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.”