As Longford Town travel to Drom for our opening game in the Aitricity League First Division, Kieran Burke (@burko77_) has provided LTFC.ie with a preview.
It’s been over four months since Tony Cousins Longford Town side walked off the RSC pitch in Waterford dejected and condemned to another season in the Airtricity League first division after play-off defeat. But with new blood, a new sponsor, new jerseys and a new stadium name comes new dreams and ambitions as ‘De Town’ look to end a six year stint in the second tier of Irish football.
The road to the Promised Land starts with a trip to the Drom, in beautiful county Galway, as Longford take on last season’s bottom side Salthill Devon. The basement men from last season also have a name change and venue change to contend with this season after their unsuccessful rebranding last season but unlike Longford most if not all League of Ireland pundits are not expecting any new dreams or ambitions at the Drom venue with avoiding the wooden spoon the only real aim.
From reading that introduction, you don’t need me to tell you Longford Town are favorites to win this league opener and the fact Salthill Devon have no less than four suspensions carrying over from last season only adds to the visitors favouritism with Salthill’s star striker Enda Curran one of the four to miss out on Friday night.
As for Tony Cousins, the former Galway United manager will have a number of decisions to make as he marks his fourth year in the City Calling Stadium hot-seat.
Cousins has experimented with a number of combinations in defense throughout pre season with new additions Corrie Treacy, Willie Tyrell and Brian McCarthy competing with the remaining stalwarts from last campaign to gain a starting place.
In midfield Mark Salmon will captain the side alongside, retiree-to-be, Keith Gillespie who hangs his boots up at the end of the season with new additions Etanda Nkololo and Keith Quinn battling it out for a starting birth out wide after the off-season departure of, last season’s stand out performer , Thomas Crawley to Derry City.
Up front, there is a real buzz among Town followers going into this year’s campaign with promising talent Gary Shaw back from a broken ankle, which came just as the Irish under-21 star was starting to hit goal scoring form last season, while new acquisition David O’Sullivan looks to have all the attributes of a great striker. Elsewhere, Daniel Purdy is expected to shine for the Midlands club this season with a recent Irish under-21 call up showcasing his talent.