SSE Airtricity League First Division
Athlone Town v Longford Town FC
Athlone Town Stadium • Friday 25th May • 7.45pm
Match Preview by James Donnelly
The second ‘El Classico De Midlands’ of the 2018 season sees Longford Town make the short journey over to Athlone on Friday night to face bottom of the league Athlone. In what used to be a game revelled by many, it has now become a normal league game, one in which many would expect Longford Town to win comfortably.
The first meeting between the teams ended in a 5-1 thrashing in favour of Longford Town. Although Athlone started the game brightly, scoring in the 1st minute courtesy of a brilliant finish from Rory McCullough, Longford went on to dominate the game with goals coming from Chris Mulhall (x2), Dean Byrne (x2) and Evan Galvin.
Since then, Athlone have parted ways with Aaron Callaghan and are now being managed by Terry Butler. Butler has brought some form of stability, albeit not in terms of results but in their way of playing. They narrowly lost out to Drogheda on a 1-0 scoreline at home before losing out to league leaders UCD. UCD were only winning 1-0 until they scored 2 more in injury time. It will be interesting to see the difference in this Athlone team compared to the one that suffered that heavy defeat a couple of months ago.
Longford Town’s Michael McDonnell and Aodh Dervin pictured in action against Athlone earlier in the season.
Longford Town go into Friday night’s game off the back of a frustrating 1-1 draw with Shelbourne FC. In a game that both teams needed to win, a magnificent solo effort from Longford’s Dylan McGlade was enough to cancel out former Town striker David O’Sullivan’s header.
Longford have scored 21 goals so far this season whereas Athlone have struggled in that area, only scoring 6. Longford have also been fairly sound defensively only conceding 12 goals but Athlone have conceded a massive 46 goals in the league so far.
Town will possibly look to wingers Dylan McGlade and Peter Hopkins to open up the play. The return of Aodh Dervin last week was a massive boost and Town fans will be interested to see what role he plays in the derby.
On the team news front, Cian Byrne, Shane O’Connor and Alan Kehoe are all still out on the injury list. Adam O’Connor is doubtful.