KICK OFF VS MERVUE
At long last the season kicks off and the long wait is over. We start our campaign with a trip west to take on Mervue at Fahy's Field, kick off 7.45pm. Make no mistake about it, this is going to be a tricky opener and of we can get a share of the points, I think we'd be happy enough. A win of course would be so much better but we have to be realistic.
Mervue have signed a few former Galway Utd players and even without those signings, were a real force to be reckoned with last season. Indeed one Shelbourne fan with Longford links, maintains that Mervue will be the surprise packet of the first division and that they gave Shels a better game than we did. All will be revealed very soon.
At the moment we're minus a few first eleven due to injuries, even at this early stage. However on a positive note, local lad Michael Lee hopes to be fit again for our first home game the following Saturday against Athlone.
It's strange having no Galway Utd in the west this year but with their club President moving to the Phoenix Park, more changes were inevitable. Seemingly the Supporters put in a bid with a team but their application was late.
Anyway, all roads will lead west on Friday night and don't forget the awkward detour at Ballymacormack if you intend taking that road. Safe travelling.
BUS TO MERVUE
At the time of typing our transport manager was unavailable due, no doubt, to a golfing outing. So, despite a possible mauling, I'm taking a chance is saying there may be a bus heading west. Ring Liam on 087 6141926 and he'll surely know. But, please ring by Wednesday so that he can have an idea of numbers. If it's left til the last minute, it's simply impossible to organise transport.
Sligo Rovers were our final opposition before the real war breaks on on Friday night. In many ways it was a little like turning back the clock; Sligo had no logos on their jerseys as their sponsorship with a local garage deal had only been signed the night before. The photographer present, failed to seize the unique Sligo shot and choose instead to snap the local team. Also the pitch was not as pristine as usual due, no doubt, to the heavy recent rainy season and a huge amount of under age games played.Most approved our new away strip and hopefully it will be soon be available in the club shop along with some other LTFC items.
But despite being without their talisman Cook, the visitors still showed a fair amount of passing ability and oodles of luck too. Following their lucky win in the last Cup Final, it looks like they still have a fair share of it. We were down two nil at the break, their second coming from a mistake by us. But our second half performance was totally different and we really took the game to our highly rated opponents. The introduction of young Shaw up front had a huge and immediate impact and was unlucky not to make it 2-1. But Sligo raced upfield and somehow managed to make it 3-0, totally against the run of play. I suppose some Sligo fans would say that they should have won 4-0 given that they were awarded a soft penalty but which was saved by Hyland.
Overall we gave a pretty good performance and all agree that there is definitely plenty of potential for the season ahead. The Sligo fans turned out in great numbers to support their Bit O Red and hopefully they'll do the N4 proud during the season.
A warm word of thanks to the Longford Arms Hotel who kindly sponsored the game and who also hosted both teams after the game.
THE SEASON AHEAD
We'll kick off the new season just like all seasons with plenty of hope and positivity in our hearts. This time round, we seem to have a truly exciting blend of youth and experience and if we can stay injury free, we should be right up there at the end. We start off minus a few regulars who may be gone, but certainly not forgotten. Their passing will be marked officially at the start of our first home game next on Saturday week. The FAI have said they've increased prize money but the amounts of money that have to be paid to the FAI are bordering on the frightening. And when referees fees are added along with all the other rising costs, it's going to be an uphill battle for all clubs.With all their outgoings, perhaps clubs should ask for a breakdown of where exactly the Airtricity cash is going.
Sligo Rovers have been signed up by an Audi garage in Sligo which they hope will help them motor through the League. One man who will have no problems motoring this season will be our esteemed chairman Jim Hanley who is sporting a brand new BMW seven series. And not to be outdone, supporters' club wit Tom Kelly will be taking delivery on a new motor as soon as the suppliers can add some red stripes to the black of his chosen chariot. And by the time all these new cars have been run in, they'll be whizzing to Flancare on the new bypass which is supposed to open by the end of our season. Watch this space.
TEXAS HOLD 'EM
The Longford Arms Hotel will be holding a Texas Hold 'em in aid of Longford Town Football Club starting this Friday night and for Friday nights afterwards. The starting time is 9pm and with the central location, this promises to be a night and indeed nights not to be missed. It's anticipated that players from all over the midlands and as far away as Sligo will be in attendance. Don't miss it.
CAR BOOT SALE
Don't forget our Car Boot Sale which will be held on March 19th, that's the Bank Holiday Monday after St Patrick's day. This date has been our traditional opening car boot sale and has always been a huge success. Once again this year, we have had people from all over Ireland asking us if we're still running them and the answer is that yes, of course we are. The venue and times as well as the bargains remain the same, Flancare Park, 10-3pm Monday 19th March.
HIGH MORAL GROUND
Ever since the debacle of the rugger postponement in Paris, the letters' pages of some papers have been carrying items about how the “soccer crowd” would have reacted to such a cock up.Many seem to be of the opinion that the followers of the beautiful game would have found it difficult to keep their emotions in check. Maintaining the high moral ground can be extremely dangerous as the flow of oxygen can easily dry up. But, in fairness, maybe it's easy to maintain that same high moral ground when your sport is as international as cricket or polo or show jumping and the followers just as numerous.
One particular incident comes to mind involving the followers of Longford Town FC when tempers could have boiled over, but of course didn't. We were gathered at Dublin airport heading to our European game in Bulgaria. With boarding passes in hand, and after a 16 hour wait for a plane that didn't show, we were told we'd have to return home to Longford by bus. And what was the result...did we run amock, wreck the place, was the riot police called ? Not a bit of it. Bitterly disappointed, we headed home sad and tired but with great dignity.Like true supporters of any sport, we know how to conduct ourselves but the rugger supporters who have tried to divide sports' supporters ought to hang their heads in shame.
The Supporters' Club would like to offer its sincere sympathy to Paddy Donnelly on the tragic and untimely death of his sister in law in Dublin last week. May she rest in peace.