Report by Tony Ghee
History was made at the City Calling Stadium on Wednesday night as it hosted it’s first ever Under 17 National League game which resulted in Longford Town and Salthill Devon playing out an entertaining one all draw in a contest which saw both sides dominate a half each.
The visitors dominated the first half but had to wait until the 27th minute to test Town keeper McKenna when a superb long ball from Devon centre-half Connaughton caught the Town defence napping & put in striker Farnels but his powerful dipping shot from just inside the box was brilliantly saved by McKenna.
Salthill deservedly took the lead on 41 minutes when Daly’s Corner was misjudged by several Town defenders and that allowed Devon centre-half Connaughton tto head home from close range.
The Town put in a vastly improved display in the second half and levelled the contest on 54 minutes when Dan Beya’s flick on found substitute McCarthy just inside the Devon box and he held off two challenges before firing a superb shot into the bottom left corner of the Devon net.
In the 70th minute Town winger Finn cut inside and let fly with a 25 yard strike that just whistled past the Devon post. On 78 minutes, the Town almost took the lead from a set piece. Webb’s free-kick from left to right from the half way line was brilliantly headed into the box by Finn to McLaughlin but his shot from ten yards went narrowly wide.
A dominant Town came close again on 82 minutes when Dervin’s long range effort was brilliantly tipped over by Devon keeper Pope and two minutes later another fine long range strike from sub McLoughlin sailed just inches over the Devon bar.
Longford Town: McKenna, Bayliss, Webb, Claffey, McMenimin, Dervin, Proudfoot, McNabola, Beya, Smith, Finn.
Substitutes: McCarthy for McNabola (half-time), McLaughlin for Smith (64 minutes), Madigan for Proudfoot (80 minutes)
Salthill Devon: Pope, Fitzgerald, Reen, Connaughton, Murphy, Daly, Coyne, Dayer, Farnels, Cahalan, Morgan.
Substitutes: 17 for Morgan (66 minutes)