INTERVIEW BY JAMES DONNELLY
Having made his first competitive start of the season against Athlone Town last weekend, LTFC Social Media Manager James Donnelly sat down with local star Aodh Dervin to chat about all things LTFC.
Having joined the Longford Town under-age system at 15 years old, the former Melview FC player lined out for the Red and Black for 3 matches in his first season while also still donning the Melview shirt. The lure of Dublin clubs and a higher possibility of being scouted came calling but the youngster ultimately decided to stay put in his home town.
"When I first played with Longford Town, it was a development squad. We only played 3 games and I still played with my local club Melview at the time too, but the league of Ireland was huge help. It gave you a reason to stay in Longford and not to go to Dublin teams, the under-age system is really good in Longford and it can only improve."
Aodh is just one of a number of first team members who rose through the under-age ranks at Longford Town FC. Arvagh man Tristan Noack-Hofmann came through from the U17s along with Karl Chambers from the U19s in the last few years. A club Aodh has supported since he was a small child, he reminisced on memories of City Calling Stadium.
"As a kid it was obviously a dream to play for Longford. I used to go to the games and I always dreamt of walking out in front of the crowd. When I used to go to the games as a kid, I loved ‘Digger O’Brien’ the goal keeper and Sean Prunty. They’re the two I can remember the most."
This interview remembers being a member of the Longford Town FC U16 team quite a few years ago and standing in City Calling Stadium after a game when a small, loud, 10 year old boy approached him. Carrying his football in one hand and wearing a Longford Town jersey that was down to his knees, he approached me and began to dissect my performance and proceeded to tell me where I struggled as a player and what I should do to improve. He then told me that one day he’d be on the senior team and show the league how to play football. That young kid is the player I’m now interviewing. When asked what advice he could give to the younger lads coming up through the ranks, Aodh revealed a more modest side than the one showed almost 10 years previous.
"To be honest James there’s not much advice I can give as I’m still young and learning. The big thing I have learned is always ask your coaches/ managers on how you can improve and become better because it goes a really long way…and maybe just enjoy your football. For a while I forgot to enjoy it but when you do enjoy it there’s no better feeling than it!"
Aodh is certainly enjoying his football, having got 90 minutes under his belt last week along with a few substitution appearances so far this season, I got his thoughts on being selected for the starting XI in the El Classico v Athlone.
"Starting against Athlone last week came as a bit of a shock but it was a great feeling being named in the team. I think my performance could have been better..I showed a lot of nerves early on and did some silly things but all the lads eased me into the game which made it easier as the game went on."
While Aodh showed some nerves in the opening quarter, he soon settled and put in a sublime performance with numerous social media commentators naming him man of the match. Anyone who watches can see why he has been called up to the International team on a number of occasions. He is a great example of a home grown player who loves his club. There was Zak Hackett in the past, Sean Prunty, Michael Lee, to name but a few locals who’ve stood out…now we have Aodh Dervin. Longford’s own.