HARD WON VICTORY
Longford Town sit on top of the First Division following this hard won victory against near neighbours Athlone Town on Saturday night last.Of course there's a long hard road road ahead, but “ a good start is half the battle”we're told and even if it's only after two games, we'll take any good news to banish some of the bad news.
The game was played on a beautiful spring night with temperatures at a heady 10 degrees at the final whistle. The flags were at half mast in memory of our esteemed past President John Donlon and loyal supporter Padraic Gearty and the impeccably observed minutes silence that followed was a fitting tribute to both men.
The pitch was greatly improved and all the omens pointed to a cracker of a game. From the line up , it looked like we really going all out in attack with a 4-3-3 set up. Like the previous week, we played the better football, but for long periods failed to press home that superiority and their keeper was hardly troubled. Matters were helped by an overfussy referee . He managed to yellow card Deans, Salmon and James as well as the same amount of Athlone players and yet it was far from being a dirty contest.
It was a great low shot from Purdy which lit up the evening on 39 minutes and as half time approached, we were getting ready for a cup of tea in the Clubhouse with a one nil advantage to wash down the tea. However, last season we seemed vulnerable either side of the whistle and in the added minute Athlone headed an equaliser with their first attack of the night. Suddenly an added spoon of sugar was needed to sweeten that bitter pill.
Both teams upped the tempo in the second period but we were still the dominant side. It took the slippery Salmon magic to turn his man and dribble through before smashing the ball to the back of the net for a really good individual goal to really bring the night to life. Up until then , the crowd was uncharacteristically muted. The Section O outfit seemed to have numbers but no voice.
Later we could have added to the score but instead, our visitors piled on some pressure with Hyland making a wonderful save from a free which saw the ball screaming to the top right corner.
A draw would have unjust but it was a hard earned three points in front of almost 600 supporters, many of whom travelled from Athlone. There were many happy faces leaving Flancare on Saturday night, relishing our table top position for however long it lasts. But the entire evening was best summed up by one long time supporter who quipped “ the Daw would have been happy with that”.
CAR BOOT SALE
This coming week-end is the St Patrick's day festival with the highlight being the CAR BOOT SALE on the Bank Holiday Monday,March 19th at Flancare 10-3pm. For years now our car boot sales have been hugely successful for everyone involved. Buyers and sellers converge on Flancare from all over the west and midlands and the vast majority tell us they go home happy with terrific bargains. No matter what you're looking for you'll find it at the car boot sale at incredibly low prices and not only that, the banter and craic is second to none. It's a wonderful way to spend some time and whether you're buying or selling , you'll be in a win win situation.
HALF TIME PRESSURE
With half our senior team absent ( all genuine reasons), we were under serious pressure ot half time in the Clubhouse during the game against Athlone. I suppose we're victims of our own success and word has spread to all visiting supporters about our value for money fare. Our supply of hand made sandwiches sold out in minutes and we just about had sufficient coffee and tea. We apologise to anyone who had to wait a little longer than usual but we'll have our full staff back for the next home game and that's a promise. We also will have hot chocolate available following on from so many requests.
Congratulations to Trevor Burke, Clondra and his Corkonian wife who got married on Saturday in Cork. Most of Section O travelled south for the occasion and certainly let the locals know about De Town with their non stop singing and good humour. Meanwhile Marty was spotted flying north on a totally different mission. Hopefully we'll have Section O back in full force at Flancare for our next home game which will be against Waterford. An other Town fan who was celebrating was Bill Casey, originally from Newtowncashel but now resident in Carlow. Bill had a 70th party on Friday night last and was unable to travel to Flancare on Saturday night due, no doubt, to fatigue. No doubt, the Carlow branch of the supporters' club will be able to make the short trip to Carlow on Friday night. Congrats are in order too to Emmet Ryan, Clubhouse manager who is one of the escorts for the Rose of Tralee, Longford section. A genuine smooth operator, whose Rose escort will find no prickly problems with our Emmet.
Fair play to the lads behind the match programme who produced a minor gem for the game against Athlone. Ray Donlon had a superb action shot on the front but it was inside that the real gems were waiting to be discovered. Some clubs go to great lengths to find sponsors but someone within the Flancare set up has really pushed the boat out this time...or should that be,plane. The match sponsors were Vemtura Ltd., not from Melview or Mostrim but from Moscow. Limerick might be signing players from Russia but we have an eastern link too. Moscow, who'd have ever thought of that when the Town was founded in the Temperance Hall way back in 1924.
Turning back the clock too was a lovely article by Cork City's Dave Galvin who penned a piece on John Donlon. Apart from the article, he also had a wonderfully evocative photo of De Town team from over 50 years ago . Along with John Donlon in that photo were Bobby Kane, Tommy Leavy, George Reddy, Johnny Finnegan, Jack Comerford, Jack Lawless, Johnny Graham, Jackie Mc Cormack, Mick Corkery, Aidan “Boxer” Browne,Micky Mc Daid, Jackie Nolan and Paddy Clabby.
On Friday night we travel to the sunny south east to take on Wexford Youths, the team that stunned and shattered Waterford 6-0 in the opening game. Wexford, like ourselves remain unbeaten after two games but they have 4 points to our six. So incredibly, this clash is between the first and second spots in the first division. Now , who in their right minds would have predicted that one.
It's a long long way down to Wexford and it's not helped by the fact that it's being played on a bank holiday Friday which will mean extra traffic. Those who travel a lot have said the best way to go is the M4, then the M50 and onto the M11 or as much of it that's finished. Going through Tullamore,Portlaoise and Carlow would add a few years to your stress levels . An other awkward addition is that if there is a bus heading to the game, it'd have to be leaving in the afternoon. But if there are enough people getting in touch with Liam by Wednesday, we'll run one. Give him a shout before Wednesday evening on 087 6141926.
A GRAND GRAND
With money being so tight these days, a grand would be grand. Paddy Mc Donald , of the Dublin branch of the Supporters' Club has a great offer from Axa Insurance. If 50 members or indeed their families take out house or car insurance with the group, they'll give LTFC €1,000. Now wouldn't that be grand. So if your insurance is due for renewal, give Paddy a shout on 01 4711907, 9am-10am Monday to Friday and he'll look after you. Axa, by the way, have taken a sign on the half way line at Flancare which was a welcome boost to the kitty.
TEXAS HOLD EM
The Texas Hold Em is going very well in the Longford Arms Hotel on Friday nights, kick off 9pm. Everyone is welcome for a terrific night's enjoyment.