Longford Town v Pike Rovers preview

Fri May 31st 2013
How many times have we heard the expression “the magic of the cup. Well, when it comes to Longford Town and the FAI Cup, it’s far from a cliché. Predicting yet another cup classic at City Calling Stadium this Saturday is LTFC.ie reporter, Kieran Burke (@burko77_) who has the big match preview for you:
Non league Pike Rovers travel to City Calling Stadium on Saturday in the hope of causing First Division leaders Longford Town more FAI Cup heart ache in 2013. This time last year Longford were sitting pretty on top of the league before an away cup tie with non league Dublin side Cherry Orchard. The non-league team though had not read the script and would go on to eliminate the two time FAI cup champions from the competition.

That defeat to Cherry Orchard was a rude awakening to Town fans who have come to realise the quality there is hidden away in the non-leagues. A recent hard fought win over St Kevin's Boys adds to the illustration, while the fact that Longford’s star man this season, David O’Sullivan was signed from non league Wayside Celtic does just goes to show the undiscovered talents plying their trade outside of the Airtricity League banner.
Pike Rovers have had an excellent season this year, winning the Munster Junior Cup and the Munster Champions Cup, while also reaching the FAI Junior Cup Semi-Final. Pike are also the current Limerick District League Champions and are still in the running to retain their crown going into the final game of the season, although results will have to go their way if the “Hoops”, as they are affectionately known, are to win a staggering sixth league title in a row!
Pike have a number of players in their ranks with past League of Ireland playing experience, including Keith Hartnett (formerly of Limerick), John Tierney (formerly of Limerick and Cork City), Dave Ryan (formerly of Limerick) and Wayne Colbert (formerly of Limerick and Athlone). Striker Alan Barry is their main goal threat while Keith Hartnett is also reliable for a goal or assists for the “Hoops”. The pair have hit almost 50 goals between them in all competitions, while John Tierney has hit over 20 goals this term.
The Limerick men beat Munster rivals Everton AFC of Cork in the last round to set up this clash with First Division leaders Longford Town.
Turning attention to the home side now, with a Leinster Senior Cup quarter final away to St.Patrick’s Athletic following this cup tie in just three days time as well as some crucial league games against Wexford Youths and Athlone Town on the horizon, it is not clear what sort of side manager Tony Cousins may opt to start with for this one.
With Pike Rovers holding the ability to mix up their playing style, Longford will also have to be adaptable to change and the experience of players such as Keith Gillespie and Mark Salmon should give Town the chance to do that as both players have the ability to deliver efficient short range and long range passing to equal measure while the pace and movement of strikers such as David O’Sullivan, Josh O’Hanlon and Gary Shaw should keep the Pike Rovers defence honest throughout.
With Longford Town currently the top goal scorers in the Airtricity League First Division facing off against a seventy goals trio of Alan Barry, Keith Harnett and John Tierney of Pike Rovers, we could be in for yet another goal filled game at City Calling Stadium in what should be a fiercely fought and passionate game of FAI Ford Cup football.....If I were you I wouldn’t miss this one because it has the potential to be an instant cup classic!

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