Tag: player interview

PLAYER INTERVIEW: Jamie Doyle

Sun Aug 26th 2018

Interview by Andrew Dempsey

(Originally published in this weekend’s Talk Of The Town match programme)

Having joined the club from Shelbourne in the summer transfer window to ease Neale Fenn’s attacking woes, new Town signing Jamie Doyle burst onto the Longford Town scene with bang following a superb brace at Éamonn Deacy Park last week.

With that goal-scoring monkey now officially off his back, Jamie spoke with the Longford Town FC official matchday programme ahead of the tantalising home clash against Shelbourne in the 2nd Round of the FAI Cup on Saturday evening at the City Calling Stadium.

With news of his signature coming just days after De Town’s superb win over UCD at the Belfield Bowl, the 24-year-old target man revealed that he has enjoyed every minute of his spell at the club to date since his move from our upcoming opponents Shelbourne at the beginning of the summer transfer window.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at the club so far! The lads have all made me feel very welcome since I came in on July 1st. I knew quite a few of the lads coming into the club anyway before I came to the City Calling Stadium and knowing the assistant manager Daire Doyle was a bonus as well, so I’ve settled into the group very well!”

While knowing a fair few of his new teammates prior to his arrival at the City Calling Stadium, Jamie wasn’t all too familiar with many of his new teammates as he walked into the dressing room for the very first time.

[caption id="attachment_18960" align="aligncenter" width="348"] Jamie Doyle has settled in well for De Town so far. (Picture: Longford Leader/Syl Healy)[/caption]

However, getting to build relationships with his new partners in crime wasn’t that much of an issue as we have seen in recent games given the superb on-pitch connection between Doyle and the creative forces empowering the Town first-team, which Jamie remarked on.

“Yeah the lads have been great to me so far! I’ve never played with Darren Meenan or Dylan McGlade before and I seem to have struck up a good partnership with the lads already during the last couple of games alongside Sam Verdon, so it’s been enjoyable for myself since I came in. I’m a close friend of Daniel O’Reilly from before so I suppose that helps a bit!”

Given the contrast in footballing styles between Neale Fenn’s Longford Town and Owen Heary’s Shelbourne, it would be easy to suggest that the former UCD hitman would struggle to adapt to his new style of play at the City Calling Stadium.
Despite this, the ex-Leixlip United striker noted that he has found the transition into Neale’s side as rather seamless given his experience under a possession-based system at UCD back in 2015.

“What Neale is implementing here at the minute suits me right down to the ground. I know at Shels I was playing under a much different playing style, but I was at UCD a few years back, so I’m well used to passing the ball around the deck. We played a similar way there a few years ago so I found it easy enough getting back into the swing of things once again!”

As mentioned previously, our new number nine announced his grand arrival when it mattered last Friday night when it mattered most against Galway United.

Along with the magnificent Dylan McGlade, the Dubliner scored a fantastic double to send De Town on their way to morale boosting win against the Tribesmen to get his Longford Town account up and running, much to his relief after a few good chances evaded him in recent games.

“I was thrilled to get my first couple of goals for the club against Galway on Friday evening. I nearly had a few against Shels not so long ago so I was itching to get a few goals under my belt. It was great to get that monkey off my back against Galway so hopefully I can keep them going in the back of the net between now and the end of the season!”

The FAI Cup will always have a special place in the heart of many a Longford Town fan. The cup wins of 2003 and 04’ are still etched in the memory of even the least interested Town supporter given the buzz and excitement it created for the county.
Comparing a cup tie to a league one is nigh on impossible, as mentioned by Doyle who relishes the freedom that a cup game brings up compared to the high-pressure nature of a normal league game where everyone is scrapping it out for points.

“In a cup game you feel as if there’s no real pressure on yourself. It’s a kind of free hit to try and get the club into the next round. In comparison to the league games, there’s no serious pressure in terms of getting back into the race for the Playoff spots so everyone plays with that bit more freedom compared to the league games really!”

Given the circumstances of our last few games against Shelbourne, it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility to suggest that there is a genuine passion within the Longford Town dressing room to finally get one over on Owen Heary’s Reds.
That sentiment was confirmed by Jamie, who feels that his new side have more than enough in the arsenal to get one over on their playoff-chasing foes.

“We’re all hungry to get this game underway on the weekend especially after what happened at Tolka Park last time we played them. The game obviously didn’t go our way with some decisions going against us. It wasn’t down to the way we played or anything, we played very well that night against Shels so hopefully we can get a few early goals and get through to the quarter finals of the cup!”

And finally, the recently recruited Dublin native had this to say to about the wonderful support that the team have received since his arrival into squad back in early July.

“The supporters have been brilliant so far! The lads over at Section O have been incredible every week. They were so noisy at Tolka that time and over in Sligo away at the Showgrounds they were very noisy as well. In Galway last week they were terrific and as a group we really appreciate them. It gives us a massive lift for the games knowing that we have so many people behind making as much noise as possible!”


PLAYER INTERVIEW: Sam Verdon

Fri May 4th 2018

Interview by Andrew Dempsey

Since joining the club in July 2017, Sam Verdon has established himself as one of Neale Fenn’s most trusted creative sparks in the midfield area, during his brief, yet fruitful stint at Longford Town having joined the club from former club St Patrick’s Athletic in last year’s summer transfer window.

So, ahead of this weekend’s bumper weekend of action down in Cobh, Sam spoke with LTFC.ie reporter Andrew Dempsey, as the pair looked back on a heart-breaking few weeks for De Town while also looking ahead to an exciting weekend of action at St Colman’s Park.

After joining the club shortly after the arrival of Neale Fenn at the helm, Sam noted that he has thoroughly enjoyed his spell in the Red and Black of Longford Town so far.

“It’s been great! When I first came the league was more or less over as Waterford had the league wrapped up, but we had a good cup run to the quarter-finals against Cork City. It was great for myself personally to get some senior games under my belt and obviously since the start of this year we started off well, but we’ve had a few bad results in recent weeks, but it’s been good so far and I’ve really enjoyed it!”

Having worked under Liam Buckley at St Pat’s for so long prior to his move to the Midlands, the now 22-year-old Dubliner revealed that he has found playing under Neale Fenn quite similar to his time with Liam Buckley at Inchicore, with the style of play being a major plus side of the pairs relationship with Sam.

“Well it’s quite similar! They both try and keep the ball and they both try and play the same style of football anyway so in that terms its hardly been a massive change for me now. Obviously, every manager is different when they try to do things and they all do things differently but its been good for me. I like to play the way that both Neale and Liam want to play so it hasn’t been a massive change, but it’s been good!”

With so many experienced heads joining De Town in the off-season, Sam revealed that he has found working with the likes of Shane O’Connor, Chris Mulhall and Darren Meenan to be a great learning experience as he looks to forge a promising career for himself at the City Calling Stadium.

“They’ve all been great in fairness to them. Darren’s obviously achieved great things up at Dundalk and he’s had a great career while Shane and Chris have likewise. It’s great to have a mix between youth and experience which we do have. We’ve got a good mix in the team between young and old lads and it’s a good blend as we look to get a bit of success!”

Verdon also admitted that he has found the help of more senior players to be a welcome learning curve for himself in previous years and he is now looking to pass on his footballing knowledge gained from to the likes of Greg Bolger and Keith Fahey to younger players in the Longford Town first-team, like local midfield star Aodh Dervin.

 

“I see myself passing on bits and pieces to the likes of Aodh whose come in and done a great job for us so far! It’s very unfortunate that he’s after getting injured but it’s the little things that we all pass on to each other. It’s always a thing that when you’re young you look to the older lads for a bit of advice here and there! I remember when I was younger I was getting advice from the likes of James Chambers, Greg Bolger, Keith Fahey and all them players. Even just a little word in the ear can be a huge help and its generally always minute details!”

However, with the amount of late goals going against the “Red and Black” at the moment, Verdon is hoping that this rotten run of bad luck will cease in the not so distant future at the City Calling Stadium.

“It’s heart-breaking. It really is but look, that’s football. We hope that later on in the season our luck will change somewhere along the way and we’ll be the ones getting late goals but when you look back on Saturday I think that was our best performance of the season and it’s a game you’re wondering how did we not get a win, and then if we take a point at least we didn’t lose it but to lose it that way was heart-breaking.

“Saying that, it wasn’t just the other night, it happened us against Drogheda, Cobh and Shels as well. It could be just a little of maturity in a way that is needed, and we need to iron out one or two little things. It’s not to do with the players we have or anything like that but it’s the know-how. The other teams like Shelbourne and Finn Harps both have that and that’s something we’ll have to learn.”

However, looking ahead to the two trips down to Cobh in the space of four days, Sam knows the importance of staying in touch with the league leaders as Neale Fenn readies the troops for a big weekend of games down in St Colman’s Park.

“It’s going to be tough! You’ll never get an easy game going down to Cobh, small pitch, small ground, tough team so yes, it is going be a tough game. We haven’t really spoken about Tuesday yet and we’re just looking at Saturday and that’s the most important one for us! It’s a league game and we need the three points. We need to start catching back up with the teams at the top of the table because we can’t afford to drop any more points or else we’ll fall away.”

With De Town set to travel a mammoth 992km in just four days, the attacking midfield star knows that there will be an added importance in getting in as much rest as possible over the weekend as the Red and Black of the Midlands look to get back into the promotion hunt while also looking to reach the semi-finals of the EA Sports Cup where a big day lies in waiting for Neale Fenn and his youthful, hungry side.

“Yeah it will be tough with the travel and all the injuries we’ve got now. We need to be careful when we go down there. We’ll head down Saturday, and we’ll obviously get back late on Saturday night and we’ll be back at home on Sunday before we’ve a light session on the Monday to prepare for Tuesday. So, it’s a lot of travelling especially for a part-time team which is difficult because full-time teams have the benefits of relaxing and doing nothing outside of football while part-time lads have work and things like that. It’s all about getting that rest in between now and then. We want to go down and get the three points then we have a great chance to get to a cup semi-final against the top teams in the country so both games are massive!”

And finally, Sam had this message to pass onto the supporters who will be making the long trip down to Cobh come Saturday night as De Town will be looking to shoot their way up the table this coming weekend.

“We’re going to go down there and try our best and look to get a good win! I don’t know if they know it or not, but their support really does help spur us on. Obviously, the noise they make gives us an extra gear and hopefully they can be as loud as they can. In fairness, they’ve been great for us so far and hopefully they can continue what they’re doing, and we’ll hopefully be sending them home happy with the three points!”



PLAYER INTERVIEW: Adam O’Connor speaks to LTFC.ie

Wed Apr 11th 2018

As Longford Town FC head into a potentially massive away clash against Drogheda United at United Park on Friday evening, LTFC.ie reporter Andrew Dempsey sat down and spoke with new arrival to the club, Adam O’Connor.

Despite his busy schedule, the 23-year old Dubliner took time out of day to discuss his brief, yet enjoyable time at the club so far whilst also keeping his eyes firmly set on a big away day up in Drogheda as the red-hot First Division promotion race intensifies once again.

Having joined from Shelbourne during the long off-season break, the former Shels defender revealed that he has found life in the “Red and Black” quite enjoyable so far as he readies himself for a big push for promotion to the Premier Division between now and the end of the season at the City Calling Stadium.

“It’s been very enjoyable so far! It’s been different for me because I was at Shelbourne for so long and this is the first time I’ve moved club, but I’ve found it really enjoyable so far. To be fair to the lads, they’ve have been a great in helping me settle into the team since I joined.”

Switching styles of play is never an easy task for any footballer no matter who you talk to, but Adam spoke at length about how Neale Fenn’s footballing philosophy has made him enjoy his football as he enjoys the freedom of playing the ball around the back after coming from a more direct style of play at Tolka Park under previous boss, Owen Heary.

“I’ve enjoyed the football side of it better so far compared to my time at Shels and I mean absolutely no disrespect to Owen at all there, but I feel that the style of play here compliments Neale, and the way he wants to play in the philosophy he’s going by. To be fair to him, he’s stuck with it in games that’s it’s not worked in for him and we’ve not been going in with route-one football by just launching it in on teams. Especially with me being a centre-half and all I’m seeing a lot more of the ball and I am enjoying now.”

O’Connor also revealed that the fact that he knew a good few players at Longford Town before his arrival played a major role in setting up the deal for the former St Patrick’s Athletic Under 19 star to join Neale Fenn’s revolution at the City Calling Stadium.

 

Adam O’Connor pictured signing for De Town with manager, Neale Fenn

“For me it was a big thing in actually making the move to Longford. I’d be shy enough myself now and I wouldn’t know how other players would cope with it but yes it was a big factor in my move. I knew Dan O’Reilly and a couple of the lads before I went in. I knew Sam (Verdon) as well before I came to the club as well as the lads I’ve played with before and I was asking them what they thought of the club and it was a big factor for myself joining the club. It was important for me know what way the club was being run and what direction it’s looking to head in and it was a big thing that I knew some of the lads before I joined the club.”

After making his competitive debut for Longford Town against his previous employers Shelbourne at Tolka Park a few weeks back, the experienced, yet youthful First Division campaigner noted he was fully focused with the game on hand despite it being a rather “different” experience than normal.

“It was different, but we had a job to do and I was completely focused on the job that night. Personally, it was a big game for me with it being the first time I’ve gone back to play an old club and there was big crowd there and all that other stuff, but I was completely focused on the job I had to do that night. Obviously, we didn’t get the result we wanted on the night, but I thought we played really well and I thought we could have easily come away with a point, but that’s football and these things happens, and we’ll probably get the rub of the green against someone down the line!”

With all reports suggesting that there is already a great bond between the players at this early stage of the season, our new signing noted that he has already seen the benefits of how a positive atmosphere among the squad can help younger players break into the side without all the usual pressure that usually comes with it at such a young age.

“It’s really good now I have to say! Training is really good, and I think everyone is happy being around the team at the moment even with the young lads coming up through and they really seem to be enjoying it! It’s not like sometimes you see young players with the weight of the world on their shoulders, and you’ve seen that with Aodh (Dervin) as he seems to be really enjoying his football. Even around the training ground you see he’s already maturing into a decent player in the way he’s carrying himself, so I think the bond is really good among the lads at the minute!”

However, as attention turned to the game versus Tim Clancy’s “Drogs” on Friday night at United Park, O’Connor admits that the game is a big one for both, as the two opposing sides look to land that early statement of intent in terms of the promotion race on Boyneside.

“It’s a fact that it’s a massive game for us and for them. If you look at the league table already you can see that it’s really tight in the top four at the minute. I think that if we can get a win up there, it’ll be a big win for us and it puts a statement out for us among anybody in the top four and obviously it bunches up the table again but we’re obviously going to go up with a professional attitude and we’re going to try and win the game!”

And finally, Adam had this message to pass onto supporters ahead of the big game this weekend.

“Yeah of course. They’ve been really good so far to us. I know Drogheda is a bit of a trip for them but I’d love to see a big crowd up there again, making the noise and singing the songs and all that kind of stuff so if anyone can get down to the game, be sure to go to it because it should be an absolutely smashing game of football.”

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