Good evening Ladies and Gentleman once again from the other side of the ground. The last time we said “Hello” to you all our notes were full of pessimism and worry, a loss in El Clasico and a poor point in Salthill had us all fearing that we were about to make a similar collapse to that of this time last season. A lot has happened since our last home game, some good and some bad but unfortunately, that same feeling is still evident among us all at the CSS. We appear to have gone full circle; a vital 3 points against the Blues in the CSS followed by a hard fought away point against Harps 2 weeks ago reassured us somewhat until disaster struck in Cobh last weekend.
The win against Waterford may have been a relief and a great 3 points but in reality it was a poor performance. We made it very hard for ourselves to beat 10 men and had to rely on Des Hope, in his first competitive game back to put his body on the line, blocking and clearing every chance that came his way. While we were all more than happy to take the 3 points, the Blues fans, who brought their biggest travelling support since they played Cork a few years ago, seemed very unhappy, blaming the FAI and administrative issues for not letting them register their 3 new players in time to play. Dean Ebbe, our new singing from Rovers was also not allowed to play along with the majority of players signed for various clubs around the Country that week. This made Waterford’s protests seem a tad petty but as we have seen over the last month or so, the Blues don’t abide by the same rules as the rest of us.
Next up we had the long trip to Ballybofey to play our bogey team and the only team to have taken maximum points off us this season. Ballybofey on a Friday evening is difficult place to get to, as are the majority of grounds in this Discover Ireland League and unfortunately, due to a number of reasons, the bus was cancelled. This didn’t stop a few car loads of fans travelling up in the midst of a heatwave to support the lads. The Section O banners were displayed proudly on the side fence despite them probably taking up about 2 or 3 times the amount of space as the away crowd. On the match itself, there’s not usually a lot to say about a 0-0 draw but this one was particularly uneventful, we were the better team in the first half, whereas Harps came out and put us under pressure for the majority of the second half, a few half chances for each side and a debatable penalty shout for us and that was it. A game of two halves, a deserved point for each side, whatever stupid cliché you want to use…the game was boring! Big bad McCarthy, who was sound enough to come over and have a chat with a few of the Section O lads at half time seemed to question our sanity at travelling all the way up to the match and do you know what, maybe he was right. Was driving an almost 6 hour round trip after work on a Friday in nearly 30 degree heat to stand and watch a 0-0 draw not normal?
Football fans are criticised for being fickle at times, especially fans of a team that are top of the league but when your team is on the verge of blowing such a significant lead while being outplayed week after week by teams below them, even in games they are winning, fans have a right to complain. We are and have been plagued by injuries and suspensions over the last month or two. Salmo is and remains to be a huge loss, although credit where it is due, young Rhys Gorman has hit the ground running since signing but our midfield remains weak. We haven’t had the same back four playing together in I don’t know how long but this hasn’t been helped by our defenders taking it in turns to get sent off each week. Although stating our obvious flaws in the Section O notes isn’t going to change anything the fact remains that we are now a lot closer to Athlone then we want to be. With the 3rd El Clasico of the season already coming up again in just 2 weeks’ time, our next two games are absolutely crucial. With Athlone playing Waterford and Harps in their next two games if there was ever a time that we wanted them to slip up this would be it but we still have to take care of our side and try to obtain as close to maximum points as we can against Mervue and Wexford. Squeaky-bum- time is most definitely upon us! Come on De Town!!
A week on and last Saturday nights trip to Cobh is still fresh in the 30 or so Town fans minds who witnessed the collapse at the time. A few lads bright thinking meant we had a cooler box on the bus to keep our refreshments for the journey nice and cool. A couple of pit stops later, we arrived in Cobh about 2 hours before kickoff. Having taken up residence in Jack Doyle’s pub again after it brought us good pints and good luck back in March, we were politely asked to keep the noise down by the local barwoman. Alas, her wishes weren’t exactly adhered to, so we decided to make our way up to the ground. After eventually making it there (in case you didn’t know, Cobh is a horribly hilly place to walk around/up!) we were forced to set up camp behind one of the goals. Flags waving, drums beating and half an hour after kick off, we had seen 3 unanswered Town goals scored right in front of us. Surely the 3 points were wrapped up at this stage? Unfortunately not, as Cobh got one back on the stroke of half time and Havo hit the showers having being left exposed as the last man.
Despite being down to 10 men and having very little of the ball, the 2nd half was ticking along ok, with the pace of Sully and Josh causing Cobh problems on the break. With 13 minutes left, we were still leading 3-1 and dealing with whatever Cobh threw at us rather comfortably, until a rather suspect penalty decision from ref Anthony Buttimer (from Cork...the old saying “home town decision” was never more apt) left it 3-2, and squeaky bum time all round. A couple of minutes later, it was 3-3. We had barely tipped off and Davin O’Neill had smashed the winner in for Cobh with a spectacular volley into the top corner. The away end was well and truly silenced, as the small band of Cobh fans went wild. I guess now we know how they felt in the same fixture earlier in the season. Some late pressure from Town yielded no clear cut chances, and we were left staring down the barrel of a 4+ hour journey home, with no points to show for it. Being asked to wait behind by the stewards for a few minutes afterwards certainly didn’t help our mood either.
Our next stop on the Discover Ireland Tour is Wexford next Friday, the Supporters club will be running a bus as usual; so if interested please text Liam on 0876141926 before this Wednesday. Last time we played in Wexford, the lads fought with just ten men to claim a vital 3 points and pointed out themselves that the vocal away support urging them on played a big part so let’s have more of the same next weekend!
FIFA Tournament/Pitch and Putt/Fantasy Premier League
Many thanks again to everyone who attended our last Fifa tournament which was held in Foxes bar on the 5th of July. Competitors on the night included two players, Mick Lee and Etanda Nkololo. Etanda was not content with just taking part and came very close to being the overall winner on the night. Winners on the night were (1st) Ian Murray,(2nd) Etanda Nkololo and (3rd) Ross Thompson. Money raised on the night has already been spent on new flags which are on their way from Poland and should be here for the next El Clasico.
Some of the upcoming fundraisers we have planned include a Pitch & Putt tournament and a Fantasy Football League to be run in conjunction with the Supporters Club before the start of the new Premier League season. Keep an eye out for updates for either on our Facebook and twitter pages or in the Longford Town forum on www.foot.ie.
Chant of the Week
To the tune of “One Road” by the Wolf Tones, please note that some of the words have been subtly censored and replaced with alternative words of your choice so as to be suitable for the club website.
“We’re Section O, We’re Section O,
We’ve been on the road to everywhere,
We sing our songs here, We drink our beer here,
But we’re together now who cares,
Finn Harps, Athlone “handbags/beanbags/Tesco bags” all,
Longford Town will “ducking/trucking/plucking” beat them all,
We’re on the one road, singing about,
Singing about De Town”
Section O Membership
This year the Supporters club are offering a new “Section O” membership to attract younger supporters who wish to get involved. Membership costs the same as the Supporters Club, €10 or €5 for students. We at Section O intend to hold regular meetings where younger fans can ask questions and express their views which can then be brought forward to the Supporters Club.
If getting a hold of the match programme every fortnight to get your fix of these brilliantly put together notes just isn’t enough for you, make sure to keep up to date with all Section O news by liking our page on Facebook or following us on Twitter at @section_o_ltfc! There is also a new Section O….eh “section” on the official Club site www.ltfc.ie, where we will be hoping to add weekly news as well as any fan pictures we can get our hands on.