ANDREW DEMPSEY got talking on the phone with Longford Town defender DANIEL O'REILLY ahead of the First Division clash versus Cabinteely on Friday night (kick-off is 7.45pm).
Also being discussed was Daniel's experience in non-league football in England, his favourite moment while playing for De Town, last weeks cup game in the Iveagh Grounds and playing under Neale Fenn.
Being at the club for two stints now, for half of the 2016 season and this year, what has your favourite moment at the club to date?
“Probably scoring the winner last time against Cabinteely to be fair. Yeah, obviously beating Sligo in the cup stands out. I wouldn't say a lot from last year due to the fact that it was such a negative season for us. Probably, yeah scoring the winner against Cabinteely (is my favourite).”
Obviously having spent some time in England with Fulham and Hereford United most notably, did the experience help you develop as a footballer especially in the non leagues?
“I think it did help me develop, firstly I got Hereford and most recently last year I got Eastbourne. I think Eastbourne was probably a better one (experience) because the Hereford situation was a bit messy. My first time at Eastbourne was good to get experience on a first team level because I was only 19 at the time. The second time at Eastbourne, it was good to get experience in the lower leagues. There's some good players in that (non-league), it's very physical and probably more physical than the League of Ireland so coming back to the League of Ireland I kind of took that into my game to be more of a leader as in physical presence and dominating strikers.”
Going back to last weeks game away to Bangor Celtic, how difficult was it to progress in the end?
“I think we made it a bit more difficult for ourselves at times. We could have scored a couple in the first half and it would have been a different game. They (Bangor) gave a good account of themselves, like they're a good side but obviously we got the win and the clean sheet is important as well.”
On the back of three straight wins on the bounce, with wins over Sligo, Athlone and Bangor, what is confidence like among the camp?
“Yeah its good and obviously we want to push for the last few games. We've got four league games left and we obviously want to go as far as we can in the cup even though we got a very tough draw. Yeah its really good, we know a lot about the opposition players and are feeling good. We just want to finish the season strong now and get up as far as we can in the table.”
As you just mentioned there, the aim is to finish as high as possible and end the season strong. Would that be a fair assessment to make?
“Yeah, realistically we can get third. We still have to play Cabinteely and UCD and were quite close to UCD and obviously we are only one point behind Cabinteely so if we beat them on Friday we push ahead of them and then with three games left you just never know! We could finish below Shels or we could finish above UCD so it's a bit of a funny one.”
Obviously you grabbed the winner last time out against Cabinteely at the City Calling Stadium, which happened to be Neale Fenn's first game in charge at the club. How have you found playing under the new boss?
“I love playing under him. He's a very good man manager as in speaking to his players and the way he has us playing football suits us. We have a lot of good technical players and from the start of the season we weren't really playing to our strengths. I don't know we knew how to play to each other's strengths I suppose and Neale has obviously got us playing good football playing out from the back. Obviously it's going to be risky but a lot of the lads love it because it's working well with making chances. He understands that we want to do well but we haven't done as well as well so he's getting us working on things. He's a very good coach and I'm very happy playing under him yeah.”
Last but certainly not least, what kind of a challenge are you expecting from Cabinteely on Friday night?
“Yeah, I think they'll be a very good side. I think they will be better than the time we played them and beat them one-nil. I think they were a bit short on short on players then but obviously they have added a few good players through the likes of Ryan Swan and Conor Earley in midfield. Marty (Kieran Marty Waters) is doing very well up front so it will be a tough game. I think it will be quite tight but we will be going in confident so hopefully we get the win.”