BUFFETED IN BALLYBOFEY
The snow capped mountains in Donegal looked stunning as we headed north west on Saturday night. However as soon as we got out of the warm, cosy bus the romance of the scenery was soon forgotten. As one well seasoned supporter described the Donegal wind “it's a lazy wind, it doesn't go round you, it cuts straight through you.”
Despite the cutting wind and the threat of snow, over 700 hardy souls turned up to watch De Town do battle with Finn Harps. And after only a few minutes, the scene from a Longford viewpoint, certainly did resemble a battle. Right from the kick off, Noel Haverty had to go with an elbow injury following a robust tackle., to be replaced by Nkololo. Five minutes later and Michael Isichei had to be replaced by Josh O'Hanlon, Isichei having injured his ankle badly. It was bad and unfortunate start. We've only played a handful of games and already we're looking like the Ireland rugby team as regards our mounting injury tally.
Despite the injuries, we had the lion's share of possession but just couldn't capitalise on it. Then to rub salt into our open wounds, that man Kevin McHugh found himslef with acres of space and time to fire hard and low into the net, putting the hosts one up and totally against the run of play. The first half saw us win five corners to one for Finn Harps but most of the corners were wasted with poor deliveries. When one was whipped over properly, Josh O'Hanlon thought he had headed an equaliser only to see his effort cleared off the line.
We expected a Finn Harps onslaught on the resumption now that they had the Siberian wind behind them. But of fairness to the Town, the lads battled gamely and really deserved at least a share of the points. The second half was barely was still only settling down when Keith Gillespie took a 25 yard free kick only to see it rocket off the crossbar with the keeper frozen to the spot like a snowman. That the same player wasn't taking more dead ball kicks was a constant source of puzzlement to many travelling supporters.Young O'Sullivan was a constant threat and was well able to take on and beat any defender. With 20 minutes to go he left his marker for dead inside the box and was duly pulled down. Incredibly the ref signalled for a free kick outside the box. This outrageous decision was to prove costly. Even the Finn Harps supporters admitted it was a clear penalty. The free kick did find the head of Brian McCarthy who duly headed home only to see his goal disallowed for an innocuous infringement. Indeed the ref had a busy night awarding frees and dishing out cards, six yellow cards to Finn Harps and two to us. But we had given back all those if only he had given us our deserved spot kick.
Try as we might, we simply couldn't find an equalising goal and the single McHugh strike secured all three points for the Harps. We certainly did deserve a point but, like life, you seldom get what you deserve in sport. All that faced us was a long journey back to Longford having been buffeted by the wind and the ref in a bitterly, bitingly cold Finn Park.
CAR BOOT SALE
We have our second Car Boot Sale this bank holiday Monday April 1st. As usual the venue is the City Calling Stadium, formerly known as Flancare and from 10am-3pm. But for the best bargains, make sure to arrive early. You wouldn't believe how early some stall holders turn up but as they say themselves, it's simply an indication of how successful and popular the Car Boot Sales are at the venue. Our first Car Boot Sale was a huge success with people travelling from all over the country to be present. A special thank you to Aidan Bennett and Liam Healion who are on duty, from the crack of dawn and to Johnny Nevin who was spotted there well before dawn. And then there's the group who tidy up afterwards led by Paddy Conway. The Car Boot Sales are a huge and valuable help to the Club but we can never forget the huge and valuable input by a few extraordinary supporters.
BUS TO COBH
It might be a long way to Tipperary but it's much longer to Cobh, our next port of call. It'll be an other extremely tough game on a tight pitch in front of a large home support. Section O are running the bus this time and to book your seat call Paddy Mc Garry on 087 7619299. The bus will be departing Longford at 12.30 and returning straight after the game. Hopefully the weather will be milder and the result a bit better than our Donegal experience.
The first division got its usual 12 seconds mention last Monday on MNS. Surely we deserve a little better than a few seconds thrown in at the end of the programme. But then again, they had former Premier managers Fenlon and O'Neill being interviewed on the programme recently and it was impossible to hear what they had to say. Someone up in MNS decided that whatever they had to say must have been boring and needed some added extra so they added music as background sound. The result? It was impossible to hear what they were saying. Sounds like an own goal at MNS.
We had a long trip home from Finn Park on Saturday night so to brighten things up Marty had some stats for us. I bet you didn't know that we've played Finn Harps 39 times up there. But our away record doesn't make for pleasant reading. We've won just 8 times, drawn 10 times which means that the hosts have won a staggering 21 times against us. We've managed to find the net 38 times but Harps have scored 74 goals against us. Thanks Marty!
Congrats to long time supporters Kathleen Buckley and Robert Farrell who are getting married this week. And a special welcome home for the joyeous occasion to Aisling who is travelling all the way from Venezeula. And we thought Cobh was a long trip.
Don't forget Tuesday night, April 2nd we play St Kevin's Boys from Dublin in the Leinster Senior Cup.