in touch with the league leaders as Neale Fenn readies the troops for a big weekend of games down in St Colman’s Park.

“It’s going to be tough! You’ll never get an easy game going down to Cobh, small pitch, small ground, tough team so yes, it is going be a tough game. We haven’t really spoken about Tuesday yet and we’re just looking at Saturday and that’s the most important one for us! It’s a league game and we need the three points. We need to start catching back up with the teams at the top of the table because we can’t afford to drop any more points or else we’ll fall away.”

With De Town set to travel a mammoth 992km in just four days, the attacking midfield star knows that there will be an added importance in getting in as much rest as possible over the weekend as the Red and Black of the Midlands look to get back into the promotion hunt while also looking to reach the semi-finals of the EA Sports Cup where a big day lies in waiting for Neale Fenn and his youthful, hungry side.

“Yeah it will be tough with the travel and all the injuries we’ve got now. We need to be careful when we go down there. We’ll head down Saturday, and we’ll obviously get back late on Saturday night and we’ll be back at home on Sunday before we’ve a light session on the Monday to prepare for Tuesday. So, it’s a lot of travelling especially for a part-time team which is difficult because full-time teams have the benefits of relaxing and doing nothing outside of football while part-time lads have work and things like that. It’s all about getting that rest in between now and then. We want to go down and get the three points then we have a great chance to get to a cup semi-final against the top teams in the country so both games are massive!”

And finally, Sam had this message to pass onto the supporters who will be making the long trip down to Cobh come Saturday night as De Town will be looking to shoot their way up the table this coming weekend.

“We’re going to go down there and try our best and look to get a good win! I don’t know if they know it or not, but their support really does help spur us on. Obviously, the noise they make gives us an extra gear and hopefully they can be as loud as they can. In fairness, they’ve been great for us so far and hopefully they can continue what they’re doing, and we’ll hopefully be sending them home happy with the three points!”

Town through to the Quarter Finals of the EA SPORTS Cup

Wed Apr 25th 2018

Longford Town defeated Shamrock Rovers last night 1-0, and went through to the last eight of the EA SPORTS Cup through a Daniel O’Reilly winner in the 89th minute.

Longford Town: Jack Brady; Karl Chambers, Mick McDonnell, Daniel O’Reilly ©, Tristan Noack-Hofmann; Sam Verdon (Dean Zambra 90+3), Aodh Dervin; Darren Meenan, Jamie Hollywood (Evan Galvin 78), Dylan McGlade; Dean Byrne (Chris Mulhall 78).

Subs not used: Michael Kelly, Jackson Ryan, Daniel Ridge.

Booked: Chris Mulhall (90+4).

For match highlights and post match interviews, click on to our YouTube channel, Click here for the latest highlights and interviews.

PLAYER INTERVIEW: Adam O’Connor speaks to

Wed Apr 11th 2018

As Longford Town FC head into a potentially massive away clash against Drogheda United at United Park on Friday evening, reporter Andrew Dempsey sat down and spoke with new arrival to the club, Adam O’Connor.

Despite his busy schedule, the 23-year old Dubliner took time out of day to discuss his brief, yet enjoyable time at the club so far whilst also keeping his eyes firmly set on a big away day up in Drogheda as the red-hot First Division promotion race intensifies once again.

Having joined from Shelbourne during the long off-season break, the former Shels defender revealed that he has found life in the “Red and Black” quite enjoyable so far as he readies himself for a big push for promotion to the Premier Division between now and the end of the season at the City Calling Stadium.

“It’s been very enjoyable so far! It’s been different for me because I was at Shelbourne for so long and this is the first time I’ve moved club, but I’ve found it really enjoyable so far. To be fair to the lads, they’ve have been a great in helping me settle into the team since I joined.”

Switching styles of play is never an easy task for any footballer no matter who you talk to, but Adam spoke at length about how Neale Fenn’s footballing philosophy has made him enjoy his football as he enjoys the freedom of playing the ball around the back after coming from a more direct style of play at Tolka Park under previous boss, Owen Heary.

“I’ve enjoyed the football side of it better so far compared to my time at Shels and I mean absolutely no disrespect to Owen at all there, but I feel that the style of play here compliments Neale, and the way he wants to play in the philosophy he’s going by. To be fair to him, he’s stuck with it in games that’s it’s not worked in for him and we’ve not been going in with route-one football by just launching it in on teams. Especially with me being a centre-half and all I’m seeing a lot more of the ball and I am enjoying now.”

O’Connor also revealed that the fact that he knew a good few players at Longford Town before his arrival played a major role in setting up the deal for the former St Patrick’s Athletic Under 19 star to join Neale Fenn’s revolution at the City Calling Stadium.


Adam O’Connor pictured signing for De Town with manager, Neale Fenn

“For me it was a big thing in actually making the move to Longford. I’d be shy enough myself now and I wouldn’t know how other players would cope with it but yes it was a big factor in my move. I knew Dan O’Reilly and a couple of the lads before I went in. I knew Sam (Verdon) as well before I came to the club as well as the lads I’ve played with before and I was asking them what they thought of the club and it was a big factor for myself joining the club. It was important for me know what way the club was being run and what direction it’s looking to head in and it was a big thing that I knew some of the lads before I joined the club.”

After making his competitive debut for Longford Town against his previous employers Shelbourne at Tolka Park a few weeks back, the experienced, yet youthful First Division campaigner noted he was fully focused with the game on hand despite it being a rather “different” experience than normal.

“It was different, but we had a job to do and I was completely focused on the job that night. Personally, it was a big game for me with it being the first time I’ve gone back to play an old club and there was big crowd there and all that other stuff, but I was completely focused on the job I had to do that night. Obviously, we didn’t get the result we wanted on the night, but I thought we played really well and I thought we could have easily come away with a point, but that’s football and these things happens, and we’ll probably get the rub of the green against someone down the line!”

With all reports suggesting that there is already a great bond between the players at this early stage of the season, our new signing noted that he has already seen the benefits of how a positive atmosphere among the squad can help younger players break into the side without all the usual pressure that usually comes with it at such a young age.

“It’s really good now I have to say! Training is really good, and I think everyone is happy being around the team at the moment even with the young lads coming up through and they really seem to be enjoying it! It’s not like sometimes you see young players with the weight of the world on their shoulders, and you’ve seen that with Aodh (Dervin) as he seems to be really enjoying his football. Even around the training ground you see he’s already maturing into a decent player in the way he’s carrying himself, so I think the bond is really good among the lads at the minute!”

However, as attention turned to the game versus Tim Clancy’s “Drogs” on Friday night at United Park, O’Connor admits that the game is a big one for both, as the two opposing sides look to land that early statement of intent in terms of the promotion race on Boyneside.

“It’s a fact that it’s a massive game for us and for them. If you look at the league table already you can see that it’s really tight in the top four at the minute. I think that if we can get a win up there, it’ll be a big win for us and it puts a statement out for us among anybody in the top four and obviously it bunches up the table again but we’re obviously going to go up with a professional attitude and we’re going to try and win the game!”

And finally, Adam had this message to pass onto supporters ahead of the big game this weekend.

“Yeah of course. They’ve been really good so far to us. I know Drogheda is a bit of a trip for them but I’d love to see a big crowd up there again, making the noise and singing the songs and all that kind of stuff so if anyone can get down to the game, be sure to go to it because it should be an absolutely smashing game of football.”

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