Match Preview by Tony Ghee
The first ‘El Clasico De Midlands’ of the 2019 season takes place this Friday night at the Athlone Town Stadium with the game getting under way at 7.45pm.
After a couple of horrendous seasons, Athlone Town have started this campaign in whirlwind fashion as they are third in the First Division just behind Bray and Shels on goal difference, with the top three having accumulated nine points out of twelve from their opening four matches.
Athlone’s only loss was a two-nil home defeat to Shels, but last weekend, they came away from the Carlisle Grounds with all three points after an impressive one-nil triumph over Bray at the Wicklow venue.
Man-of-the-Match and club skipper Aaron Brilly scored the crucial goal that secured the victory over Bray as he finished off a move that involved three former Longford players.
Darren Meenan joined Athlone from Longford in the close season and he supplied the pass to another ex Longford player, Keelan Dillon, and he inturn played the ball to skipper Brilly who slotted home past Bray keeper Sava.
Longford Town are the only unbeaten side in the first division with one victory and two draws in their opening three games as they are currently fifth on five points, however, the ‘Red & Black’ do have a game in hand over the teams above them after last week’s game at home to Galway Utd was postponed.
The last outing for Neale Fenn’s charges was the one all draw away to Cabinteely with Sam Verdon on target for Longford.
Last season, Longford won five-one and three-nil at the City Calling Stadium, while the other league encounter at the Athlone Town Stadium ended in a one all draw.
As well as Brilly, Meenan, and Dillon, Athlone have two other former Longford players in their ranks. Rhys Gorman who won the First Division Title with Longford back in 2014 and Kaleem Simon are also now playing for the opposition.
On the team news front, apart from Carlton Ubaezuono, all other squad members are available for selection.
Finally, for those that cannot make the game, Kieran Burke and Jon Brier’s Between The Stripes will be broadcasting live coverage of the big match on mixlr.com/betweenthestripes/