Saturday night. It’s the one everybody has been waiting for. 👀
The battle for ruler of the Midlands is upon us. 🙌
It’s El Clasico! ⚽️
Longford Town FC v Athlone Town AFC 🥅
Kick off: 7:30PM. 🕢
City Calling Stadium. 🏟
(Poster by James Donnelly)
Match Preview by Tony Ghee
The first ‘El Clasico De Midlands’ of the 2019 season takes place this Friday night at the Athlone Town Stadium with the game getting under way at 7.45pm.
After a couple of horrendous seasons, Athlone Town have started this campaign in whirlwind fashion as they are third in the First Division just behind Bray and Shels on goal difference, with the top three having accumulated nine points out of twelve from their opening four matches.
Athlone’s only loss was a two-nil home defeat to Shels, but last weekend, they came away from the Carlisle Grounds with all three points after an impressive one-nil triumph over Bray at the Wicklow venue.
Man-of-the-Match and club skipper Aaron Brilly scored the crucial goal that secured the victory over Bray as he finished off a move that involved three former Longford players.
Darren Meenan joined Athlone from Longford in the close season and he supplied the pass to another ex Longford player, Keelan Dillon, and he inturn played the ball to skipper Brilly who slotted home past Bray keeper Sava.[caption id="attachment_17633" align="aligncenter" width="5472"] Action from one of Longford Town’s games against Athlone Town last season.[/caption]
Longford Town are the only unbeaten side in the first division with one victory and two draws in their opening three games as they are currently fifth on five points, however, the ‘Red & Black’ do have a game in hand over the teams above them after last week’s game at home to Galway Utd was postponed.
The last outing for Neale Fenn’s charges was the one all draw away to Cabinteely with Sam Verdon on target for Longford.
Last season, Longford won five-one and three-nil at the City Calling Stadium, while the other league encounter at the Athlone Town Stadium ended in a one all draw.
As well as Brilly, Meenan, and Dillon, Athlone have two other former Longford players in their ranks. Rhys Gorman who won the First Division Title with Longford back in 2014 and Kaleem Simon are also now playing for the opposition.
On the team news front, apart from Carlton Ubaezuono, all other squad members are available for selection.
Finally, for those that cannot make the game, Kieran Burke and Jon Brier’s Between The Stripes will be broadcasting live coverage of the big match on mixlr.com/betweenthestripes/
An Athlone own goal helped settle nerves and then two well taken goals from Aodh Dervin and Jamie Hollywood ensured that we netted three points. Of course it could have been more but for some excellent saves by the visiting keeper. But three points from three goals and in third gear was a fair result on a lovely summer’s evening.
Considering we had been badly beaten by Shels the previous week, we had an excellent crowd in attendance on Saturday night last. Indeed, if Athlone had brought any support at all, it could have been the best attended game of the season. But our near neighbours are going through a rough patch and their support, sadly, has dropped away. Nice to see an old pal Ger Brilly in attendance and looking good. One man who keeps on attending our home games was present again on Saturday night and that’s Finn Harps manager, Ollie Horgan. And once again, we welcomed a group of supporters who had travelled all the way from Tromso, which is just above the Arctic circle in Norway. Two weeks ago, we entertained our first Norwegian group but this Tromso set was even bigger again. Preben and Tobias paid a visit to the City Calling Stadium and hopefully, a trend has been set in Tromso, Norway. It now appears that we’ll have more supporters north of the Arctic than north of Drumlish.
FAMILY FUN DAY
There was an excellent turn out for our first Family Fun Day and it was great to see so many young boys and girls with their parentsenjoying the sunny evening at the City Calling Stadium. When it came to penalty shoot outs or distance shooting, the girls were every bit as good as the boys. Hopefully the Family Fun Day will now become a permanent fixture in our season’s calendar. Hats off to the organisers and of course our invaluable volunteers for whom Saturday was an extremely long day.
CAR BOOT SALE
Thankfully Longford remained dry and warm on the Bank Holiday Monday ensuring a bumper crowd for our car boot sale. Once again, cars stretched for miles on either side of the approach roads to the CCS. Absolutely everything imaginable was for sale for bargain prices. The car boot sale was the end of a demanding weekend for LTFC volunteers, many of whom were on duty from before sunrise. It makes you wonder what the country would do without the services of a veritable army of big hearted people who give freely of their time, week in, week out. At the entrance, we facilitated Ballynacargy GAA set up a stall to sell tickets for their own fundraising efforts. Sporting ecumenism.[gallery ids="18708,18707,18709,18710,18711,18712"]
DAN DE LION
Heartiest congratulations to Emma Creighton who won the competition to name our recently returned mascot. Emma came up with the flowery name Dan De Lion which was really worthy of her winning a free season ticket for the 2019 season, the year when we’ll be automatically promoted, if we don’t make it this season, that is. And just to show that Dan De Lion is fit and well and happy to be home again, he won the half time race against the other Disney mascots on Saturday night. Welcome home Dan De Lion, may you never wither.
AWAY TO SLIGO
This Saturday, we head up the N4 to face Sligo Rovers in the Irish Mail FAI Cup, First Round. Kick off is at 7.45pm in the Showgrounds. Sligo received national coverage recently that they had no home league games for weeks on end. But they had Derry on Monday August 6th in the EA Sports Cup semi final and ourselves this Saturday. So that’s not too bad. Sligo are lucky this season that both Bray and Limerick are having all sorts of problems off the pitch, which in turn means that they’ll probably survive in the top flight. They’ll be expecting to beat us easily on their home patch but then again, they expected to beat us last season too. And we all remember that particular result. C’mon de Town.
A controlled and comfortable performance sees De Town get back to winning ways in the last El Classico of the 2018 season. An Athlone own goal and goals from Aodh Dervin and Jamie Hollywood sees Longford get all 3 points.
Karl Chambers receives his Player of the Month award for July from Ray Grehan, LTFC Supporters’ Club
Some of the action from tonight’s 3-0 home win against Athlone Town.[gallery link="file" ids="18601,18602,18603,18604,18605,18606,18607,18608,18609,18610"]
The 3 goals which bagged all three points against Athlone tonight.
Pics from the Family Fun Day where the young and not so young entered into the spirit of the fun event.
Fair play to the players who make time for their young supporters after each home game. As you can see some of them are awestruck at meeting their heroes up close and personal.