Daniel O’Reilly is arguably one of the most highly regarded defenders in SSE Airtricity League First Division having been named in the PFAI’s First Division Team of the Year last season.
So, after a solid start to the season for both himself and the rest of his teammates, Daniel had a quick chat with LTFC.ie reporter Andrew Dempsey ahead of a crucial weekend of fixtures for the “Red and Black Army” whilst also reflecting on the opening few games of the season for Neale Fenn’s charges.
After picking seven points from a possible twelve on offer, O’Reilly admits that it has been a decent start to the season for “De Town" and is already casting his eyes on crucial few weeks ahead as the “Red and Black” head into vital league games against both Galway United and Drogheda.
“I think it’s been a decent start! Obviously looking back, I think we could’ve taken more points if we were more sensible in the Cobh game being two-nil up and obviously things went a bit mad in the Shelbourne game but overall, it’s not been the worst start to the season. Obviously, we’ve got some big games coming up against Galway and Drogheda, so we’ll see how we fare after them.”
After the obvious disappointment of a heart-breaking three-two defeat against promotion rivals Shelbourne during our last away outing, the former Fulham FC youngster noted on the importance of getting back on track in a massive derby day win over Midlands rivals, Athlone Town last time out.
“Obviously, it was great to get the win! It wasn’t ideal that we went one-nil down so early on, but we’ve got good character in the team and we knew that the quality would come out to show. It could’ve been more than five on the night and obviously it was great for the supporters on the night to beat our local rivals Athlone with such a large number of goals!”
Saying that, the 22 year old combative defender knew that there were positives to take from the Shelbourne defeat, noting that he felt as if there was plenty to look back on with positivity as Longford Town were in charge for vast swathes of the game at Tolka Park.
“I was listening to Neale doing an interview after the game and he was actually quite positive! After the game, like myself, it’s easy to jump to conclusions to say could’ve done this and that but we dominated the game with eleven men and then with ten men to come back to two-all would’ve made it a great point, but I do think overall, we were the better team on the night! Obviously, we were sloppy at times and that cost us, but they happen. We can take positives with the way we played, and we never really tried to change the way we played and, look, Shels are a more physical and direct side but I do think that we could take positives from the game. From the defensive side of things, three goals aren’t great but listen, these things happen, and we’ll learn a lot more about ourselves and other things throughout the season!”
Looking ahead to the big game on Friday night at Éamonn Deacy Park, O’Reilly is confident of leaving Galway with a win under his belt.
“I know they’ve had a good start and they’re one point ahead of us in the table but they’re probably one of the favourites along with ourselves to go up! They’ve got some really good players in Danny Furlong who’s just joined them alongside Ryan Connolly who’s just arrived there from Rovers, so they do have a lot of quality about them. Saying that, we’ll be going into the game believing that we can win, not just going into the game looking for a point. We know that we’ve got goals in our side now, so it’s just up to the likes of myself to deliver at the other end of the pitch to keep a clean sheet come Friday night!”
With the Shamrock Rovers game coming so soon after the trip up to Galway, the former Bray Wanderers defensive option admitted that he relishes those kind of occasions against the so-called bigger sides away from the rig-ma-roll in the league campaign.
“Yeah it’s nice to have those kinds of games to look forward to! I remember we played them last year and funnily enough and we lost one-nil. They’ve got a good squad and I’m sure they’ll want to be trying out their younger players or players that haven’t really got into their side yet, but they’ll be quality players. It’s a good opportunity for us to show what we can do! With the style of play that we play, it probably suits us to play to play against the bigger teams as we try to play and they try to plays I think it’ll be a good game, a good contest between two teams that want to play so I’m looking forward to that on Monday but obviously Friday is the first thing on our minds but it’s nice to have straight after it!”
And last but certainly not least, the only Longford Town FC defender in last year's PFAI First Division Team of the Year called on supporters to come out and support the team, admitting that it is a big help to the team when there's a good, healthy crowd present at the games, pushing the “Red and Black” on as Neale Fenn plots a return back to the promised land of Premier Division football for “De Town”.
“The crowds have been really good so far and it’s good to see! Obviously seeing the crowd on Saturday against Athlone was good with all the numbers in the crowd and even in the past two home games against Cobh and Wexford they were good! Even against Shels we could hear the fans and it was really, really good to see. I know there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes that’s really trying to push on and encourage bigger crowds to come to the games no matter where we’re going! I saw there was a bus organised for Finn Harps already, obviously it was called off due to the weather, but still, it’s really good to see! The more that come, the better it is for us and it really does help us in the games."