Some Town fans may be forgiven for suffering with slight withdrawal symptoms following last weeks unscheduled week off in Cobh but the action returns on Saturday night at the City Calling Stadium and it’s a big one as long time rivals, Waterford United come to Town. Here to preview proceedings is our reporter, Kieran Burke (@burko77_):
Longford Town FC will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s wasted trip to waterlogged Cobh by claiming a first home win of the season over long time rivals, Waterford United. It’s almost a decade since these two sides had their day in the sun at Lansdowne road in a now infamous but all-time classic 2004 FAI Cup final and while Saturday night’s First Division meeting is a million miles away from the glitz and the glam of such an event, it is a crucial game for both Town and United.
Tony Cousins men got off to the perfect start in the 2014 SSE Airtricity League First Division season last month when they defeat predicted title rivals, Galway FC at a packed out Eamon Deacy Park. That win was followed up just three days later in fine fashion as ‘De Town’ went to arch rivals, Athlone and dominated them in a comfortable 1-0 EA Sports Cup tie. However, hopes of three wins in a row to start the new campaign were quickly dashed when a stubborn Shelbourne side left the City Calling Stadium with a 1-0 win. Longford soon bounced back with yet another 1-0 win away to Wexford Youths, who defeated Saturday’s visitors last time out, but it is yet to be seen how Town’s players will react to an unscheduled week off following the eleventh-hour postponement in Cobh. A gruelling journey for players and fans alike was made in vain to the County Cork venue but suggestions that ring-rustiness could play a part against United has been rubbished by winger, Lorcan Shannon when speaking to our reporter, Kieran Burke.
Shannon: “No (there’s no danger of that), although we were disappointed the game was off, we trained really hard this week and put in some good work so we’re just looking forward to it now.”
Waterford United come into this game low on confidence and form, with the ‘Blues’ yet to claim a league victory under manager Tommy Griffin in 2014. Last Friday’s South-East derby defeat to Wexford Youths is sure to have hurt Waterford supporters as it not only saw Wexford overtake them in the league standings but the fact that top performers with United in years gone by, Peter Higgins and Ben Ryan, looked to have strengthened their rivals and weakened their own squad during the off-season. Griffin’s men would have gone into the derby game with confidence of getting something from the game having gone undefeated in their previous three up to that point, with credible draws against the fancied promotion challengers of Finn Harps, Shelbourne and Galway FC respectively.
In more positive news for the ‘Blues’, Shane Murray returns to the fold having missed the Wexford game though illness while midweek doubts such as Shane Corcoran have been passed fit to play in the Midlands but key man, Peter White will miss out due to a knee injury.
There have been some classic meetings down the years between these two great League of Ireland rivals and Waterford fans will be drawing on the fact they have derailed previous Town title and promotion challenges, most recently in the 2012 season when a Seani Maguire inspired ‘Blues’ crushed Longford in the First Division play-off final over two legs. However, Waterford failed to even make the play-offs in 2013 while Longford will be looking to go one step further this season having finished league runners-up and as beaten play-off finalists. Tony Cousins men take the tag of favourites going into this home game and as a result it is hoped a large crowd will turn out at the City Calling Stadium to support the ‘Red and Black’ before the team play two away fixtures in quick succession.
Admission prices are set at incredible value with adults in for only €10 while Students are €8 and kids at a fiver. Get down to ‘CCS’ for a 7:30PM kick-off this Saturday night and SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL TEAM!