Article by Kieran Burke
While pre-season allows new signings to become accustomed with their new team mates and surroundings it also offers supporters the opportunity to catch an early glimpse of their new hero’s and put names to faces ahead of the new campaign. This off-season has been an incredibly busy one for Longford Town manager Tony Cousins with no less than seven new signings acquired during the transfer window and our reporter Kieran Burke (@burko77_) has been busy compiling a little more info on “De Town’s” newest stars to ensure supporters have everything they need ahead of the new season:
Position: Defender (Right-back/Centre-half)
D.O.B: 13/1/1985 (29)
Squad number: 20
Previous clubs: Wolverhampton Wanderers, Torquay United, Kiddiminster Harriers, Waterford United, Shamrock Rovers, St.Patrick’s Athletic, Shelbourne.
Bio: A two time and back to back League of Ireland Champion with Shamrock Rovers, defender Pat Flynn also holds a Setanta Sports Cup title to his credit having defeated Dundalk in the final at the Tallaght Stadium in 2011. The Dublin native brings a wealth of cross channel and European experience to “De Town” having started his career with Wolves in England before playing in the Europa League group stages with Shamrock Rovers in 2011. Perhaps the most interesting fact about Flynn however, is that he marked none other than world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo on his Real Madrid debut against the “Hoops” in 2009. “Flynner” is sure to offer new boss Tony Cousins plenty of options at the back this term as he is just as adept in the heart of the back four as he is at full-back.
Position: Defender (Right-back)
Squad number: 14
Previous clubs: UCD, Drogheda United, Longford Town, Cork City, Shamrock Rovers, Southern Stars (Australia), Shamrock Rovers.
Bio: A player that needs no introduction to “De Town” faithful, Pat Sullivan strengthens the ex-Shamrock Rovers contingent in the Longford dressing room having signed on for a second spell at the club he last played for in the 2007 FAI Ford Cup final. Sullivan is regarded as a marauding full-back who is comfortable at not only crossing the ball from wide positions but as taking long range strikes on whenever the opportunity arises. The defender has won pretty much all there is to win in the domestic game but he will be best remembered by League of Ireland followers for his wonder strike away to Partizan Belgrade in the 2011 Europa League play-off game which saw Rovers become the first ever Irish side to qualify for the group stages of a major European club competition. Should Sullivan score goals of that nature again with “De Town” this season we should be in for a historic 2014 campaign as the thirty-one-year-old looks to return Town to the Premier Division.
Position: Midfielder (Holding/Central)
Squad number: 6
Previous clubs: Coventry City, Shelbourne, Bohemians, Monaghan United (Loan), Shamrock Rovers
Bio: The signing of midfielder Stephen Rice from Shamrock Rovers has been labelled as one of the biggest in Longford Town FC history and when you study his résumé it’s not hard to see why! A back to back Premier Division Champion, two Setanta Sports Cup in three years, a Leinster Senior Cup winner’s medal and European qualification to boot, Stephen Rice has done it all with Shamrock Rovers and as club captain too! Prior to his hugely successful spell at the Tallaght Stadium, “Ricer” as he is affectionately known, made 108 league appearances for cross City rivals Bohemians while he also holds brief First Division experience with Monaghan United having been loaned out as a Shelbourne youngster in 2003. This invaluable experience is exactly what Town need in the middle of the park with Captain Mark Salmon out until April as he recovers from last season’s major injury while Ryan Connolly has departed for Galway FC. Rice is best remembered by Shamrock Rovers fans for his goal away to Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League in 2011, a goal that gave the Dublin club a brief lead against a team that cost in the excess of £150 million to assemble.
Position: Midfielder (Holding/Central)
D.O.B: 19/10/1985 (28)
Squad number: 11
Previous clubs: Wolverhampton Wanderers, Stockport County (Loan), Telford County, Worcester City, Bray Wanderers
Bio: The phrase “this man needs no introduction” is one thrown around a lot in football but never has the case been any truer as the man who effectively kept Longford down last season returns to the Midlands! Yes, Kevin O’Connor is the man whose thunderbolt strike broke Longford hearts in the dying seconds of last season to keep Bray Wanderers in the top flight and condemn the “Red and Black” to another season in the First Division. O’Connor, brother of former Town favourite and current Bray star Danny, also brings years of English football experience with him to The City Calling Stadium having started out at Mollinuex before plying his trade in non-league for a couple of seasons. The fact that O’Connor is only twenty-eight years of age and can operate in a holding or attacking midfield role is sure to excite Town fans ahead of the 2014 season and they will be hoping he can recreate that infamous goal over and over again but in their favour this season.
Position: Midfielder (Winger)
Squad number: 7
Previous clubs: Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk (Loan), Bohemians
Bio: While Shannon’s League of Ireland experience has been brief to date, many commentators believe a run of regular first team football could be exactly what the winger needs to flourish into a top young talent. Shannon can play on either side of the midfield and his attributes include holding plenty of pace in wide areas as well as having a sweet left foot and being able to deliver a deadly cross in attacking areas.
D.O.B: 28/11/1983 (30)
Squad number: 9
Previous clubs: Aston Villa, Doncaster Rovers (Loan), Cheltenham Town (Loan), Tamworth, Dublin City, Dundalk, Newry City, Derry City, UCD (Loan), Sporting Fingal, Shelbourne, Longford Town, Limerick FC, Drogheda United
Bio: The second coming of Peter Hynes at Longford Town marks the striker’s 14th senior club in just 12 years but with the quality and depth of options available to Tony Cousins this season the former Aston Villa striker has a real chance of adding a First Division title to the FA Youth Cup and EA Sports Cup winners medals he already holds. Hynes last played with Longford in the 2010 season and recorded 6 goals in 28 league appearances and also picked up the supporters club goal of the season. With competition for places at an all-time high in Longford Town’s forward line ahead of the 2014 season, Town followers will be hoping to see the best of Peter Hynes when called upon this term.
Position: Striker/Winger (Left)
D.O.B: 16/11/1989 (24)
Squad number: 17
Previous clubs: Shamrock Rovers, Longford Town (Loan), Longford Town, Stevenage FC, Braintree Town (Loan), Dundee, Southend United, Stevenage FC
Bio: Don Cowan first introduced himself to Town fans during the 2010 season when he signed on loan from Shamrock Rovers. Deployed mostly in a wide position by manager Tony Cousins, the American Born striker failed to register a goal in 13 appearances. However, during the following off-season Cowan discovered his goal scoring touch for his college side Carlow IT and went onto finish top scorer in the national college competition. When Cowan returned to Flancare Park, as it was known at the time, he appeared a totally different player, terrorising defences and scoring goals for fun. As a result of his menacing form Cowan sealed a transfer to League One side Stevenage and despite a promising start, that included an FA Cup substitute appearance at home to Tottenham Hotspur in which he impressed, Cowan would soon suffer a heartbreaking spell of serious injuries which eventually saw him leave the club. Short stints in Scotland and England again followed but the striker found game time and opportunities hard to come by and as a result Cowan put himself on the PFAI transfer list. Cowan impressed greatly on the PFAI teams recent trip to Finland and it wasn’t long before Tony Cousins came calling to the sheer delighted of “De Town” faithful who are already dreaming of a potential partnership of Don Cowan and David O’Sullivan next season. Should those two star striker recreate their Longford form of past, this very well could be the year LTFC secure their passage back to the promised land of Premier League football!
A reminder that you can catch the Town’s new signings in action for the very first time away to Shamrock Rovers A.F.C. of Wexford in the 4th round of the Leinster Senior Cup on Saturday February 1st. Kick-off is 2pm in Enniscorthy and the supporters club and Section O are running a bus to the game so if you would like to catch the first competitive game of 2014 contact Fitzy on 087 2135 206. With this being the first game of the season in “De Town’s” 90th anniversary year we would hope to see a big crowd down in Wexford for the game as the Leinster Senior Cup offers a great chance for silverware this season to go along with our promotion drive which will hopefully cap of our anniversary year in style!
WE ARE THE LT THE LT THE LTFC!!!
Kieran Burke (@burko77_)