Tag: U19

U19 Player Interview: Uli Keller

Thu Oct 18th 2018

Contrary to popular belief, the 2018 season is far from over for Longford Town FC.

The Under 19’s, led by the talented Darren McGarry produced a heroic fightback win over Derry City at the City Calling Stadium last week to set up a huge Shield Semi-Final home clash against Shelbourne on the Strokestown Road this coming Sunday. (Kick-off is at 2.00pm)

Ahead of the mouth-watering clash at the City Calling Stadium, under-19 goalkeeper and first team squad member Uli Keller caught up with LTFC.ie reporter Andrew Dempsey to reflect on his year gone by and look forward to the upcoming clash against Shels on Sunday afternoon.

There was no shortage of drama last week as Longford Town’s Under 19’s secured a heroic win over Derry City at the aforementioned City Calling Stadium. After going two-nil down, Darren McGarry’s talented group of young guns produced a stirring fightback win over a crestfallen Candystripes.

Speaking on the win last weekend, Keller noted that it was a team effort that secured the unlikely win as the never-say-die attitude amongst the group became strikingly evident as the game progressed despite the rollercoaster nature of the game.

“It was brilliant. To come back from two nil down when the heads looked down was great. All of us, from myself up to the striker, including the midfield and the defence, to pull together, miss a penalty, and then to go on ahead and score straight after that and then equalise to bring it into extra-time and turn it around to win the game. It was brilliant to be a part of and a great achievement!”

The National League’s structure introduced by the FAI has produced a player pathway like never before in the League of Ireland. Benefiting from this new scheme which has seen the likes of Aodh Dervin and Tristan Noack Hofmann make their first-team bows, the Drogheda man Keller revealed that it would be a dream for him to make his mark on the League of Ireland senior set-up in the coming years.

“It’s everyone’s dream I suppose! Anyone from schoolboys’ level all the way up to the level I’m at now all dream about that. To step out onto the pitch and represent a team like Longford or any other team in the League of Ireland would be a fantastic achievement!”

Every player has an idol, none more so than goalkeepers who have a thankless job at times. Having grown up in Drogheda, the 18-year-old noted that the man who he’s looked up to for the majority of his underage development is current Dundalk shot-stopper Gabriel Sava who has won many league titles with the Lilywhites.

“I would’ve looked up a lot to Gabriel Sava when he was at Drogheda United, which happens to be my local club. I looked up to him a lot and I got lucky last year when I actually got to train alongside him at Dundalk! I never thought that something like that would’ve ever happened!”

Still only a teenager and now facing into his last year of secondary school education, it is rare for any player of Uli’s age to have such experience in a first-team environment.

Sharing a dressing room with the likes of Darren Meenan and Chris Mulhall, who left De Town during the summer, Uli noted that the things he picked up from the experienced heads of the Longford Town FC dressing room has brought him on leaps and bounds as he still learns the tricks of his very trade.

“From that point of view, sharing the dressing room with the likes of Chris Mulhall and Darren Meenan, the experience I’ve got from being around them was brilliant. I’ve learned an awful lot from the two and it has brought me on as a player and as a personality even outside the dressing room. If it wasn’t for my experience in and around the first-team I wouldn’t be at the level, I’m at today!”

Naturally after a win there is a great fantastic buzz around any team, no matter the circumstances. With the Red and Black of the Midlands reaching a national cup semi-final, the mood was even more so improved as mentioned by Keller who is already raring to go for the Sunday afternoon clash at the City Calling Stadium.

“The boys are over the moon! Chuffed they are! We were raring to go again even straight after the match last week. The lads all wanted to train the very next day, but the manager had to tell us to relax and calm down after the game! Darren told us all to re-group and we were in training on Wednesday evening and we’ll train again on Friday as we look to get a big win on Sunday afternoon against Shelbourne to get to a cup final!”

Given the close correlation in age groups between under 19 and senior League of Ireland football, it is only natural to see a young coach like Darren McGarry work closely alongside Neale Fenn, the first-team coach in terms of the development of players.

Commenting on this, the talented Drogheda native remarked on the relationship between the duo as both Neale and Darren sink their teeth into the realm of underage coaching and player development early on in their coaching careers.

“The two of them work side by side. Obviously, Neale is the first-team manager and has more experience while also having experience at the top level as has Darren (McGarry). Darren was once a goalkeeper which helps my bond with him. He’s always happy to see us progress to the first-team and he’s more than happy to let us travel with the first-team if it means missing a game with the 19’s. He really does enjoy having the likes of us with the first-team and coming back to play with the 19’s!”

Giving his thoughts on the upcoming game, Uli noted that he is expecting a tough clash against the Dublin side as De Town look to write the wrongs of the prior two defeats against the Reds so far this year at least.

“It’s going to be a tough game. We’ve come up against them twice already this year and unfortunately, we’ve lost to them twice. However, so did Derry City and we were able to turn that one around. There’s a couple on Shels’ side who I know also play with the first team there and they are very skilled footballers, but we’ve got a great bond among the group at the moment. After the win last week, we can get through thick and thin!”

And finally, Uli had this message for any supporters thinking about heading to the game on Sunday afternoon.

We also have an audio interview with Uli on our SoundCloud page. Click on https://soundcloud.com/longford-town-tv/player-interview-uli-keller to listen. 

3 wins in 3 for Republic of Ireland U19’s at City Calling Stadium as they defeat Netherlands

Wed Oct 17th 2018

PICTURES BY TIERNAN DOLAN

The Republic of Ireland Under-19s came from behind to defeat the Netherlands 2-1 and top Group 10 in the UEFA Under-19 Championship Qualifying Round at City Calling Stadium.

Norwich City striker Adam Idah crashed home the Republic’s equaliser just before the half hour mark at the City Calling Stadium.

The Republic’s winning goal came on 70 minutes. Southampton’s Will Ferry beat Jasper Schendelaar with a tidy finish.
The Republic ended on top of their table with 3 wins from 3 at the City Calling Stadium. No doubt they’ll have happy City Calling Stadium memories for the rest of their lives.

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Post match saw the human & personal touches as family and friends celebrated together. Already, many commentators are saying a number of these talented players who played 3 times in Longford Town’s City Calling Stadium should be included in the senior squad.

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MATCH REPORT: Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-3 Republic of Ireland

Wed Oct 10th 2018

EUROPEAN U19 CHAMPIONSHIPS 2019 QUALIFYING ROUND GROUP 10

Bosnia & Herzegovina v Republic Of Ireland

10/10/2018, City Calling Stadium, 3.00pm

Match Report by James Donnelly

The Republic of Ireland recorded a comfortable victory over Bosnia & Herzegovina today the City Calling Stadium. Goals from William Ferry, Troy Parrott and Adam Idah sealed the win for Tom Mohan’s side.

The visitors attacked first in the opening minute, their pacey number seven, Milan Savic shooting over from distance after cutting inside on his right foot. Bosnia & Herzegovina went close again on 5 minutes, this time from a floated free kick. Faris Zubanovic had his shot blocked by Irish centre back Lee O’Connor.

Bosnia & Herzegovina, who were the much more physical side caused problems for Ireland. The visitors could have opened the scoring on 7 minutes when Elder Sehic forced goal keeper Brian Maher to pull off a magnificent save from close range.

Ireland could have put themselves in front only 5 minutes later when a fantastic cross field ball to Glen McCauley found space out on the right wing, he pulled the ball back to Adam Idah in the box who’s powerful shot was tipped over the bar by Adnan Kanuric.

The boys in Green had another chance on 16 minutes when Adam Idah got in behind the visitors defence and volleyed from a beautifully weighted free but his effort was once again saved by Kanuric.

The visitors responded when Milan Savic cut inside onto his left and curled the ball towards the far post but his shot was saved by Maher in goal. Zubanovic almost caught the Irish napping when he flicked a backheel towards goal but Maher saved again.

Glen McCauley was causing problems down the right wing. Cross after cross came into the box but Bosnia & Herzegovina deal with the pressure.

Adam Idah went close yet again on 37 minutes when he turned his man and unleashed a low flying shot from outside the box to the right hand side but it narrowly went wide of the post much to the relief of the scrambling Kanuric.

Kanuric kept the visitors in it again with another fine save just before half time when a corner wasn’t dealt with and it fell to Conor Coventry for Ireland and he turned inside and shot across the box but Kanuric did well to leap out and gather the ball before an Irish head could get to it.

 

The second half came to life on 55 minutes when Conor Coventry, against the run of play, played a magnificent through ball in to William Ferry who blasted past Kanuric in goal top put Ireland ahead!

Bosnia & Herzegovina had a chance to equalize only moments later from a free but Savic’s effort was high over the bar.

The boys in Green went 2-0 up when Jack James was taken down in the box on 64 minutes. Troy Parrott stepped up to take the peno and cooly chipped it down the middle sending Kanuric the wrong way. Ireland were beginning to take control of the game.

Things got even better for Ireland on 73 minutes when Adam Idah finally got his goal after missing numerous opportunities in the first half. The strong forward found himself in space in the box and made no mistake, burying the ball past Kanuric in goal to put Tom Mohan’s charges in complete control.

The visitors got one back on 77 minutes when substitution Mateo Bozic’s free kick was wickedly deflected and left Maher with no chance.

They could have gotten a second back on 83 minutes when a free kick was whipped into the box but Maher did well to gather as the ball flew by bodies in the box.

The Boys in Green held out for the remainder of the game and look forward to Saturday when they take on the Faroe Islands at City Calling Stadium once again at 3.00pm.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

1. Adnan Kanuric, 3. Eldar Sehic (replaced by 13. Adis Mujkic), 4. Marko Brkic (replaced by 10. Dzani Salcin), 5. Nemanja Vjestica (replaced by 17. Dzenan Osmanovic), 6. Enio Zilic, 7. Milan Savic, 8. Stefan Santrac (replaced by 19. Mateo Bozic), 11. Faris Zubanovic (replaced by 9. Milan Sikanjc), 14. Jusuf Gazibegovic (C), 15. Igor Savic, 20. Ajdin Hasic.

Subs not used: 12. Jasmin Krsic, 2. Elvir Muminovic, 16. Haris Kotarevic, 18. Emir Sejdovic

Republic of Ireland

1. Brian Maher, 3. Jack James, 4. Lee O’Connor (C), 5. Nathan Collins, 6. Aaron Bolger, 7. Glen McCauley (replaced by 20. Ali Reghba), 8. Conor Coventry, 9. Adam Idah, 10. Troy Parrott, 11. William Ferry (replaced by 17. Barry Coffey), 12. Andrew Lyons.

Subs not used: 16. Kian Clarke, 2. Jordan Doherty, 13. Tom Gaston, 14. Richard O’Farrell, 15. Jason Knight, 18. James Clarke, 19. Jonathan Afolabi

Pictures by Tiernan Dolan

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Longford Town Supporters’ Club Notes (11/09/2018)

Tue Sep 11th 2018

SPIN ‘N SPAN

Whatever about the result, the staging of the FAI Quarter Finals last Friday, was a huge success for everyone associated with Longford Town FC. Self praise, they say, is no praise but it might be the only praise we’ll get.

The pitch looked superb, the stewards were friendly and effective, the Clubhouse volunteers under the guidance of Brendan Finnegan coped admirably with the large crowd, we had a top class match programme and the stadium itself was spotless. Every thing was top class on what was an extremely busy week end for the club. Friday night saw 1,181 click through the turnstiles but the following day Saturday, we hosted an U15 game and then on Sunday we had the international stars of tomorrow in the Ireland v Wales U19 International friendly.

We may have lost the Cup game but we certainly gained many new admirers.

RED OR YELLOW?

One of the main talking talking points after the Cork game was the sending off. No one for a moment would suggest, that we could have won the game if the colour of the card was different.

However, that sending off effectively killed the game. By all accounts, the ref had a yellow card in his hand but the linesman kept calling for a red card to be brandished and the rest is sporting history.

ONWARDS

This Friday is a massive game for De Town. Beat Drogheda in their own back garden and we’re in the play offs. After we beat Sligo, they recovered and have been doing quite well since. Cork were surprisingly beaten at home by Sligo and it was Cork who upped their game afterwards (to our cost). So you don’t need a top class Junior Cert to realise where this is going. We simply have to banish Cork from our minds and concentrate on beating the Drogs. We’ve done it before and we can certainly repeat the dose. Fair play to Kieran Burke in his valiant effort to muster transport and support for this vital game.

BITS AND PIECES

On the subject of buses, those who travelled from Cork maintained that they’d have had 400 extra in the City Calling Stadium if the game had been on our usual Saturday. That’s €4,000 lost. Top marks to Kanes Travel who supplied free buses to and from the game. Fair play too to our other generous sponsors Girasole Pizza and Pasta, Edgeworthstown, Andy Byrnes Pub and of course the Longford Arms Hotel. Great to see all of the Kanes staff at the game too; they were saying Bon Voyage to Rose Kane who was leaving her job to take up a position with the UN in South Sudan. It was nice to see two of our former managers at the game Tony Cousins and Alan Mathews. Donald Keogh though was unfortunately absent due to airline difficulties.

Former player “the Flying Schoolmaster” Paschal Quinn RIP was rightly honoured with a minute’s silence; he’d have been chuffed that the occasion was broadcast nationwide. Seamus Murray was able to avail of the facilities to get an excellent aerial photo of the carpet like pitch; the Height for Hire cherry picker was used. James Donnelly our media manager, was able to rub shoulders with the top RTE media folk and by all accounts, they were mightily impressed with his expertise and passion. The scoreboard wasn’t ready for the night but it’s only a matter of a short time now.

We had 1,181 at the game on Friday. When you consider the population of the town is 10,000, that’s a terrific turnout on a working night. In proportion, that would translate to 20,000 in Cork. Not bad.

FRIENDLY U19 INTERNATIONAL

Sunday saw the stars of the future from Wales and Ireland strut their stuff in an U19 Friendly. Ireland had enough chances to win two games but it was Wales who actually won the game by a single goal to nil. Apart from the score, it was a pity that there weren’t more people present to see tomorrow’s talent on show. One player to catch the eye was Ryan Johansson. Ryan came on as a second half sub and immediately made a huge impression. Although only 17, his future looks bright already. He was born in Luxembourg, his father is Swedish and his mother is from up the road in Mullingar – her name is Christine McCarthy. Although he has featured at underage level for Sweden, his mammy must have influenced him to don the green jersey. He’s now a senior player with Bayern Munich and while on their US tour earlier, he featured against Juventus and Man City. He has also played against PSG. No wonder he’s being called a teenage sensation. And there he was strutting his stuff on a Sunday afternoon out the Strokestown Road. Remember where you saw him first. By the way, in the second of the games, Ireland defeated Wales 2-0 in Galway.

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MORE INTERNATIONALS?

Earlier on in the season, we had a University International game when we hosted Ireland and France at the City Calling Stadium. Then on Sunday we went a step further up the ladder with the friendly. Seemingly all our visiting guests were impressed with our set up which can only be good for the future. Already, there’s word of more than one international qualifying game to be played in Longford. Now surely that’s a massive success for all involved with the club.


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