SSE Airtricity League First Division
Longford Town FC 3-2 Galway United
Friday 1st June 2018
City Calling Stadium | 7:45PM
Match Report by James Donnelly
19 year old local star Aodh Dervin shined brightly at the City Calling Stadium last Friday night as Longford Town ran out 3-2 winners over Galway United. Dervin, alongside man of the match Sam Verdon and Karl Chambers all picked up a goal each to earn Neale Fenn’s men all 3 points in what was an exciting back and forth encounter. Two goals also for Galway, a missed penalty and a sending off for Longford Town made the game one to remember for the 410 there to witness it at the Strokestown Road venue.
Longford started the game brightly with Dervin missing a chance just a few minutes in. Dylan McGlade’s cross was poorly cleared by former Town defender Stephen Walsh and it fell to Dervin on the edge of the box who blasted it over the bar. He made up for that miss not too long after when Dean Byrne found him near enough in the same position and this time he made no mistake, bending the ball into the far corner of the Galway net to put Longford Town 1-0 up with less than 10 minutes gone on the clock. A brilliant goal and a memorable one for the young Longford man’s first at senior level.
Galway almost immediately equalized straight after, a long throw in from the left side was headed on by Eoin McCormack to Gary Shanahan but his impressive effort was brilliantly saved by the fingertips of Town goalkeeper Michael Kelly who went on to make a number of key saves during the game.
The every lively Dylan McGlade created problems for Galway throughout and his crosses in the first half caused major headaches for Shane Keegan’s men, Tristan Noack-Hofmann going close with a header as a result of a McGlade corner.
Longford Town’s Shane Elworthy pictured in action during De Town’s 3-2 victory over Galway at the City Calling Stadium. Pic: Tiernan Dolan
Gary Shanahan and Eoin McCormack linked up again for Galway on 32 minutes, Shanahan beating Noack-Hofmann on the right side before putting in a cross that met the feet of McCormack who had gotten between the two centre backs Daniel O’Reilly and Michael McDonnell, but his shot from 5 yards out was hit high and over as Town escaped a possible equalizer for the tribesmen.
Town pressured Galway and didn’t allow them much time on the bal in the first halfl. The westerners struggled to clear and Darren Meenan gaining possession in the corner, played it across to Dean Byrne who’s shot was blocked by Walsh at the last second.
Aodh Dervin could have had his second of the night on 40 minutes when McGlade broke down the right wing before laying it inside to Noack-Hofmann who slipped it to Dervin but his shot was straight into the hands of Gleeson in goal.
Galway still managed to create chances with Eoin McCormack going close again on 42 minutes, this time for 30 yards out, his shot narrowly going wide of Michael Kelly’s right hand post.
It could have been 2-0 to Longford immediately after when centre back Michael McDonnell went up for a Darren Meenan free on the right hand side but his looping header was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Gleeson.
Town eventually got their second just before half time when Sam Verdon struck low into the bottom right corner. A brilliant header by McGlade landed at the feet of Dean Byrne who slipped Verdon in behind the Galway defence and he made no mistake in slotting it by Gleeson to put Longford ahead, much to the delight of the home support who were loud throughout.
Longford suffered a major blow right at the half time whistle when Darren Meenan was given a straight red on what appeared to be a reckless challenge on Galway’s Conor Barry. No contact was made but referee Thomas Dempsey deemed it serious enough to issue the Dublin man a red card.
With Longford down to 10 men, Galway came out all guns blazing and proceeded to rain down attacks on the Town defence. Alex Byrne going close in the opening minutes, his shot from the edge of the box going wide after being deflected off his fellow team-mate McCormack.
Dean Byrne missed a glorious opportunity to put the game to bed when on 50 minutes, he intercepted a bad pass from Galway’s Robbie Williams, went by the defender and ended up 6 yards out from goal but his left footed shot was blazed over the bar, much to the relief of the travelling Galway support.
Galway got one back on 56 minutes when Dylan McGlade, who had been playing superb, was caught in possession by McCormack, the ball fell to Conor Barry who went through on goal and expertly put it past Michael Kelly to make it 2-1. A lapse in concentration that luckily didn’t cost Longford in the end.
Again, McCormack was in the thick of it for Galway, this time winning a soft free kick against Longford’s McDonnell. The resultant free kick however, was straight into the hands of Kelly. Only minutes later, Marc Ludden went close for the Connaught side, his dragging shot going wide of the post.
Galway were given a very generous lifeline on 64 minutes when former Town player Ryan Connolly was awarded a penalty. The number 10 jumped up between Longford’s two centre backs after a botched clearance and fell hard on the ground which saw Dempsey blow his whistle, much to the astonishment of the Town players and supporters. Up stepped Alan Murphy who sky rocketed his shot high over the bar.
Ludden went close for Galway again, this time a 1-2 between McCormack and Connolly saw the ball land at the feet of Ludden in the box who’s shot brought a fine save from Kelly in the Longford goal. Kelly, proving invaluable during the game.
Longford finally got their third goal on 79 minutes when some lax defending from Galway saw the ball fall to substitute Jamie Hollywood on the edge of the box, he played it into Sam Verdon who laid it off to Karl Chambers who chested it down and volleyed it low past Gleeson, hitting the post, it came back out and hit Williams before ending up in the back of the net. Some would call it an own goal but we’re giving it to Chambers!
Galway got their second eight minutes later when a high ball wasn’t dealt with, the ball landed to Stephen Walsh who made no mistake hitting a powerful shot low into the bottom corner to make it 3-2 with 5 minutes remaining, hearts in their mouths for Longford fans.
Daniel O’Reilly almost made it 4-2 in injury time, his free kick from the edge of the box was saved by Glesson before Hollywood missed the rebound. Summing up Galways night, The free had been awarded after Gleeson had mistakenly walked outside his box while holding the ball, although no yellow card was issued.
The final whistle blew and City Calling Stadium erupted. A well needed win for Longford Town which puts them right back in contention for a promotion spot. Manager Neale Fenn said he was delighted with the team’s performance and result but stressed how important it is to follow it up with a good result in Finn Park on bank holiday Monday when Town travel to Ballybofey to take on Finn Harps.
Longford Town: Michael Kelly, Shane Elworthy, Michael McDonnell, Daniel O’Reilly, Tristan Noack-Hofmann, Dylan McGlade (replaced by Karl Chambers), Dean Zambra (C), Aodh Dervin, Darren Meenan (red card), Sam Verdom (replaced by Evan Galvin), Dean Byrne (replaced by Jamie Hollywood)
Subs not used: Jack Brady, Daniel Ridge, Jackson Ryan.
Galway United: Conor Gleeson, Maurice Nugent (replaced by Conor Melody), Robbie Williams, Stephen Walsh, Gary Shanahan, Alex Byrne (replaced by Stephen Kenny), Alan Murphy, Ryan Connolly ©, Marc Ludden, Conor Barry (replaced by Carlton Ubaezuonu), Eoin McCormack
Subs not used: Arek Mamala, Conor Layng, Ronan Manning.
Referee: Thomas Dempsey
Red Cards: (1) – Darren Meenan/Longford Town FC