Fri Sep 20th 2013
Getting a bit fed up of all the 0-0 draws on TV this past few weeks? Well then get yourself down to The City Calling Stadium on Saturday night where goals are guaranteed (well almost) as Longford Town and Cobh Ramblers renew rivalries for the final time this season. Here with a preview to this must see game is our reporter Kieran Burke (@burko77_):
Three meetings…..20 goals, that is the incredible head to head record Longford Town and Cobh Ramblers have produced in this topsy-turvy 2013 league season. Cobh’s return to the League of Ireland at the start of the season was met with open arms by Longford Town fans as it meant seeing a new team and having a new away trip on the schedule. The joy of having the “Rams” back in the League was even greater after Longford’s first trip to Cork at the tail end of March when a 94th minute Daniel Purdy wondergoal secured a 4-3 victory for “De Town” despite having trailed 3-1. The next meeting between the sides proved to be the odd one out so far this season as it only yielded a mere six goals opposed to seven with Tony Cousins men running out comfortable 5-1 winners at The City Calling Stadium. However, the team fielded by Dave Hill next time out was a much stronger one with no injuries or suspensions to contend with as Cobh served up Longford a taste of their own medicine by coming from 3-0 down to win 4-3 in the dying seconds of the game at St.Colman’s Park.
Many Longford fans have pointed towards that sickening turnaround in Cobh as the turning point in Town’s season with the “Red and Black” going onto throw away the four point lead they held going into that encounter to finding themselves eight points behind local rivals Athlone at the top of the table. Revenge was clearly one of the driving forces behind Cobh’s miraculous comeback in July and on Saturday night it is certain to be in the mind of the Longford players who take to the field at The City Calling Stadium for this must win game.
Dave Hill’s men come into this game with suspension worries yet again as Brendan Frahill, Roy Kenny and John Meade all find themselves on this week’s FAI suspensions list. In terms of recent form, the “Rams” have only won 2 of 6 league games since that 4-3 victory over Longford with “De Town’s” record almost identical…..A poor spell in the season for both sides who started so positively. Despite the seventeen point swing between Longford and Athlone in recent months the title is not yet wrapped up by the Lissywoolen outfit, but it could be if Roddy Collins' men beat Salthill on Friday night and both Waterford United and Longford Town fail to win their respective games this weekend. With just three games remaining until the final day showdown beaten the great Midland rivals a win on Saturday night against Cobh followed by away and home victories over Mervue United and Wexford Youths could still set Longford up for a shot at the title on October 12th at the home of their greatest rivals.
However, Longford Town boss Tony Cousins will be quick to point out that his players must take it one game at a time until the end of the season as one slip up could kill all and any hopes of promotion to the Premier Division. With Ramblers missing some key players through suspension and the fact the Cork side have failed to win on the road all season in the First Division they will go into Saturday’s game as huge underdogs and the home players will have to deal with the pressure of favoritism as well as potentially having bags loads of possession against a team very dangerous on the counter attack…..Have no doubts that this is a potential banana skin for any side.
The hosts finally found some form in recent weeks with a fantastic performance against Premier Division and Europa League participants Drogheda United in the FAI Cup two weeks prior to a comfortable 3-1 win at home to bogey side Finn Harps.
Despite a number of serious injuries this season to the likes of Captain Mark Salmon, Etanda Nkololo and Willie Tyrell, Tony Cousins will have been delighted with the emergence of some of the younger talents in his squad in recent weeks with seventeen-year-old Jamie Mulhall starring alongside nineteen-year-old duo Dean Ebbe and Josh O’Hanlon. Throw central midfielders Rhys Gorman and Ryan Connolly into the mix and the future is certainly a bright one for the Midlanders, but it is the present that matters most right now and Cousins will be hoping his youngsters can step up to the mark again this weekend in what should be another superb encounter between these two attacking dynamos.
Kick-off at The City Calling Stadium is 7-30 on Saturday night and once again we are asking you the Longford public to get behind your local football team for this must win encounter…..Your support very well could be the difference between Premier Division and First Division football next season!
Admission - €10 Adults, €8 Students, €5 Kids.
NOTE: Make sure you pick up a match programme at the gate for a fantastic interview with Longford Town FC legend Sean Prunty along with loads of other fantastic pieces.
ENJOY THE GAME.