SIEGE OF LONGFORD
Derry is well known for its siege but on Saturday night last, it was Derry City who laid siege to Longford Town for over 70 energy sapping minutes on one of the wettest nights of the last few seasons. If the rains had started a few hours earlier, the match was surely have been in doubt. As the game progressed, puddles appeared and while the thousand plus crowd huddled in the stand, both sets of players had to contend with atrocious conditions and must be commended for doing their best throughout. Fair play too to the band of soaked Section O followers who stood their ground in the open like drowned ducks while singing their hearts out. Two Derry City supporters brought their drums out for a trial run but ran back to the shelter of the stand pretty lively.
Until kick off ,the Derry City team wore Mark Farren T-shirts to highlight the club's effort to raise funds for Mark's brave fight against cancer. It was a cause well supported by those attending the City Calling Stadium, including a donation from the Supporters' Club.
With both teams on equal points, it was always going to be a close encounter. The awful underfoot conditions along with some questionable refereeing decisions added to the night's tension. When Conor Powell was red carded on 20 minutes, Derry really laid siege to the hosts' goals. Shortly afterwards, Stephen Rice was pulled down in the visitors' box but this time the whistle remained silent. The siege had started in earnest.
The ten men of Longford Town stood tall and brave as the Candystripes attacked in wave after relentless wave. They fired in numerous shots and sent over dangerous crosses and at one stage Derry seemed to have five men forward. Skinner made some superb saves and every man in front of him played his part with unflinching heroism. As soon as the ball was cleared, it was delivered straight back to our danger zone. The well timed tackles and blocks seemed to be going for ever and if Derry had scored it would have been the cruellest of blows.
But the defensive walls of Longford Town withstood the Derry barrage and continuous pounding and when the final whistle sounded, it was the Town camp which was by far the happier. We trudged home soaked and cold but happy with our valuable point.
Mid table with a third of the season gone is a pretty good return. Long may it last.
DUNDALK AT HOME
On Saturday night next, we welcome league leaders and current league champions to the City Calling Stadium for the first game of round two. Dundalk manager, Stephen Kenny got the usual warm Longford Town welcome as he made his way up the steps of the stand to cast a cold eye our water polo game against Derry City. We may not have scored but he will have to have been impressed with our fighting spirit when down to ten men against an other former club of his. It won't be possible for Dundalk to go through the league unbeaten and maybe we are the team to spring that first defeat on the Lilywhites. In the first game up in Dundalk, we could have snatched a draw in the final minutes but went down fighting in a narrow one nil defeat.
Dundalk should bring a large following and with a growing interest around the surrounding counties, we could see one of our biggest crowds this season in the City Calling Stadium. The weather surely has to improve which will also make a significant difference. If you intend on attending the game, please do come on time. The Clubhouse will be open before the game where you can relax, watch TV, have a chat and the best value cup of tea in the entire land.
Anthony Carr presented Kevin O'Connor with his trophy for being April's player of the month, just before the game against Derry City on Saturday last. Kevin was clearly surprised with his award but he shouldn't have been as between his superb strikes and non stop effective work rate, he was a clear winner and thoroughly deserved his award from the Supporters' Club.
CAR BOOT SALE
Once again, a big thank you to the small dedicated band of supporters who organise the Bank Holiday Car Boot Sales. The demand for funds is like the weekend's rain, it's non stop. We'd also like to thank all those who travel out to the City Calling Stadium to either buy or sell, many travel incredibly long distances. The only thing we can't control is the weather but we're doing our best on the prayer front there too. Our next Car Boot Sale will be on the June bank holiday Monday and if you could lend a hand, it'd be greatly appreciated.
The annual match programme fair will take place in St Andrew's Resource Centre, Parnell St., Dublin 2 on Sunday May 31st, 11am-4pm. Our representative Marty Stapleton will have his own stall selling De Town programmes and he'd love to see you there.
The Derry City supporters were collecting funds before the game on Saturday night to help fund expensive cancer treatment in Germany for Mark Farren, former star with Derry. The collectors were thrilled with the generous response from De Town supporters and the Supporters' Club also made a contribution to this worthy cause. Whilst we may battle on the field of play, off the pitch, the followers of sport, across all codes are really one big family and it's always encouraging to see this sort of positive co operation.