Interview by Andrew Dempsey
One of the most highly thought of midfielders in the League of Ireland First Division, it was certainly a huge jolt in the arm when it was confirmed that Aodh Dervin was to remain in Red and Black for 2020.
And now after 54 league appearances for Longford Town, 20-year-old Dervin is certainly looking forward to making his mark for 2020 with new permanent boss Daire Doyle – with the Longford native left encouraged by the early signs in pre-season.
“It’s (pre-season) been good, good seeing the lads back – Daire (Doyle) and Johnny (John Martin) – just getting the lads back in on a routine again so it’s been enjoyable so far. It’s been hard as well, but every pre-season is like that so I can’t complain about that.
“We’ve got a really good squad together now with the lads coming in,” he added. “They’ve all held their ground, and all done really well so it’s a positive sign for us and hopefully it can push us on even more. I think that’s the difference between this year and last year, and I don’t want to be saying this and that about last year but the fact that we have competition in every position it helps making things better.”
And with the experience of going so close last term, the tenacious and dogged midfielder added; “You can sign all the players in the world, but you have to keep the core of the squad together.
“I think Daire did really good business in the window keeping lads such as Sam (Verdon) and Deano (Dean Byrne) and players like that. They’re the players you need to get things together and I think that’s just as good as the new signings. We don’t really want to think about last year. We all know what it’s like to feel that.
“I think at the back of our minds when it comes to the business end of the season we’ll be thinking (about) that but at the moment we’ll be taking it game by game and not think too much of it. If we dwell on it too much it could become dangerous. We’re not really thinking of that at the moment, we’re looking forward to next season and see if we can push on again and make it happen.”
And as far as 2020 goes, Aodh has his eyes firmly set on the task on hand; “It’s not even promotion, we want to win the league really. That’s what we’re thinking.
“We don’t want to be settling for promotion, you want to be winning every game and we’re competing in the league to win it, not just the playoffs. The aim is to win the league. The (fans) were huge for us last year in the big games for us against Bohs and Cabo and stuff like that. We just really need the supporters to really drive us on this year to keep us going in games when it might be going rough for us. They’re the twelfth man, I know it’s a cliché, but they really are.”