Last Saturday night tested the nerves. With only minutes remaining, it looked like our season was well and truly over. One all against a hungrier Wexford Youths, one despondent supporter cum philosopher pondered why we bother at all, year in, year out. Having gone one up after 30 minutes through a rocket from Rhys Gorman, we seemed to have lost the plot totally. Ten minutes from time and the visitors were on level terms. The silence around the ground seemed to confirm our place in the coffin that's the First Division.
But despondency soon turned to unbridled joy as Gary Shaw latched on to a mis- kick from a Wexford defender to put us back in front. It was the strikers second goal of the season but it could turn out to be a golden goal yet. Now as the cliché says, “ it's down to the wire” on Saturday night when Waterford, Mervue or ourselves fight for those two elusive places in the play offs.
What is certain, is that we have to play much better than of late. In truth, Wexford Youths deserved a share of the spoils and it was no wonder that their young side were devastated when the final whistle sounded. Earlier in the day Kevin Doyle might have thrown a life buoy to the Wexford Youths set up but Gary Shaw tripped their strut.
Our old friend from Waterford Utd, Alan Reynolds was an interested spectator who took plenty of notes in anticipation of meeting us after the Athlone game. Whether he'll need those notes, is a different matter. But with the crowd on its feet and hearts in their moths as the final whistle loomed, it was heartening that we left City Calling Stadium with hopes still alive. And that's why we bother to come out, year after year,.... we have to keep the faith !!
Even though it's a huge game for us next Saturday night against league champions, it won't be easy being there. The hosts will have a huge crowd to watch Roddy's Rugged army lift their crown and no doubt act the clown. Those who were present when we last travelled to Shannonside remember the nasty banner and banter. They're worthy champions but some of their following won't win many friends next season. Anyway, maybe the taste is of grapes that are bitter and , of so,it'll pass in time. But this is a game we must win and it's going to be one of our most difficult. Our desire to win has to increase dramatically if we're to have any chance. Finn Harps beat Athlone last week but Roddy will have his troops armed and prepared for what could be the last derby between the clubs for quite a while. One thing is for sure, expect that no prisoners will be taken in the clash of the Towns.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH, SEPTEMBER
It was an all Connolly affair on Saturday night last when Ryan Connolly was presented with his award for being the September Player of the Month by Padraig Connolly. Padraig may be based in Dublin but as every Longford Town supporter knows, his heart never left Longford. So it was fitting that the two big hearted Connollys who give absolutely everything to the cause were in front of the stand on Saturday night, one honouring the other but, of course it could have been in reverse too. Follow that and you should be doing honours Maths.
END OF SEASON AWARDS
At the time of penning this column, we don't know for sure when our season will be truly over. But it's not too early to be considering your nominations for the end of season awards. And in case you can't remember, we have trophies for Player of the Season and for Goal of the Season and it's up to you to nominate for these awards. As usual text your nominations along with your own name to 087 9896269. We'll know more about a cut off date on Saturday night before 10pm.
SUPPORTERS' CLUB RAFFLE
A sincere thank you to everyone who supported our recent Raffle in any way, those who sold and those of who bought tickets. Some really went out of their way to sell as many books as possible and while it's always dangerous to single out one person,Donald Keogh does merit special a special mention. Quote simply, without Donald and a few of his good mates, it wouldn't have been the success it was. Ticket sellers and dogs are banned from many places so therefore many of us now know what it's like to be a dog. There are many more ways to pass the time than selling tickets but they're vital to keep the show on the road. So again, a sincere thank you to all who support us.
The prize winners and prizes are as follows:
1st Mark Connors, Dublin; €1000 travel voucher from Kanes Travel
2nd Patricia Duane, Elphin; €500 travel voucher from Kanes Travel
3rd Evelyn Shaw, Longford; Man Utd signed jersey.
4th Dermot Stapleton, Dublin and Longford; Man Utd signed ball
5th Tom Chapman, Longford; Franz Beckenbauer ball
6th Tiernan Dolan, Longford; Celtic signed jersey
7th Francis Haverty, Kildare; Celtic signed ball
8th Jenny Quinn, Dublin; meal for two at Viewmount.
Congrats are in order for Deniese Flaherty on her birthday on Saturday. She was still opening her pressies in the press box half an hour after kick off when Rhys scored and she forgot to announce it.
We missed Tony Ghee who was spotted at a rugby match in Limerick.
Some “experts” in the stand didn't rate him when first he arrived here but Dave Mooney soon silenced his critics and still continues to do so in emphatic style. Last week he picked up Player of the Month for September for his club Leyton Orient, having scored nine goals to keep his side tops.Maybe Sully will follow him next season (we hope not, just yet) but Sully now has his own fan club, who have taken up residence to the left of Section O as we view them from the stand.
We all wish Paddy Conway a quick return to his duties at City Calling Stadium following a recent illness. The atmosphere is just not the same Paddy and we wish you a speedy recovery to full health.