Thu May 2nd 2019
SSE Airtricity League First Division
Drogheda United FC v Longford Town FC
Friday 3rd May 2019
United Park | Kick-off 7.45pm
Match Preview By Kieran Burke (@kieranBTS)
Longford Town travel to County Louth on Friday night looking to banish the demons of last season, as De Town fell at the finish in the race for the play-offs against Drogheda United, Fridays hosts. A come from behind 2-1 win in the penultimate game of last season effectively secured the Drogs position in the play-offs, where Tim Clancy’s charges missed out on promotion after a dramatic two-legged tie against Shelbourne, who went on to lose in the final against Finn Harps.
With all that in mind, it has been a dramatic shift in form for both Longford and Drogheda United to start to 2019 First Division campaign with Longford Town currently the only unbeaten side in the League of Ireland, while Drogheda have struggled for consistency at times, leaving the 2007 Premier Division champions sitting in 4th place, four points behind Neale Fenn’s league leaders.
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Captain Dean Zambra and Defender Mick McDonnell pictured in action last season against Drogheda United at the City Calling Stadium.[/caption]
Drogheda United had a fantastic win on the road last weekend, traveling all the way down to St.Colman’s Park and coming away with an ultra-impressive 4-1 victory over Cobh Ramblers, while Longford showed their battling qualities in a scrappy 1-0 home triumph over a stubborn Limerick side. Dean Byrne was the match winner last Saturday for De Town and the former Hardwicke star will be hoping his stunning strike can kick start his 2019 campaign, having only returned to full fitness after a long term layoff last season.
In fact, Byrne was on the score-sheet with yet another sublime long range strike at United Park last season in a game De Town really should have won, conceding a 94th minute equalizer in a 1-1 draw. Ciaran Kelly was the Drogheda hero that night and the departure of the talented full back to St.Patrick’s Athletic has been a very difficult challenge for Tim Clancy and co to overcome at the start of this campaign. Double goal scorer in that crucial 2-1 win at the tail end of last season, Gareth McCaffrey has also since departed United Park and the strikers absence has clearly left Drodgeda lacking some cutting edge up front at times this year.
All in all, given Longford Town’s record breaking start to the 2019 season, many will fancy Neale Fenn’s team to repeat the win claimed over Drodgeda at City Calling Stadium earlier this season, a 3-0 victory that time, but having only lost at home once this season, Droghda will be yet another major test of De Town’s title credentials going forward.
Team News: Neale Fenn has a full selection of players to choose from.