Tag: player interview

Player Interview: Dylan McGlade

Sun Mar 11th 2018

Interview by Andrew Dempsey

After re-joining the club following a spell away in England with Conference North side Blyth Spartans, Dylan McGlade got talking with LTFC.ie reporter Andrew Dempsey as the former Middlesbrough prodigy discussed how his move back to the City Calling Stadium came about whilst also comparing the League of Ireland to the Non-Leagues over in England.

Having decided to re-join the Red and Black after a brief spell across the water over in England with Conference North side Blyth Spartans, McGlade revealed that his previous relationship both Neale Fenn and Daire Doyle played a key role in getting the deal over the line.

“It actually just happened when the team I was playing with in England were having some difficulties and they just said, if you’d like to leave we can facilitate that. I think Daire and Fenny caught wind of that and we just had a chat. I know the lads already, I know Daire and Fenny for a couple of years now so the opportunity that I had to work under them was something I couldn’t really let go.”

With this being the first time that Dylan has worked under both Fenn and Doyle simultaneously in a professional capacity, the 22-year-old Dubliner has explained that he has found the transition to Fenn’s footballing philosophy an easy exercise so far.

“It’s been good so far! He knows what he wants and its good to have that clearness in your instructions. Everybody knows exactly the way he wants to play, and he doesn’t shy away from how he wants to play. I’ve been coached under him for the last couple of years with his academy, so I know how he deals with things and how he works so it’s been an easy transition for me.”

Having enjoyed a six-month spell at the club last time out, the former St Patrick’s Athletic star revealed that realisation of how a big a club De Town really are stood out for him in his last stint at the City Calling Stadium.

“Probably just realising how a big a club Longford is. I mean when you come down to the City Calling Stadium. I remember the first time I came down here in 2016 with Pats away and I just couldn’t believe how big the stadium was and how professional everything looked. Even walking down to the changing rooms and just stuff like that.”

With the good times not far gone, he also revealed that Daire Doyle constantly keeps on referring to the good old days at the club when the Red and Black were pulling in back in the mid 2000’s having had a spell at the club himself.

“That was probably the main thing but Daire always talks about when he was playing for Longford and how the club were nearly getting almost 2,500 at nearly every home game and all. Obviously back when I was with Shels as well I remember Longford always had a huge following so probably that would have to be the thing that really stood out for me.”

With there being far more positivity amongst Longford Town supporters this time round compared to this time last season, the 22-year-old noted that he believes that this year’s squad feels a lot more cohesive than the side starting last season’s campaign.

“I think the big difference this year would probably have to be the cohesiveness of the team. I look at the team this year and most of the boys all know each other. The way in which we’re setting up this year is much different to last year and how Neale wants to play, and I think everyone really fits into that. As well as that, I think that we’re a lot stronger this time around in all areas of the pitch. I mean, if you look at the team, we almost have two people to play every position on the park and we didn’t really have that last year. Last year we were a bit light up front and I know this year we kind of are a bit light up front, but we have a few boys that can play up there as well as me if needs be. we have a lot more competition which always helps.”

Having played at both Non-League and League of Ireland levels in his brief playing career so far, McGlade revealed that League of Ireland football has a far superior professional feel surrounding it compared to the Non-League set-up in England.

“It’s a lot different I have to say. At Blyth we were playing in the Conference North and there are massive teams in the league such as Southport, York and Salford. Darlington are a massive team as well in there. I remember we played them last year and there were thousands at the game, it was just crazy, but the professionalism isn’t the same. I remember we came back from one of the games and the chairman came on and put two crates of beer on the bus on the way home from an away game. After the games lads would be heading down to the pubs, downing pints and all. You would never see that here! I remember one of the lads used to have a Subway pre-match, and you just don’t do that! The standard is very, very good like, I’ve played with some very, very good players and played against some very good players as well but the professionalism isn’t over there with that whereas over here you wouldn’t see that!”

Personally at least, McGlade has said that he is looking to break into a highly competitive starting eleven at Longford Town but has also noted that he feels as if there is a lot more experience this season compared to last season at the City Calling Stadium available to Neale Fenn and his backroom staff.

“First of all, I’d like to break into the first team and get a good of games under my belt. I think that’s what every player coming into a team wants to achieve. I think also, looking around, even though I’ve only been here for two weeks or so far, we look a lot more penetrating than last season and I think we’ve brought in some good experience with the likes of Darren Meenan who has won the Premier Division a few times, you look at Shane O’Connor last year getting player of the season at Waterford and getting promoted with them last time round. You look at Chris Mulhall who done the same at Limerick when he went up with them. I really think that we’ve strengthened in areas and we’ve got a lot of experience available to us and we still don’t have an old team!”

Echoing all the sentiments from the Red and Black’s dressing room, the former Malahide United and Swords Rovers starlet knows that a tilt towards the SSE Airtricity League First Division is well within reach come the end of the season at the City Calling Stadium.

“This year we’ve got to look for a promotion spot and we have to look at going for the league title. I know Neale has told all the boys that he wants to win the league outright and that’s how we’re setting up to try and do. We’re going into each game looking to win and we won’t be going into games looking to take draws even though the league will be very tough to win so I think, if we can get a good run of games and get the boys confidence up, I think there’s no reason why I don’t think we can’t go on and compete for the title.”

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Interview with our captain Dean Zambra on our new SoundCloud page

Sun Mar 11th 2018

Why not give a listen to our official LTFC Soundcloud channel, where’ll you find player interviews, match reports and more. Our latest interview is with Town skipper, Dean Zambra in conversation with Kieran Burke, about City Calling Stadium, the excellent facilites at the club and the season ahead. We’ll have more great content coming soon.

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PLAYER INTERVIEW: A chat with our midfielder, Peter Hopkins

Thu Feb 1st 2018

Interview by Andrew Dempsey

Joining the club on the League of Ireland summer deadline day back in July of 2017, Peter Hopkins has impressed many supporters in his brief, yet effective, stint at the City Calling Stadium.

Prior to Tuesday’s pre-season friendly defeat to Bohemians at the AUL Complex, the former Sheriff YC and St Patrick’s Athletic star sat down with LTFC.ie reporter Andrew Dempsey where the Dubliner spoke ahead of an exciting 2018 season in store whilst looking back on some memorable moments during his time donning the Red and Black of De Town.

Joining the club alongside the duo of Cian Byrne and Alan Kehoe on the League of Ireland’s own version of Deadline Day, who have both re-signed for the club this season, Hopkins looks back fondly on his time at the club so far despite struggling with a recurring injury which put a halt to him being able to put any real momentum together.

“It’s been great. There’s been ups and downs if you get me. When I signed it was great, signing for Longford, which I’ve been working hard for. Then I got an injury after the Sligo game and it was something that kept on repeating and repeating but we’re getting it better now and hopefully this is the week I’m back and please god everything will be good, and I’ll be feeling better. It’s been a positive move since I’ve been here and thank god, I’ve got a good team around me like the manager and physios that support me telling me that things will get better. Definitely it’s been great so far for me at the club.”

Unsurprisingly, Peter pointed back to that magical night at home to Sligo Rovers as his favourite time whilst donning the Red and Black of Longford Town so far.

(Picture by sportsfile.com)

“The game we played against Sligo Rovers down at the City Calling Stadium in the FAI Cup would have to be that. It was probably one of the best moments of my life when I scored! It was only my first proper start for Longford and we beat them 4-2. I scored the goal in extra time and it was magical. Even just to beat them (Sligo Rovers) because they’re a Premier Division side and all. I think it was a good win for the whole club and the team so that would definitely stand out as my highlight while at the club so far.”

Echoing many of his teammates sentiments around the Longford Town dressing room, the 22-year-old Hopkins spoke on his admiration for his new boss Neale Fenn, emphasising that the Londoners know-how and experience within the game is a vital component in making him tick as a player both on and off the field.

“Neale is an absolute pleasure to be around. He’s such a straight minded kind of manager, he knows what he wants and what he wants to get out of his players. He encourages you to make mistakes in order to improve and he’s always on your case looking to get the best out of you and being the best that you can be. The experience he has as well is an added bonus, he has 25 years worth of experience at a professional level so if its anyone I’m going to learn from its him but he’s an absolute pleasure to be around and be at the same club as each other.”

(Picture by sportsfile.com)

Having joined the club from Sheriff YC who ply their trade in Junior Football, the Dublin native admitted that he did find the step-up from a more amateur set-up challenging, although not on a footballing level, but on a fitness level standpoint.

“The biggest challenge for me to be honest was really just getting back into the League of Ireland sharpness and getting back into the level of fitness required with the lads. I used to play for St Pats at under 19s level and played a few games for the first team as well, but it was all about getting back up to this level and getting back up to speed with the sharpness of the game because I know that I can play at this level. There’s a big difference between amateur and League of Ireland football and it was really down to the fitness levels required at this level. I’d know most of the lads that play at this level having played with them all my life, but the standard of play was a little bit hard coming from Sheriff to Longford Town but I’m getting there, and things are getting better!”

With the re-introduction of the Playoffs to the First Division and new ten-team format of the second tier of Irish football, Hopkins has welcomed the new change in structure saying that it only helps his teammates secure a return to the top flight.

“To be honest I think that the new league structure is good because if you don’t finish first it still gives you a chance if you finish in the top 4 to still play in the Playoff. If you don’t win the First Division, you still have a chance to show that you can go up. It also gives you chance to fix your mistakes that you might have made during the season which I think is good!”

Despite suffering defeats in the opening few games of pre-season against Shamrock Rovers, St Patricks Athletic and Bohemians respectively, the former Pat’s Under 19 star is well aware that these friendlies are unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

“I think this team we’ve got this year is a really good side. I see a lot of improvement and look, I know that we lost our opening few games of pre-season, but this is all about working and gelling together while getting to know each other better. The friendlies are there for us to be making mistakes.”

Personally at least, Hopkins is hoping to have an injury free season at the City Calling Stadium while at the same time improving his overall game both on and off the pitch.

“Personally, my goal this year is to keep myself in top fitness and basically to keep on watching injury and making more improvements to my game both technically and professionally. Coming from Sheriff there isn’t a lot you’d know from Sheriff coming up to the League of Ireland because its so different. It’s a lot more professional and there’s a lot of more hard work required and that’s been something I’ve been looking to work on as I have been working really hard to be the best I can be at this level.”

Finally, with a loud and clear message from the Longford Town dressing room, Hopkins, along with his teammates, knows that promotion back to the Premier Division at the second time of asking is the aim at the Strokestown Road Venue for 2018.

“The goal collectively is that we want to get promoted automatically. We don’t want to be fighting in the playoffs at the end of the season. I believe that we can get promoted automatically but I think that its going to take a little bit of time for us to gel together as a team since there is a lot of new players but once we do, I think we can go on and win the league or come in the top playoff place.”

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