As far as first impressions go, Lee Steacy certainly didn’t disappoint in 2019. Similarities to the late, great Gordon Banks were drawn as early as his first home game against Drogheda – and it didn’t stop there.
The former Shelbourne shot-stopper turned in a string of impressive performances last term, and news of his return was met with much positivity in the Midlands.
And with pre-season well underway, the 27-year-old has enjoyed the initial few weeks of getting back into the swing of things.
“Pre-season has been good to be fair,” he said.
“We’ve had a few players come and we’ve had a look at what they can bring to the squad this year. Johnny (Martin) and Daire have set out their plans and we’re enjoying it. The break is too long so it’s great to be back. It was a pretty easy decision for me in the end to stay. The way last season ended; we left a bit behind us.
“Obviously, in the Playoffs we were very unfortunate – I think when Daire came in, he was a breath of fresh air, so I was happy enough to sign for him alone. I have a great relationship with the fans as well, so it was a very easy decision to give Longford another year.
“A lot of the things would be similar as last year, but first things first, he (Daire) made sure we were fit, and we’ve been working hard on a style of play that suits us now.”
The agile 5ft 11 goalkeeper added; “It’s always nice to get some new additions to a squad. We’ve brought in some experienced players to help.
“The First Division Player of the Year Rob Manley has just come in as has James English who is a proven goalscorer in the First Division so I’m hoping them two boys can click. There’s no doubt about it, we want to win the league. Last season we came up short. We had a great start, but we lost games at bad times. Goals was obviously a big issue with us, Aaron Dobbs was brilliant, but he unfortunately lacked a couple of goals and we’re hoping with Rob and James English, and a few midfielders can chip in with a few goals. Hopefully we can stay strong defensively and the title is certainly our main ambition.”
“For me that’s two years in a row where I’ve been knocked out at that stage in the Playoffs on penalties. Obviously, I didn’t play last year with Shels, but I was still a big part of the team. To save a penalty and then just get my hand on the last one was disappointing. Cabinteely were our bogey team last year, there was no doubt about it, but we will be looking to use any fire we can to go for it next season.”
And finally, Lee had this message for the supporters;
“We saw how good the fans were last year when we got them out for the Playoffs in numbers. To be fair, they were growing week on week. There was a little lull in the season but after that the fans were brilliant. They were a huge force. If you look at some of the records, Longford had their best attendance when they won the league and we’ll be looking for more of that. We’ll both do our bit to get people in, but it’s vital we get them out in numbers.”