Match Report by Tony Ghee
Longford Town’s impressive six game unbeaten league run was brought to a halt in Stradbrook last night as a goal on the half-hour mark from Kevin Knight gave Cabinteely a one-nil victory, a result that sees Longford drop down to fifth in the League table after Finn Harps won away at Galway United.
The Town came into the contest with four wins and two draws from their last six games and the momentum of those back-to-back wins over Galway and Finn Harps over the Bank Holiday weekend had propelled Neale Fenn’s charges into the play-off positions. However, this was always going to be a tricky contest as Cabinteely are very hard beaten at home. Their three home losses to Wexford, Cobh, and Galway were all one goal defeats, while they have beaten UCD, Shelbourne, and Drogheda at Stradbrook, so a draw would have been an excellent result.
The first twenty-five minutes produced very little to entertain the fans but the Town suffered a huge blow after just twelve minutes when striker Dean Byrne who had produced four assists in the wins over Galway and Harps, went off injured with a groin problem that will probably keep him out of action for several weeks.
The first real shot at goal came after twenty-six minutes when McGlade ran at the Cabo defence, turned inside his marker and let fly from the edge of the box, but his shot went wide.
Disaster struck for the visitors on the half-hour mark as Cabinteely took the lead with their first effort on goal. Dalton floated a free-kick from the left into the Town box that was misjudged by Zambra and his attempted clearance deflected the ball straight to Knight at the back post and the Cabinteely full-back fired home from close range.
The Town suddenly came alive and began to exert pressure on the Dubliners defence. On thirty-three minutes, an Elworthy throw found McGlade who cleverly lifted the ball over defender Knight, he ran onto the ball but his strike was well off target.
In the thirty-ninth minute, a sweeping Town move carved open the Cabo rearguard. McDonnell intercepted a Cabo pass and played the ball to McGlade who quickly moved the ball to Mulhall, and Mulhall set-up Verdon for a shot that went narrowly wide.
Just before the interval, Town defender O’Reilly almost equalised but his thunderous fifteen-yard goalbound shot was brilliantly blocked.
Cabinteely should have doubled their advantage just two minutes after the restart. Marty Waters superb ball put in Clucas on the left side of the Longford box, and although the angle was slightly narrow, he only had Town keeper Kelly to beat, but instead of shooting to the far bottom corner he played a harmless ball across the six-yard box that was easily cleared.
Verdon shot over on fifty-two minutes from O’Reilly’s excellent long diagonal pass, while at the other end on seventy-six minutes, clever play from Waters set-up Watson who fired a shot just inches over the Town bar.
Longford completely dominated the last twenty minutes but failed to snatch a deserved equaliser due to a combination of poor finishing, good defending, and a couple of excellent saves from McGuinness in the Cabinteely goal.
Longford almost scored a dramatic injury time equaliser. Galvin’s twenty-yard shot was well saved by McGuinness but the ball came out to Verdon at the back post and he seemed destined to rattle the net from close range only for McGuinness to somehow get across to produce a magnificent save with Mulhall’s rebound strike blocked away.
The Town finished with ten players for the third time in four games as Galvin received his marching orders deep into injury time.
Next up for Longford Town is a home tie against Drogheda next Friday night at the City Calling Stadium at 7.45pm.
Cabinteely FC: McGuinness, Tuite, Fitzpatrick, Lotefa, Knight, Dalton, Watson, Dolan, Casey, Marty Waters, Clucas.
Substitutes: Morgan for Dolan (59 minutes), McGee and Byrne for Clucas and Casey (71 minutes).
Longford Town: Kelly, Elworthy, McDonnell, O’Reilly, Noack-Hofmann, Chambers, Hollywood, Zambra, McGlade, Byrne, Verdon.
Substitutes: Mulhall for Byrne (12 minutes), Hopkins for Chambers (56 minutes), Galvin for Hollywood (71 minutes)
SSE Airtricity League First Division
Finn Harps 2-4 Longford Town
Monday 4th June 2018
City Calling Stadium / 5.00pm
Match Report by James Donnelly
Longford Town rolled into Ballybofey yesterday evening high on momentum from the previous Friday’s brilliant win over Galway United at home. A trip up to Donegal only 3 days later seemed like a daunting task but De Town came away 4-2 winners in Finn Park in what was a physical, back and forth encounter.
Longford applied pressure on the northerners from the get go and there wasn’t more than 5 minutes on the clock when local star Aodh Dervin volleyed home from a Sam Verdon headed pass to put De Town 1-0 up. Dervin’s second goal in as many games for the club.
From then on, it was all Finn Harps. Ollie Horgan’s men began to hold possession and attack the Longford Town defence, Ciaran O’Connor going close from distance on 11 minutes, and Jesse Devers being denied by the finger tips of Town keeper Michael Kelly only a few moments later.
Sam Verdon could have put Longford 2-0 up on 14 minutes when a good solo run from the midfield saw the Dublin man’s shot hit the post of Ciaran Gallagher’s goal and bounce back out. A let off for the Donegal team.
Dylan McGlade got Longford’s second on the half hour mark when a beautifully placed pass from Dean Byrne found the pacy winger who easily slipped it past Gallagher in goal to put Longford in control.
Finn Harps had calls for a penalty waved away not too long after when Devers went down from what appeared to be an ok challenge from Dervin but Eoghan O’Shea immediately signalled no peno, much to the delight of the Longford Town travelling support and the dismay of Ollie Horgan.
The home side came out all guns blazing in the second half and it wasn’t long before they got their first goal back in the game. A challenge from Town defender Daniel O’Reilly resulted in a penalty for Finn Harps which Paddy McCourt duly put away with ease to get them back into the game. Only 4 minutes later, Harps got their equaliser when a through ball to Mikey Place saw him slip in behind the Town defence to slot it past Kelly to make it 2-2.
But Longford were having none of it. De Town marched straight back up the pitch from tip off and won a corner. The resulting cross was hit across the box to Dean Byrne who swung it back in to the head of Sam Verdon who headed home from close range to put Neale Fenn’s men back in the driving seat. Dean Byrne’s second assist of the game.
McGlade stunned the home support again with a brilliant solo effort on 80 minutes. Picking the ball up in the centre circle, he dribbled down field with speed before turning his man and blasting it low into the corner of the net to cement the win for Longford Town.
The game ended 4-2 in favour of De Town but not without controversy, a Finn Harps man being sent off after the final whistle, first for a kick at substitute Jamie Hollywood and then a disgusting headbutt on substitute Chris Mulhall.
Poor sportsmanship on display at the end of a great game for Longford Town.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Aidan Friel, Ciaran Coll (C), Keith Cowan, Jesse Devers, Ciaran O’Connor, Tommy McBride (red card), Mark Timlin, Paddy McCourt, Sam Todd.
Longford Town: Michael Kelly, Shane Elworthy, Daniel O’Reilly, Michael McDonnell, Tristan Noack-Hofmann, Dylan McGlade, Aodh Dervin, Dean Zambra (C), Dean Byrne, Sam Verdon, Karl Chambers
Subs: Jack Brady, Peter Hopkins (used), Chris Mulhall (used), Evan Galvin, Jamie Hollywood (used), Jackson Ryan.
INTERVIEW BY JAMES DONNELLY
Having made his first competitive start of the season against Athlone Town last weekend, LTFC Social Media Manager James Donnelly sat down with local star Aodh Dervin to chat about all things LTFC.
Having joined the Longford Town under-age system at 15 years old, the former Melview FC player lined out for the Red and Black for 3 matches in his first season while also still donning the Melview shirt. The lure of Dublin clubs and a higher possibility of being scouted came calling but the youngster ultimately decided to stay put in his home town.
“When I first played with Longford Town, it was a development squad. We only played 3 games and I still played with my local club Melview at the time too, but the league of Ireland was huge help. It gave you a reason to stay in Longford and not to go to Dublin teams, the under-age system is really good in Longford and it can only improve.”
Aodh is just one of a number of first team members who rose through the under-age ranks at Longford Town FC. Arvagh man Tristan Noack-Hofmann came through from the U17s along with Karl Chambers from the U19s in the last few years. A club Aodh has supported since he was a small child, he reminisced on memories of City Calling Stadium.
“As a kid it was obviously a dream to play for Longford. I used to go to the games and I always dreamt of walking out in front of the crowd. When I used to go to the games as a kid, I loved ‘Digger O’Brien’ the goal keeper and Sean Prunty. They’re the two I can remember the most.”
This interview remembers being a member of the Longford Town FC U16 team quite a few years ago and standing in City Calling Stadium after a game when a small, loud, 10 year old boy approached him. Carrying his football in one hand and wearing a Longford Town jersey that was down to his knees, he approached me and began to dissect my performance and proceeded to tell me where I struggled as a player and what I should do to improve. He then told me that one day he’d be on the senior team and show the league how to play football. That young kid is the player I’m now interviewing. When asked what advice he could give to the younger lads coming up through the ranks, Aodh revealed a more modest side than the one showed almost 10 years previous.
“To be honest James there’s not much advice I can give as I’m still young and learning. The big thing I have learned is always ask your coaches/ managers on how you can improve and become better because it goes a really long way…and maybe just enjoy your football. For a while I forgot to enjoy it but when you do enjoy it there’s no better feeling than it!”
Aodh is certainly enjoying his football, having got 90 minutes under his belt last week along with a few substitution appearances so far this season, I got his thoughts on being selected for the starting XI in the El Classico v Athlone.
“Starting against Athlone last week came as a bit of a shock but it was a great feeling being named in the team. I think my performance could have been better..I showed a lot of nerves early on and did some silly things but all the lads eased me into the game which made it easier as the game went on.”
While Aodh showed some nerves in the opening quarter, he soon settled and put in a sublime performance with numerous social media commentators naming him man of the match. Anyone who watches can see why he has been called up to the International team on a number of occasions. He is a great example of a home grown player who loves his club. There was Zak Hackett in the past, Sean Prunty, Michael Lee, to name but a few locals who’ve stood out…now we have Aodh Dervin. Longford’s own.
Match Preview by James Donnelly
SSE Airtricity League First Division
Shelbourne FC v Longford Town FC
Friday 16th March 2018
Longford Town head to Tolka Park tonight off the back of a comfortable 3-0 win over Wexford FC at City Calling Stadium last weekend courtesy of goals from two former Shelbourne men; Chris Mulhall (2) & Dylan McGlade. Shels were away to Finn Harps in Ballybofey where they drew 1-1 courtesy of a goal from former Longford Town striker and record goalscorer David O’Sullivan.
Longford go into tonights game currently sitting on top of the First Divison with 5 points, Shels are in 8th place with 1 point. A hard fought 2-2 draw with Cobh Ramblers on opening day followed by last weekends win over Wexford saw Longford top the table. A defeat to UCD on the first day of the league saw Shelbourne head to Finn Harps after the weather cancellations, having not played a home game yet this season.
Alan Kehoe is still out injured from Longford and should not be expected back for a number of weeks. Shelbourne are missing Aidan Collins and Mark Hughes through injury while Alan Byrne and Derek Pendergast return to the squad this week.