The FAI still haven't issued the fixtures list but already the anticipation is building ahead of the 2013 season. Tony Cousins has been extremely busy organising his squad and training sessions. Meanwhile out at Flancare Park, a different team of skilled men are working like beavers at upgrading various aspects of the Park, most noticably the perimeter fence. Even inside in the Clubhouse, Emmet Ryan is hard at work upgrading the technology. The first game of the League might be weeks away yet, but already much work is underway.
Tony Cousins has re-signed Paul Hunt, Chris Deans, Des Hope, Willo Mc Donagh, Michael Lee, Noel Haverty, Daniel Purdy, Mark Salmon, Keith Gillespie, Collie James and Gary Shaw. As well as those above who have already played in the red and black, there have been a number of some very exciting players added to the squad. Keith Quinn moves from Cork City while Chris Bannion is former Shelbourne, Corie Treacy moves to us from Limerick while from Wayside Celtic we see Willie Tyrrell, David O Neill and David O Sullivan. On paper, we seem to have quite a formidable squad but as we all know, we won't be playing on paper. But it's a positive sign of the intent and professionalism within the club, that so much work has already been done.
As well as assembling a squad early on, the list of friendlies already organised is most impressive. Incredibly our first game is this Saturday afternoon at 2pm at AUL, Clonshaugh where Shelbourne provide the opposition. Then we're on the road again to last season's success story, Drogheda Utd on Friday 2nd Feb at a time to be confirmed. As usual, we play Shamrock Rovers in Tallght Stadium on Thursday 7th Feb at 8pm. Shane Connolly will be making the sambos for us at that game. We're still in the capital on Friday 15th Feb to play Bohemians, again the time to be decided. Our first game at Flancare Park, on Saturday 23 Feb at 7.30 is the mouth watering prospect of Sligo Rovers, our successful neighbours from up the N4. And finally we entertain the Seagulls from Bray on March 2nd also at Flancare. There's certainly a feast of friendly football there to whet the appetite of any supporter.
SUPPORTERS' CLUB MEETING
The Supporters' Club will be holding its AGM on Monday Feb 4th in the Clubhouse at 8pm. In American Football, a supporters' club is called a Booster Club and we certainly could do with some new boosters for the season ahead. The season ahead promises to be a very exciting one, so if you think you could do with some excitement in your life, join us now.
VINNY JOINS GOD
Two Town legends have formed up with Dundalk FC for the season ahead. Recently appointed manager Stephen Kenny (or God, as he was known in these parts) has named former Town player and manager Vinny Perth as part of his back room team. They worked well together years ago and it'll be interesting to see how the relationship has matured over the years since. We wish them well in their new venture.
EXCITING INTERNATIONAL AT FLANCARE
Paul Doolin and a host of FAI big boys were down in Flancare recently having a look around prior to announcing the upcoming U19 International against the Czech Republic on Tuesday Feb 5th at 7.30pm. MC Farrell was rightly chuffed to hear all the praise and positive comments heaped on the Longford facilities. It's a privilege for us to be hosting such an important game and hopefully we'll have a crowd to equal the occasion. It's also a real vote of confidence to the small army of dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to keep Longford Town on the national (and now international) map. The cream of Irish footballing talent will be on display just out the road and it's an exciting opportunity not to be missed by anyone who loves sport.
SEAN FALLON RIP
Glowing tributes have been paid all last week to Seán Fallon, the former Republic of Ireland international who passed away peacefully on 18th January ,aged 90. But not everyone knows that the Celtic legend had very strong Longford Town connections.
The Sligo man played eight times for his country, making his debut against Norway in November 1950 and scoring twice, against West Germany and France, in the years that followed. But he will be best remembered for his career at Celtic where he played through the 1950s and then contributed hugely to the great success of the late 60s and early 70s. He played more than 250 times for Celtic, winning a double, an other Scottish Cup and two League Cups.
When Stein became Celtic manager in 1965, he asked Seán Fallon to be his assistant and the partnership delivered nine league titles, seven Scottish Cups, six League Cups, and, of course, the European triumph of 1967. One of his key roles was recruitment and he is credited with talking many of the club's greatest players into signing up.
Neil Lennon, the club's current manager had this to say about Seán Fallon: “he did everything you could ever wish to achieve in football, as a player for both club and country, while he went on to even greater things in management alongside Jock Stein. For these things, the Celtic supporters have always loved Seán and recognised him as one of our own because it was always his love of Celtic which shone through.”
Seán Fallon's footballing career started off in 1946 when he played with Longford Town FC. The following year he played with Sligo Distillery and for '47-'49 he played with Sligo Rovers before moving to Glenavon in '49-'50 and then, of course Celtic in 1950 until 1958. He was well regarded around Longford and made many lasting friends, one of whom was the Club's former President,player and Supporters' Club committee member, John Donlon. He visited Longford for an occasion honouring Paddy Clabby when stories and laugher lasted into the small wee hours.
Longford Town FC...where legends are born. May he rest in peace.