MAGNIFICENT CUP WIN
The 4-2 winning scoreline could never sum up a truly memorable and magnificent win over a fully professional Sligo Rovers outfit. This was a night of high drama, passion, total commitment, fantastic skill, a David v Goliath tie where David emerges victorious against all the odds.
Sligo travelled with high expectations of exorcising the ghost of 1969 when then too, an unfancied Town side rocked Sligo. The crowds were not as great as ’69 but back we only knew of one sky and that was of the natural kind. Neither TV nor Sky was a threat to real football back in those days.
Three bus loads of travelling support were expected but never materialised. They’re seemingly having their own problems up the N4. But the Rovers fans who did travel were rocked by an early Karl Chambers goal and even when the visitors did manage to recover and sneak ahead 2-1, It was a team that never played with any real confidence. This was mirrored by their strangely subdued following.
We had gone ahead against Shels and they came back to defeat us 3-1 but Saturday night was totally different. Section O had risen from the ashes and were making themselves heard. The stand crowd was nosier than ever and on the field, each and every player was playing his heart out. We were more direct and showed a hunger that un nerved the highly paid visitors. Jack Brady was outstanding in goals and pulled off a series of top drawer saves. But even if Peter Hopkins got the Man of the Match award, every player who graced the pitch on Saturday night did so with distinction.
With just minutes remaining, Sam Verdon, scored a fabulous equaliser which sent the already vocal home crowd wild with delirium. Most thought an away replay was on the cards but like Finn Harps v Bohs the previous night, we were treated to extra time. It was exactly right for us since we had the momentum, the hunger, passion and belief boiling through the veins. The optimism was duly rewarded with two more superbly taken goals by Peter Hopkins and Kealan Dillon.
This time the visiting supporters didn’t burn their flags after the game, most had already left in disgust. But this was more about us than them.
We’ve waiting a long, long time for an uplifting victory and on Saturday night we thoroughly enjoyed it. Even most Sligo Rovers fans acknowledged our superiority and wished us well. These past two seasons have been dull and grey but Saturday night blazed bright in amazingly bright technicolour. The stand rocked, Section O rocked again and that infectious feeling seeped down the players and the entire squad. As the game drew to a close, the entire bench was bursting at the seams waiting to erupt in a crescendo of unbridled joy. If the players themselves are still smiling, they’re entitled to. Remember we had come off a string of defeats, we’re third from bottom in the lower division and yet we managed to outplay a team which seemingly costs a million euro a year.
For us, the night was priceless and with no apologies for being OTT.
You can find Tiernan Dolan’s photos from the night on our Facebook page.
ATHLONE AT HOME
On this Saturday night we welcome Athlone Town to the City Calling Stadium with a 7.30pm kick off time. Athlone arrive after their heart warming 5-0 Cup victory and like ourselves will be quietly delighted with themselves. We can’t be over confident or cocky but if we can reproduce last Saturday night’s passion and skill, then we should do well. It’s always a big IF.
Our support base continues to improve and it was great seeing many supporters make the return trip last Saturday. John Moloney, Dr Mel Gorman and Alan Kirby were just some of those we welcomed back to the fold. But we’d dearly love to see many, many more more experience the unique atmosphere of real players, playing with real passion and under a real sky.
NOEL AND ZARA
Young Zara Finnegan Eddiouani, one of our youngest Supporters’ Club members was on hand to present Noel Haverty with his merited trophy for being the July Player of the Month. Zara handed over the trophy before kick off in the Cup game but before doing so, made sure to tell Noel that he was her and her Granny’s favourite Town player. It was a special moment for both Zara and Noel. Any wonder then, that she quipped afterwards that “it’s much better than watching stuff on the telly”.
On Saturday night, we had a significant number of old reliables away on holidays or otherwise unavoidably occupied. It was the same for the car boot sale. However and somehow, volunteers came forward to help out and made a huge difference. It turned out that we were able to cope in all sections. A sincere thanks to all who helped out and please do feel free to volunteer again.
Fair play to James Donnelly and Marty Stapleton for producing an excellent cup match programme. The only problem was that it sold out very quickly which, in turn, ensures that in time it’ll become a valuable collectors’ item. So don’t dare throw it away. It was also great seeing Padraig Stapleton back home from London for the game. Though based in Brexit land, Padraig updates and uploads a huge amount of material to our social media platforms which are increasingly important for the club. Between the two lads, we’re getting a reputation of being one of the most and best clicked clubs in the country. Thanks again, lads.