Supporters Club Notes

Supporters’ Club Notes (03/09/2017)

Sun Sep 3rd 2017

ANOTHER LEAP FROG

Following our comfortable 2-0win over Cabinteely on Friday night, we leapfrogged them into fourth position. A Verdon goal on 37minutes was followed by a Sully strike on 83 minutes made sure of the three points on offer and a jump up the ladder for the second week in a row. Jack Brady made a fine penalty save in the dying moments to maintain a clean sheet to send us all home (or to the Electric Picnic) in a great mood. A Cabo fan summed it up well when he noted the change of style, confidence and passion under the change of management. We’ve a few more games left and hopefully we can keep this excellent run going and at least end the season on a high. It all makes a welcome change from the start of the season.

CITY CALLING HOSTS CORK CITY

This Saturday night, September 9th see us host Cork City in the FAI Cup Quarter Finals. Judging by the amount of early local interest in the game, this should be the biggest attendance of the season for us. Cork City are current Cup holders and runaway League leaders.

However, they’ve spluttered and stuttered in the their league recent games and like ourselves put seven past Athlone. John Caulfield was an interested spectator at that game but he was there casting a cold eye on our opposition that night. However, he’s a shrewd operator and no doubt he’ll have remembered us too. Cork’s last two games were televised live. In the first they just about stumbled over the line against a rugged, torrid Finn Harps in a wet and windy Finn Park. The conditions were much better at Tallaght Stadium when Shamrock Rovers defeated the league leaders with a 3-1 scoreline. Much is being made of Cork’s poor run since their goal machine Seanie Maguire left them for pastures greener. But Cork City are still eyeing the league and Cup double to lay down a statement for all contenders, especially Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers.

In the meantime, we stand in their way of getting to a cup semi-final. Make no mistake about it, the lads are not overawed by their Leeside opposition. Things might have been different 2 months ago though. However, these days, we’re not lacking in confidence ourselves having taken the scalp of Sligo Rovers, slamming 7 past our near neighbours Athlone and winning our two other games while keeping a clean sheet too. Neale Fenn won a league with Cork but he’d love to get one over his old club and wouldn’t every Town supporter just love that too.

Cork won’t like the long journey to the City Calling Stadium and will label us as being a Ffyes skin. Apart from a goal or two more than our opposition, we really need every sports person in Longford to be in the City Calling Stadium on Saturday night. We need every lapsed supporter and their family along with a few friends to come out and make themselves heard. If we can get a right good vocal crowd behind us, then anything is possible. It promises to be a fantastic night of pulsating football, don’t dare miss it. And yes, we can do it.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH / AUGUST

As the players file off the pitch following their warm up on Saturday night, we’ll have the August Player of the Month presentation. Jack Brady is the worthy winner and will receive his trophy from Ashley Thompson.

RADIOHEAD

What’s seldom is wonderful. On Saturday afternoon last RTE Radio had their usual sport programme leading up to the hurling all Ireland. Sandwiched between some hurling legends on the panel was our own Neale Fenn. He played an absolute stormer. He was comfortable talking about hurling, the life of young footballers in England, the boredom of the Irish international system and of course his new exciting chapter with ourselves. He may be a snappy dresser but our Neale is a snappy communicator as well.


Supporters’ Club Notes (20/08/2017)

Sun Aug 20th 2017

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

We didn’t think it could get any better than our fantastic 4-2 win over Sligo Rovers a week ago but scoring seven magnificent goals certainly felt like it. Once again, we had some perfect weather and the pitch was looking in top class condition. Despite a tiny following from our visitors, we had an other very good crowd in attendance. Once again Section O added greatly to the atmosphere with their songs, chants and good humoured taunts. Martin Stapleton will be trawling through the archives to see when we last scored seven but for the vast majority of Saturday night’s attendance, this was a glorious first. We’ve had enough bleak nights during the season so this one was savoured. Three up within twelve minutes courtesy of a super Sully show, we could have gone in at half time leading by five. Despite conceding one just after the break, the hapless Igor Labuts had to pick the ball out his net four more times before the ref’s final whistle ended his misery. Tony Ghee has an excellent match report on LTFC.ie, but just for the record the record breaking goal scorers were David O Sullivan x3, Karl Chambers x2 with Daniel O’Reilly and Kealan Dillon one each. Eleven goals scored in our last two home games…as Van Morrison might have said “ There’ll be nights like this.”

SUPER SULLY SHOW

Cork City have lost their goal machine Seanie Maguire but we have held on to ours. Just back from a long (and first ever) injury absence Davy O’Sullivan certainly made an immediate and historical impact on the game against the struggling Athlone outfit. He bagged his hat trick on the 59th second of the 12th minute which surely must be the fastest ever hat trick in the history of the club – if not the league. No doubt those who keep an eye on such things will have the correct facts later in the week. But to make matters even more spectacularly outrageous , it was his 3rd hat trick this season against the same opposition. Surely a feat which will never be repeated. While his stunning scoring feat brought unbridled joy to all Town supporters, his post match patience endeared him to a host of parents and younger supporters. Instead of disappearing down the tunnel to enjoy the dressing room adulation and banter, Sully stayed back until every young boy and girl had their photo taken with him. His scoring prowess has made him a legendary figure within the club but his willingness to spend time with the youngsters is something that’s simply priceless. The Super Sully Show deserves national sporting recognition but we’re not holding our breaths.

THE FENN FACTOR

Since arriving at the City Calling Stadium, our new manager Neale Fenn has been making quite an impression. While some are impressed with his choice of sharp suits, for others it’s his ability to endear himself with the supporters. Even when results have gone against us, he’s willing to stop and chat and pose for photos and always with a broad smile. Some have even compared his social skills to the present Dundalk manager. And that’s saying something. But he also has the players playing differently and seems to have instilled a strong bond and self belief. At one stage early on, there was a lot of back play which added a much stress amongst older supporters with dodgy hearts. But for the moment, at any rate, he seems to have abandoned that for a more direct style, which in turn has reduced stress levels in the stand. What is pleasing a lot too is his willingness to give the local boys a run. To date Tristan Noack-Hofmann, Aodh Dervin and Dan Beya have benefited from this approach. Long may it all last.

SPARE A THOUGHT

Whilst we left the City Calling Stadium on cloud 99 on Saturday night, spare a thought for Athlone Town. For a long time now there has been a fierce rivalry between the clubs and the love lost wouldn’t amount to much. But former Longford Town player Etanda Nkololo explained a few things to some local supporters who knew him well when he sported the red and black. Some of his team mates had gone to Taiwan to play in a Students’ competition and others failed to turn up on the night. We expected to see some more former Longford Town players make an appearance for the opposition but they simply didn’t show. On top of that there seems to be a growing unrest between the supporters and management ( again ). Roddy Collins had only two players keeping their bench warm. It must have a cool place to watch the game from. It’s a great pity to see any LOI club experiencing difficulties, even Athlone Town FC.

AVRIL’S ARTISTRY

Avril Gilchriest is our Supporters’ Club chairperson but she’s so much more than that. Affable Avril is busy keeping us all on our collective toes , organising half time games and ball boys and then serving teas and coffees in the Clubhouse. But if you think that’s enough for one superwoman, it’s not enough for our Avril. Last week, she was hard at work preparing a collection of articles and photographs from our promotion in 2014 and which graced the Clubhouse last Saturday night. The positive reaction to the display was a testament to her hard work, passion and enthusiasm for the club. Now, if only we could clone Avril.

CUP GAME

This Friday night we travel to Dublin to face Bangor Celtic in round 2 of the FAI Cup. The game will be played at the Iveagh Grounds, Crumlin which is the home of St Jame’s Gate. It’s a name and venue which will resonate with older supporters and indeed Guinness drinkers. Bangor scored three goals in seeing off a spirited Everton side in the first round and won’t be any pushover for De Town. Banana skins don’t come any slippier than this , so hopefully all the squad will be wearing the correct cogs on Friday night.

50 / 50 WINNER

The winner of last week’s 50/50 draw was Pete Donnelly, Newport, Legan. Pete won €350. Remember the more people who enter the draw, the bigger the prize.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH / AUGUST

For many of our younger supporters, the end of August means early risings, the welcome return to exciting classrooms and fun homework but for some others it means picking the August Player of the Month. Although, we still have one game to go, it has been an exceptional month and we wait with bated breath to see who our winner will be. So far, there are as many nominees as there are players. It’s going to be a tough decision. The presentation will be made at our first home game in September by a member of the Supporters’ Club drawn by lottery.

Supporters’ Club Notes (14/08/2017)

Mon Aug 14th 2017

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”.

THANKS AGAIN

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.

TOP PROGRAMME

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.

Supporters’ Club Notes (06/08/17)

Sun Aug 6th 2017

SUNK IN COBH

Despite two losses in our previous two games, expectations were reasonably high for the merry bunch of hardcore supporters who made the long, long trip to Cobh on Saturday last. Cobh needed a win to keep in touch with Waterford who had dropped points the previous night. For De Town, Jack Brady started in goals with Dean Zambra taking the captain’s armband and Alan Keogh making his debut. Davy O’Sullivan was on the bench after a long injury enforced absence. Despite plenty of possession, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock with a cracking free kick from 17 year old Cian Leonard just before the 30 minute mark.

We once again dominated possession in the second half and forced 8 corners but, sadly, no real attempt on goal. Cobh were relying on the counter attack and sure enough it worked for them as they secured their precious three points with their second goal from Murphy.

The facts speak loudest. We were the only team in the first division last weekend not to score or to get a point. The result leaves us in 6th or third from bottom. The only way is up.

ROVERS RETURN

This Saturday night, August 12th we welcome Premier side Sligo Rovers to the City Calling Stadium for the First Round of the Daily Mail FAI Cup. The game will be a welcome change for both clubs who are currently struggling with their respective league form. Sligo Rovers are second from bottom and along with Galway and Drogheda rest uncomfortably in the relegation zone. Should all three join us, it will lessen the countrywide appeal of domestic soccer in Ireland. But that’s for an other day.

Manager Neale Fenn is appealing to the people of Longford town and county to come out in numbers to support our own and hopefully there will be a right good crowd getting behind the team from the kick off. Certainly Sligo will be bringing a large and vocal support as they view this game as an easy way to get back to winning ways and instil some lost confidence.

Older supporters will remember our famous Cup victory when we defeated a highly rated Sligo Rovers 2-0 at the Greyhound Stadium back in 1969. The only bit o’red seen then were the flames as irate Sligo fans burned their flags in disgust at being beaten by lowly Longford.

But of course we look on this 2017 fixture as a way to getting back to winning ways also. We know we’re playing some decent football and have some skilful, hard working players and despite our lowly position we certainly can cause an upset. One young female supporter came up with what she calls her winning game plan for Neale Fenn “put Cowan in centre forward, he’s bound to win a penalty and then when we score, just park the bus. Simple. Bring in on!”

If only it was that simple. Of course we’d love a win but we’d also love to see a massive local crowd turn up to support sport locally. So, if you haven’t been to the City Calling Stadium for a while, make this this your return visit. You’re guaranteed all the romance of the Cup in terrific surroundings. Sure what else would you be doing on a Saturday night.

JOHNNY REMEMBERS

Johnny Nevin has penned an evocative piece for the Cup match programme. In other words, pick up the programme as soon as you enter the grounds because they’re sure to be collectors’ items in the very near future. Ask Marty. Johnny Nevin is someone associated with Longford Town FC for longer than most can remember. But his first ever game was that famous Cup win over Sligo Rovers . Because of the hype leading up to that game, Johnny and a gang of his friends decided that the entrance fee was too high. So they hatched a plan to gain free entrance with an undercover approach from the canal. Despite their military style planning (gleaned from war comics), the boys’ efforts were spotted which resulted in a wild dash back along the canal to try to get in the legitimate way before kick off. Johnny made it and has hardly missed a game since that first one almost 40 years ago.

SPECIAL THANKS

In a week when almost 100,000 Irish soccer fans paid to watch Manchester and Liverpool play friendly matches at the Aviva and Jose Mourinho was quoted as saying “220 million for Neymar is not expensive”, some Longford Town supporters were standing for hours on the streets of Longford town begging for loose change. Last weekend was the annual street collection for De Town and despite the ever generous support, we probably couldn’t afford to buy boot laces for Neymar. But we’ll soldier on regardless and continue to support sport locally. A real genuine and special thank you to all the people who gave up their valuable free time on a bank holiday weekend and a huge and sincere thank you to all those who contributed in whatever way. Also a big thank you to the crew who were bright and early for the bank holiday Car Boot Sale (these notes are written prior to that event). Again, a huge thank you – you know who you are.

CLUBHOUSE VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

With almost all of the regular Clubhouse volunteer staff unavailable for this Saturday’s night game, we urgently need some extra hands. Otherwise we’ll be swamped under a mountain of tea pots and biscuit bars. If you can help out at half time, please give Brendan Finnegan a call on 087 9949995. The pay is zero but you’ll be rewarded in sporting heaven.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH

Congratulations to Noel Haverty on being the Supporters’ Club Player of the Month for July. Noel will be presented with his well merited trophy by Zara Finnegan Eddiouani before the game on Saturday night.

CONDOLENCES

The Supporters’ Club would like to extend its sincere sympathy to Mary Mc Kenna and family on the untimely death of her husband Stephen last week. We would also like to extend our condolences to the Civil Defence team, of which Stephen was a valued member. The genial giant was often on duty with the Civil Defence team at the City Calling Stadium and he’ll be greatly missed. May he rest in peace.


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