Tag: player interview


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.”


Wed Mar 28th 2018

Daniel O’Reilly is arguably one of the most highly regarded defenders in SSE Airtricity League First Division having been named in the PFAI’s First Division Team of the Year last season.

So, after a solid start to the season for both himself and the rest of his teammates, Daniel had a quick chat with LTFC.ie reporter Andrew Dempsey ahead of a crucial weekend of fixtures for the “Red and Black Army” whilst also reflecting on the opening few games of the season for Neale Fenn’s charges.

After picking seven points from a possible twelve on offer, O’Reilly admits that it has been a decent start to the season for “De Town” and is already casting his eyes on crucial few weeks ahead as the “Red and Black” head into vital league games against both Galway United and Drogheda.

“I think it’s been a decent start! Obviously looking back, I think we could’ve taken more points if we were more sensible in the Cobh game being two-nil up and obviously things went a bit mad in the Shelbourne game but overall, it’s not been the worst start to the season. Obviously, we’ve got some big games coming up against Galway and Drogheda, so we’ll see how we fare after them.”

After the obvious disappointment of a heart-breaking three-two defeat against promotion rivals Shelbourne during our last away outing, the former Fulham FC youngster noted on the importance of getting back on track in a massive derby day win over Midlands rivals, Athlone Town last time out.

“Obviously, it was great to get the win! It wasn’t ideal that we went one-nil down so early on, but we’ve got good character in the team and we knew that the quality would come out to show. It could’ve been more than five on the night and obviously it was great for the supporters on the night to beat our local rivals Athlone with such a large number of goals!”

Saying that, the 22 year old combative defender knew that there were positives to take from the Shelbourne defeat, noting that he felt as if there was plenty to look back on with positivity as Longford Town were in charge for vast swathes of the game at Tolka Park.

“I was listening to Neale doing an interview after the game and he was actually quite positive! After the game, like myself, it’s easy to jump to conclusions to say could’ve done this and that but we dominated the game with eleven men and then with ten men to come back to two-all would’ve made it a great point, but I do think overall, we were the better team on the night! Obviously, we were sloppy at times and that cost us, but they happen. We can take positives with the way we played, and we never really tried to change the way we played and, look, Shels are a more physical and direct side but I do think that we could take positives from the game. From the defensive side of things, three goals aren’t great but listen, these things happen, and we’ll learn a lot more about ourselves and other things throughout the season!”

Looking ahead to the big game on Friday night at Éamonn Deacy Park, O’Reilly is confident of leaving Galway with a win under his belt.

“I know they’ve had a good start and they’re one point ahead of us in the table but they’re probably one of the favourites along with ourselves to go up! They’ve got some really good players in Danny Furlong who’s just joined them alongside Ryan Connolly who’s just arrived there from Rovers, so they do have a lot of quality about them. Saying that, we’ll be going into the game believing that we can win, not just going into the game looking for a point. We know that we’ve got goals in our side now, so it’s just up to the likes of myself to deliver at the other end of the pitch to keep a clean sheet come Friday night!” 

With the Shamrock Rovers game coming so soon after the trip up to Galway, the former Bray Wanderers defensive option admitted that he relishes those kind of occasions against the so-called bigger sides away from the rig-ma-roll in the league campaign. 

“Yeah it’s nice to have those kinds of games to look forward to! I remember we played them last year and funnily enough and we lost one-nil. They’ve got a good squad and I’m sure they’ll want to be trying out their younger players or players that haven’t really got into their side yet, but they’ll be quality players. It’s a good opportunity for us to show what we can do! With the style of play that we play, it probably suits us to play to play against the bigger teams as we try to play and they try to plays  I think it’ll be a good game, a good contest between two teams that want to play so I’m looking forward to that on Monday but obviously Friday is the first thing on our minds but it’s nice to have straight after it!”

And last but certainly not least, the only Longford Town FC defender in last year’s PFAI First Division Team of the Year called on supporters to come out and support the team, admitting that it is a big help to the team when there’s a good, healthy crowd present at the games, pushing the “Red and Black” on as Neale Fenn plots a return back to the promised land of Premier Division football for “De Town”.  

“The crowds have been really good so far and it’s good to see! Obviously seeing the crowd on Saturday against Athlone was good with all the numbers in the crowd and even in the past two home games against Cobh and Wexford they were good! Even against Shels we could hear the fans and it was really, really good to see. I know there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes that’s really trying to push on and encourage bigger crowds to come to the games no matter where we’re going! I saw there was a bus organised for Finn Harps already, obviously it was called off due to the weather, but still, it’s really good to see! The more that come, the better it is for us and it really does help us in the games.”

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