ESCAPE FROM LIMERICK
There wasn't wasn't too much to cheer us as we headed south through flooded boglands and mucky silage fields. The skies were leaden and threatening and with more shades of grey than a book shop shelf. Playing one of the most expensive teams in either league in their own back yard adding to the general foreboding. But supporters who make the huge effort to support De Town at away games don't travel just for the craic. Despite being outsiders, the opinion on the luxury coach exuded confidence. A point would be OK but we certainly could surprise the Shannonsiders and losing was simply not on the agenda. After all this was a team that had never lost on the road and that's a remarkable record.
There were almost a thousand fans present in the quaint Jackman Park. They had a stand selling tickets for their high profile clash against Man City and at kick off it appeared that their attention was indeed on that game. We opened very well and confidently and with a bit of luck Daniel Purdy or Gary Shaw could have had us one up. Although the home side grew in confidence towards the end of the half, the Town were winning every broken ball as well as tackling like demons. Though vastly outnumbered in the fan numbers, the home crowd had precious little to cheer about. There was one incident when they hit the crossbar and the locals thought the ball had crossed the line.It was an extremely close call but we survived. Throughout the game, the ref seemed to be a real “homer” but when we escaped that one,we reckoned our luck was in.
The second half opened with an early kitchen sink being thrown our way. Within minutes,it was hearts in mouth time when a shot seemed destined for the net as both players and supporters held their collective breaths. As time stood still, the ball glanced off the upright which brought more sighs of frustration from the home crowd. Our sighs of relief lifted our thumping hearts. When captain Keith Gillespie's mis kick flew dangerously to our crossbar, there was yet an other audible sigh of relief from the travelling fans.
With the clock ticking both managers emptied their bench in search of a winner or holding on to what we had.The tension was unbearable and texts asking for updates went unanswered. Every single player played his heart out and as the minutes ticked slowly,Limerick increased the siege. They varied their attack,they threw every trick in the book at us; they dribbled, crossed, dived, had long shots, dummies, every single thing. But every red and black wearing player put their body on the line. They showed incredible energy, dogged determination rock solid organisation and the coolest of cool heads under intense bombardment. Both Mark Salmon and Michael Lee took massive hits but soldiered on with bravery which wouldn't be out of place on a battle field. With seconds remaining Kirbs broke away like a Ballinalee hare and linked up superbly with Gary Shaw but Gary just couldn't find a way past their keeper, then Limerick came thundering back but Craig Hyland was equal to a close range volley.
The shrill final whistle was warmly greeted by both sets of supporters because both teams had given their all in an enthralling contest.One local sports reporter said “ Limerick could have won this game five nil”. But the score board (not that they have one) read nil all. But really the locals expected to be ahead of us by six points and so it was Tony Cousins, his spirited team and the band of travelling supporters who left the Treaty city with the biggest smiles as we made our escape from Limerick back home through soggy bogs and ploughed silage fields.
HOME TO MERVUE
Saturday night sees us back home again after two games on the road. Finn Harps prove the tricky opposition as we learned to our cost last time we met at Flancare Park. We can blame the ref for that crash but that's history now. Since then we've managed to strengthen our squad due to the sad demise of Monaghan. Hopefully too we can improve our home performances. If we're to push for promotion, then we simply have to improve at home. But if we can reproduce our away performances of the last two games, then we'll give any visiting team a very hard time. We have 42 points on the board as we head to mid August which is an excellent return. Put it this way, we'd have been more than happy with that haul before the season kicked off. But what we really really could do with, is more local support. Many absent and lapsed fans returned to see the game against Man Utd reserves and as many promised they'd be back for the next home game. Well now, this is that next home game, we've collected four valuable points on the road, played extremely well in doing so, now it's up to you to come out and support your own...that's real sport.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH
Congratulations to Thomas Crawley on being our popular Player of the month for July. It was long testing month matchwise but Thomas showed he's made of tough stuff and with his undying spirit and boundless energy along with oodles of skill, he's our worthy winner of the July award. Brendan Turner,our chairman will present the trophy before the game against Finn Harps on Saturday night.
Happy birthday to our hard working Liam Healion who has yet an other birthday quietly creep up on him this week. If he behaves, Mags will have a special cake for him. Nice to see Johnny Nevin back from Sicily.Bon Voyage to super supporter Devinia Dardis who is heading to London this week-end to see the queen .
Being true sports fans, we wish Longford man Derek Burnett all the best at the Olympics in London.No doubt he'll give it his best shot. Raymond Grehan is representing us over there as a spectator as is Tamara Gervasoni as a volunteer. Longford people who represented Ireland at the games include Ivo Fairbairn-Crawford (1908 London Olympics), A.F. Delany ('48 London and '52 Helsinki), Ray Flynn,'80 Moscow, '84 Los Angeles, Eddie Macken '92 Barcelona,'96 Atlanta and of course Derek Burnett Beijing, Athens, Sydney and London 2012. But maybe you already knew all those Longford sporting facts......
CAR BOOT SALE
A sincere thank you to every one who supported our recent Car Boot Sale. With Flancare Park now more easily accessible because of the new by pass, it should see numbers increase even further for our next one.