FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
Following on from our mesmerising five goals against Mervue and three against Finn Harps, many fans expected a spectacular and colourful display against near neighbours, Athlone Town. However it was a poor grey evening with not a single goal being registered by either team. The crowd was one of the best this season with many old faces making a welcome return to the stands. However, it appears as the season moves into mid July, that our best performances are away from home. Apart from the never to be forgotten comeback against Mervue, we played out of our skins against Limerick, certainly not at home but away. Strange.
The first half was as dull and grey as you could get. In fact, one of the main talking points at half time, was the kick outs of their keeper, young Jennings. He continually put us under pressure with his massive kicks but was hardly ever closed down. On top of that, he made a few excellent saves which certainly kept the understrength neighbours in the race.
We pressed more after the break but despite their inexperience at the back back , we just couldn't find a way past. In fairness we did come close on several occasions, especially towards the end, but it simply wasn't enough. Indeed they had a few chances of their own and at times, we seemed over nervous at the back ourselves The introduction of Molloy, formerly with Man Utd certainly had us on our toes and his energy and running caused all sorts of panic.
Sometimes we can point an accusing finger at the ref but not on this occasion. Indeed, he booked an Athlone player for cheating in the penalty box, and before he pointed for a free, many thought he was awarding a penalty. Yes, we had numerous chances at the end but with a combination Jennings in top form and agonisingly close misses, it was a night for our noisy (and sometimes rude) neighbours to sing the loudest. At the final whistle, you'd swear they had won, but they realised fully realised that they had dented our ambitions, denying us two valuable points. This was especially so following on from Waterford's defeat of our closest rivals Limerick.
On a July evening, we were left with one of the fifty shades of grey.
It's a long way down to Wexford for our next game. In doesn't matter if you drive through Portlaoise and Carlow or if you follow the motorways via the M4,M50 and then the M/N 11, it's still a fairly long haul trip. And once again, it's going to be a tough one. Every single game will be tough. We're a mere two points ahead of Limerick but Waterford are now closing in and , traditionally, they're strong finishers. So tense times ahead. Hopefully as many as possible can make the journey to the soggy south east, on what will be the first of a testing few days of challenging games.
July might be a dull month so far this summer, but its about to be brightened up considerably by the arrival of two teams from over the water, Millwall and, incredibly Man Utd reserves. To have gotten Millwall was a coup in itself but getting Man Utd is a massive coup for the club. Jim Hanley and his backroom staff can take a well earned bow on this one. All clubs in Ireland would love to have had either of these games, especially the ones in red. Already there has been considerable interest from all over Ireland with people wondering about the price and availability of tickets.The Man U team is the reserve team which represents the future of the most famous club in the world. The first team had been contracted to play in Asia and reluctantly couldn't make it to Flancare. They promise though to dispel every shade of grey around Longford on a dull July evening.
The dates, in case you don't know already are Millwall at 7.30 on Wed July 18th and then Man Utd, same time on Monday July 23th. The tickets are reasonably priced at €15/adult and a mere €5 for children. Tickets will be available beforehand. If early interest is anything to go by, make sure to get yours in plenty of time. Spread the word to your friends around the region. It's really a wonderful opportunity to see some of the best in the world play in what is called the friendliest stadium in the world.
An interesting find at the bottom of a drawer recently uncovered a Longford Leader from Sptember 1981, long before many of our current squad were even born ! Well there was an article on the upcoming season and guess what the difficulties were...money or lack thereof. At the time a baby faced PRO Peter Kelly was pleading for volunteers to drive the team to matches. Yes, you read that correctly. Overall it was costing £10,000 a year to keep the club on the road, with the club's laundry costing £25 a week. According to the writer Eilis Ward, Peter Kelly told her that the club was “looking for people who mightn't be doing very much on a Saturday and who would like to drive the team to their games. It can be a day out for people with nothing else to do.” Since then, the Peter obviously honed his fledgling PR skills !
Our Club secretary Carmel Browne had a chance meeting at Santiago airport with a former player on her way home from completing her Camino fundraising walk. Billy Byrne, used to play in goals many many moons ago. He mentioned Town legends like Zack Hackett, Pop Cunningham and of course the colourful Hayhsem. And another Town legend, he asked about who is still driving the Town forward (when he fixes his flat tyre) was Donald Keogh, our current Club PRO.
The Supporters' Club and everyone associated with the club would like to offer their sincere condolences to Josephine and Frank Glancy on the tragic death of their nephew in Spain recently. May he rest in peace.