FIVE STAR START
It was only when we got off the bus at Drom, outside Galway that we realised how bitterly cold it was. Drom is set on the edge of a windswept bog somewhere between the road to Spiddal and the road to Clifden. Those towns might be associated with holidays but Drom is only associated with a fierce,biting wind. It was a night for brass monkies to remain indoors. There is no stand or shelter, there isn't even a wall. Yes, they have a wonderful Clubhouse but real supporters don't or can't support from behind panes of glass...ask Roy Keane. Yet, despite the awfully cold night, Longford Town supporters easily outnumbered those Galwegians who turned up.
As we stamped our numb feet waiting for the kick off, we were just grateful it was a dry night. The new look Town started brightly with Daniel Purdy having the best of a few early chances. We only had to wait 11 minutes for the same player to open his account which resulted from a diverted free kick. But try as we did, it proved impossible to add to the tally before half time. The hosts, to their credit, have some fine passages of passing play but seldom threatened.
One nil at half time wasn't all that convincing and standing in a slow long line for a cup of tea, didn't help much either.
Thankfully the second half warmed us up a bit. First, the wind died down a bit but what really warmed the cockles of our hearts was David O'Sullivan's second goal. That goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Salthill Devon and as we grew in confidence, the hosts appeared to wilt. When young Josh O'Hanlon found the net eight minutes later, we felt the night was safe. But it became safer still, two minutes later when David O Sullivan showed some real class in nutmegging their keeper. The same player made sure of the ball when finding the net once again, for his hat trick, with two minutes remaining on the clock.
So as the cliché goes, it was a game of two halves, the second being the more memorable. We were very strong at the back and Brian McCarthy played extremely well. Up front we showed a lot of pace and grew in confidence as the game progressed. The new young players in particular showed great appetite and were well rewarded for their efforts.
There were smiles all round as the players trooped off the near perfect, if small pitch and when other results were called out over the PA system, those smiles increased just a tad.
Overall, it was a heartwarming five star display on a bitterly cold opening night.
CAR BOOT SALE
By all accounts the cold snap will have disappeared in time for our first Car Boot Sale of the season. That day is this bank holiday Monday, March 18th. The venue is the same but the name City Calling Stadium is just different. What remains the same too will be the incredible bargains up for grabs. No matter what you're looking for, you can be sure of getting it at the Car Boot Sale and at a knockdown price too. All over the country Car Boot Sales are increasing in popularity and it's no wonder why. Fantastic bargains at fantastic prices. It's a real win,win situation. It kicks off at 10am and finishes at 3pm but do come early, as more and more seem to do.
WATERFORD AT HOME
Waterford make the long trip to City Calling Stadium from the south east this Saturday night. The last time they were in in Longford, many of their noisy fans thought (hoped?) they'd never be out the Strokestown Road again. But sport is cruel and Dundalk made that point very clear to the supporters of the Blues. This time round they're minus their goal machine that was Seanie Maguire. However the bookies still have Waterford as automatic promotion prospects and they seldom get things wrong. So that means that we will have a real full blooded contest in prospect on Saturday night.
Waterford had the three points in the bag against Finn Harps last week-end until the Donegal outfit struck for the equalising goal with just a minute remaining. Waterford will be keen to erase that memory but then De Town will be even more keen to maintain the momentum of our opening game. It promises to be a right good night's entertainment.
MEMORIES OF FIVE NIL
It's not too often we score five goals away from home and maintain a clean sheet as well. The last time we had a five star performance was when the headline read “ 05 in 02”...which in plain Longford English meant we beat Drogheda five nil in their ground, which at the time was called O2.
Though only a few short years ago, our memories turned to a few names who were regulars at away games but who are , sadly, no longer with us, Enda Muldowney, Brendan Gill, John Donlon and Brendan Turner. Both John Donlon and Brendan Turner were committee members of the Supporters' Club and we hope to have their photos on display from 7pm on this Saturday night in the Clubhouse. Gone, but always in our hearts.
As part of the Gathering 2013 a game between the over 40s of the Republic and Northern Ireland will take place at Peamount on March 16th. I suppose they could be called the Ever Green Giants as many of them were just that, Giants in their playing days. Incredibly De Town can claim six of the team. Could you name any of them who are still fit enough to be strutting their stuff on an international stage? The six named representatives from Longford Town are: Sean Egan, left full; Aaron Callaghan,Centre half; Mark Rutherford, left wing; Greg O Dowd, midfield; Stephen Kearney, forward and Brian Byrne, forward.
Happy birthday to Shane Connolly who had a big birthday bash at the week-end. Shane of course travels to most matches whether home or away despite living in Dublin and even though, he's associated professionally with the Hoops, his heart is red and black. Someone had a fabulous cake made for the popular Shane but forgot to add the black stripes to the red part . Happy Birthday Shane. We also hope to be adding Dillon Walsh as our youngest member of the Supporters' Club in the very near future.
Well done to the lads behind our website www.ltfc.ie which is bang up to date these days. There's also Facebook and Twitter links which are hugely beneficial especially to those Longfordians now having to live overseas in far flung places like South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Afghanistan, never mind London, Sydney, Vancouver and New York. Changed times.