HARD WON WIN
As predicted beforehand, this game against Wexford Youths turned out to be a very difficult three points.With a televised Cup Final in Wembley, the attendance seemed to take a hit which didn't help the atmosphere either. Normally we start brightly but on Saturday night last we seemed to be struggling for long periods to take control of what was a real tough encounter.
Mick Wallace didn't travel for the game as he had an important under age final on the Sunday. However he was well represented by a small, happy group on non stop singers who outperformed the numerically superior Section O. Wexford Youths are a strong, physical and very fit outfit who continue to show that their excellent start to the season is down to hard work and good organisation.
When we did go ahead before half time following three corners, it was actually against the run of play. Keith Gillespie swung over an excellent corner and though touched by Flood, it was finished by joint top scorer Noel Haverty. To add to the drama, the goal was awarded by the sharp eyed linesman who judged that the ball had crossed the line before being cleared by a Wexford defender.
The tea drinkers in the Clubhouse at half time were a tad subdued, knowing how fragile a one goal lead is. The hero so far , apart from Haverty of course , was that eagle eyed linesman. Now what would the Liverpool supporters have given for his decision making !
Thankfully, we improved greatly for the second period. Yet, we failed to make that superiority count on the score board where it matters most. Guilty of some awful misses were Flood, Duffy,Crawley and Shaw. Luckily, Keith Gillespie who continues to be hugely influential, was having a powerful game and was turning up all over the pitch to help control some bubbling and tense situations. As the clock ticked,an emergency call was made to Section O to rally some support. Luckily they responded immediately. But still it was the Youths who pressed for an equaliser. Tony Cousins made a few changes but those introduced seemed to be struggling with the game's now frenetic pace. With only seconds remaining, Kirbs, uncharacteristically, had the ball taken from him and the resultant shot on goal seemed to be handled by a Town defender. Suddenly the harsh penalty given against us down in Wexford flashed in our psyche. But luckily the ref wasn't interested and when the ball rebounded to the striker, he agonisingly and teasingly placed it across the goals but again,lady luck saw to it that no Wexford player could take advantage. The ball skidded harmlessly dead as our hearts continue to thud.
There was as much relief as joy when the ref ended the nail biting finish and the utter devastation on the visitors' faces showed close they had come to upsetting our Bank Holiday week-end.We're still tops by four points but at least we know we can improve further.
AWAY TO WATERFORD
On Friday we face a very long, awkward trip down to Waterford. The Blues have steadied their ship greatly and will be all out to take points off us. It's still hard to believe it when you read in the away match programmes that we're table toppers and the team they all want to beat.Usually we're the ones to up our standard as visiting top of the table teams visit us. Anyway, Tony Cousins has a sound head on him and he'll have all the troops readied for an other very tough encounter. When we played and defeated Waterford at home in Flancare, they introduced a youngster by the name of Maguire. Well on that night he caused us oodles of problems and has done us with devastating effect on other teams since. If we fail to negate the considerable threat of livewire Maguire, we could be in for a torrid evening. But then again, we seem to play better away than at home so a fantastic night's football is in store, hopefully the result will also be fantastic.
Following our away game against Waterford, we host SD Galway on the Friday 18th May. Please note the change from Saturday to Friday because of the big European game, we had no choice in the matter, we simply had to change. We certainly owe SD Galway one after the frustrating night on the sand pit at Terryland Park.
MILLWALL AT FLANCARE
Millwall will be the interesting visitors to Flancare on Wednesday July 18th. It will be a pre season friendly for them and should be a mouth watering encounter for the rest of us. With a change of management at Barca, they couldn't commit so we signed for Millwall instead and despite Peter Malone's considerable influence, he couldn't get either Chelsea or Celtic to travel either.
And yet an other date for your bulging diary, is Saturday June 9th. On that day we hold our Golf Classic at the Co Longford Golf Club. The classic is vital to our funding and hopefully Mother Nature will smile on us as well as many generous sponsors. Give Liam Healion or Brendan Turner a shout re any arrangements.
CUP GAME V CHERRY ORCHARD
Our Cup game against Dublin side Cherry Orchard has been fixed for Sunday May 27th, with kick off at 2pm which sounds very reasonable. The game will be played at the Frank Cooke Park,Griffith Avenue, Dublin 11. It's just off the Drumcondra Road. And of you're checking it out on Google maps, hopefully they'll be more accurate than they are with Flancare which Google insists on calling Michael Neary Park.
Congratulations are in order to Melview U 15s who won the Connaught Shield recently. Seemingly they're a team oozing with talent but then when you read their management set up, you realise why. Jim Hanley is their manager with Alan Kirby their esteemed coach. Congrats too to Rose Dolan, one of many London based fans who has qualified for the All Britain Fleadh.
The Supporters' Club would like to extend its sincere condolences to the Farrell and Phipps family on the recent sad death of Patsy Farrell,Teffia Park. Patsy's son James played with the Town under Stephen Kenny and of course her father Bob was Longford Town FC through and through. May she rest in peace.
Congrats to Colm James who was presented with his Player of the Month award for April by our Chairman Brendan Turner before the start of the game against Wexford Youths. We also extend congratulations to Conor Devlin,Newtownforbes, who has been named Player of the Season for the U19 squad. Conor is a goalkeeper with huge potential and expect to see more of this talented net minder in the seasons to come.
And finally, a word about our efficient and energetic Club Secretary,Carmel Browne who embarks on a 100k walk to raise funds for two charities, Irish Autistic Action and the LARCC Cancer Centre,Multyfarnham. At the end of next month, she'll be walking the same length as a marathon each day for four days from Santiago De Compostila to Finisterre in the searing Spanish heat. She deserves your support.
Meanwhile over at Stevenage our former striker “dazzling” Don Cowan is recovering from an operation and will be out of action for an other long and torturous five months. That means that he'll miss their playoff against Sheffield Utd to gain a place in the Championship.A few years ago, Sheffield Utd with Keith Gillespie played us in a friendly at Flancare. Keith is now writing his book and the documentary on his time with Man U with Giggs and Scholes will soon be aired .