POOR RECORD AGAINST THE MINNOWS CONTINUE
So at the eleventh time of asking, SD Galway/Salthill Devon (delete as appropriate!) finally won a game against us after seven losses and three draws since the two clubs first met in the League Cup second round in the 91-92 season. You could sense something in the air wasn't right before kickoff when the lowest crowd of the season attended the game and you could feel that something wasn't right with us once we took the field as well. From start to finish, SD Galway beat us to the ball from the start and if you were a stranger, you would never have guessed that we led the table practically to before the Euros.
There was one change from the game down in Waterford with Chris Deans replacing the suspended Willo McDonagh. Willo was badly missed on Saturday night and defensively we were a shambles. The first goal for SD came from a breakdown in communication between Chris Deans and Craig Hyland which allowed Enda Curran to slip behind on a one on one with Craig Hyland. He majestically lobbed the ball over Hyland and Hyland could have worked harder in stopping the ball over the line in my humble opinion as he was slow running back. After that poor start it didn't seem to waken us up at all. It was almost as if we had resigned ourselves to finishing up in third place when it was not the case. The second half resulted in their second goal when a error from Mick Lee allowed Enda Curran to run through and beat Hyland again.
This resulted in the changes being made and three substitutes came on: Kirbs, Jamie Duffy and Darragh Reynor. Kirbs looked extremely sharp and was back to his own self. He scored the best of his four goals so far this season in his second spell when he hit from a Town pass with a super volley that flew past the SD Goalie from outside the box. It was the Kirbs of old all over again and it was fantastic to see as he has had a tough season.
But alas it made no difference to the result and the silence around the ground at the final whistle spoke volumes at the dismay at the result. With Limerick winning the previous night and Harps winning the same night as SD, Limerick can wrap up the title on Saturday night next and Harps only need one more point to secure second spot (they have by far the better goal difference compared to us). It was by far our worst display of the season and it will require a huge improvement in passion and effort if we are going to win the playoffs this year.
There will be a huge crowd for next weekends game but alas there will be more Limerick fans than ours as they are so close to getting promoted since the 1991-92 season when Sam Allardyce got them up. Its an awful pity that we have nothing more to play for besides a playoff spot but I think the three week break for the Euros killed our momentum and we have never recovered from it. A look at the league table from before the Limerick game in Flancare says it all: We were top by four points from Limerick. We had 31 points after twelve games, Limerick had 27 points after twelve games and Waterford had unbelievably 20 points after the same amount. Since then we have only earned 19 points from fourteen games, Limerick 29 points from fourteen games and Waterford the best with 32 points from fourteen games.
We never seemed to recover from the major loss of Des Hope, Noel Haverty (one of the strong candidates for Player of the Year IMO),Gary Shaw and Daniel Purdy. Our record against the minnows have being our achilles heal all season i.e We lost to Finn Harps earlier in the season and drew with them too, we drew to SD Galway at home and lost as well.They have being the chief reason for our loss of form since the euros plus the inept officials that have cost us points.
It is vitally important that De Town put in an effort for the Limerick game as we have to discover our momentum if we have to have a chance in the playoffs. Willo is suspended for the next two games so it will be tough. Limerick are missing Rory Gaffney for the rest of the season through injury. Hopefully there will be a great atmosphere as it would be nice to give Limerick a beating to allow Waterford the chance to overtake them as Waterford are the team of the season imo. Heres hoping that the depression from the last two weeks will lift so see you there!
PLAYOFF DATES ANNOUNCED
The dates for this season's playoffs have being set. It will all depend on what position we finish;
FIRST DIVISION PROMOTION/RELEGATION PLAYOFF
Friday/Saturday October 19/20: Third placed club v Second placed club
Friday/Saturday October 26/27: Second placed club v Third placed club
(Winning Club to play the 11th placed Premier Division Club in the Promotion/Relegation Playoff Final over two legs)
PROMOTION/RELEGATION PLAYOFF FINAL
Monday/Tuesday October 29/30: First Leg
Friday November 2 or Wednesday November 7: Second Leg.
The second leg will be played on November 7 if one of the clubs involved qualifies for the FAI Cup Final ie Dundalk.
A massive congratulations to ex Town players Cathal “Daitsi” Brady ( a major loss for us this season) and Peter Hynes (top scorer for us in Tony Cousins first season in charge two years ago) for winning the League Cup final for Drogheda Utd. Peter Hynes would have won medals before from his Sporting Fingal days but this is Cathal's first senior medal.
BELATED HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Section O Legend Padraig Stapleton celebrated his birthday on 21st September. He is hoping to make his debut appearance of the season for the Limerick game! He has been a massive help to the Supporters Club for doing our membership cards and for the club for redesigning the website which is not easily done and is really appreciated by all his comrades in the supporters club and LTFC.
This is my debut piece for this so many thanks for the main scribe for allowing me the opportunity to do so. Heres to many more!