At a meeting held in the Temperance Hall in 1924, it was decided to form Longford Town FC and the colours chosen were those of the famous Dublin club, Bohemians, ‘Red and Black’. They have remained the same until the present day. Present at the meeting were Michael (Ikey) Kelly, Paddy Farrell, Michael Hanley, Tom Malone, Johnny Foley, Willie Jarrett, Tom Kelly, Tom Colbert and Jim Mulligan.
The Town had £24 in the kitty to start them off and the Town’s first big success was winning the Leinster Junior Cup in the 1930-31 season when they beat St. Malachy’s of Dundalk at Longford Park. Afterwards, the Foresters’ Brass and Reed Band and Longford Pipe and Drum Band led the victory parade through the streets of the town.
Longford’s Team at the time included Tom O’Beirne, Packy Shine, Mel Deane, Jimmy Malynn, John Dennigan, Jimmy and Billy Clarke, Freddy Dykes, Jimmy Breslin and P Dempsey.
In the 1935-36 season, the Town were promoted to Division 1 of the Leinster Senior League and the following season they got banner headlines in the sports pages of all the National Papers for their feat in qualifying for the Free State Cup semi-final and also for winning the Intermediate Cup so soon after their promotion from Junior ranks.
The team that qualified for that first Free State Cup semi-final was: Johnny Farrell (Athlone), Packy Shine (Athlone), Peter Walsh, Christy Shiels, Johnny Malynn (Athlone) Jimmy Mills (Sligo), Paddy Clarke, Steve McManus (Sligo, who died in a Japanese prison camp during the war), Frank Giffen, Billy Clarke and Paddy Moran (Athlone).
Longford Town again reached the last four of the Senior Cup in 1954, when they lost 3-0 to the eventual winners Shamrock Rovers, who were held scoreless until the last quarter of the semi-final clash. That was a remarkably successful season for Longford Town, as they also met Rovers in the Leinster Senior Cup Final on St.Stephen’s Day. The Hoops, then at their peak, got the winning goal (2-1) with less than three minutes to go.
The Longford Town team on the day were: Peter Keogh, Seamus Devlin, Sonny Canning, Billy Murphy, Paddy Kinsella, Johnny Peelo, Paschal Quinn, Andy Reville, Paddy Gilbert, Gerry Malone and Joe O’Brien. Many Longford-born players received International or inter-league honours over the years.
Mel Deane was the first, when he was capped against Scotland in a Junior International. Then followed Junior International honours v England for Jimmy and Paddy Clarke, Stephen Leavy; a Youth International Cap for Ignatius Branigan v Holland and the same honour was bestowed upon Teffia Park lad Mark Devlin in more recent years. Jimmy Clarke, one of four footballing brothers, was a brilliant player who excelled in all three codes.