A very large Longford Town crowd headed west on Friday evening hoping to erase the memories of the heavy defeat against Drogheda. Despite the beautiful sunny weather and the near perfect pitch, many of the players seemed to freeze in the first half. Maybe it was due to the fact that Mervue and the Drogs play in a similar kit. When Brian McCarthy had his third goal ruled out, it looked like our luck was out. When we fell one behind from some sloppy defending, it seemed like our hopes as well as the sun were sinking fast in Galway Bay. Despite having the lion's share of possession, we just couldn't find that last telling pass. However Chris Bennion had made a superb save when one on one to keep our slim hopes alive.
When Willo McDonagh was mysteriously dismissed on 53 minutes, our uphill struggle became even steeper. With the industrious Haverty limping off, many felt our four point lead on top of the table would soon become a mere single point.
Tony Cousins rejigged things with Keith Quinn going in at left full and Salmo at right full and Willie Tyrell at centre half. Gavin Doyle also had an instant positive impact on introduction and drove forward with menace at every opportunity. Suddenly the ten man Town were proving more and more of a threat as they strung some neat passing movements together. Mervue on the other hand, seemed happy to protect their slender lead. Then on 74 minutes, who else but David O
Sullivan got possession in the box, turned on a five cent piece and blasted the ball to the net. Goal number twelve and what an important strike. And with some travelling supporters still struggling to text an update, Gary Shaw found the head of David O'Neill who directed his effort superbly out of the reach of the home keeper. Despite the introduction of Mervue's dangerman Tom King, De Town held out for an incredibly important away win and indeed David O'Sullivan almost had goal number two at the end when his superb shot just hit the outside of the post with the keeper well beaten.
In fairness, for long periods, we didn't look like we'd even draw the game, let alone take all three points. So with a full moon shimmering on Galway Bay, we headed home happy with a bag full of points, our western gem safely tucked away.
PIKE ROVERS AT HOME
On Saturday night at City Calling Stadium, we entertain Pike Rovers from Limerick in the Cup. It's a bonus having a home game but hopefully it won't end on a draw which would mean a long trek down south on Tuesday evening. Hopefully, we can nick a win and come away with no injuries. At the moment our suspension list is growing alongside our injury list and if we're to make any serious progress, we need a fully fit and full squad. Pike Rovers may be a junior club but they've had a very successful season and have some extremely talented players and are chomping at the bit to cause an upset on Saturday night. But we need to see more locals coming out the Strokestown Road to support our own team...support local soccer...that's real sport.
Following the home Cup game, we travel to Richmond Park, Dublin to take on the might of St Pats in the Leinster Senior Cup. It'll be a real tough test, with St Pats flying high as a Ballymahon hot air balloon. After Pats, it's back to the bread and butter when we entertain Wexford Youths at home. No doubt, Marty will be spruced up for that particular game. Currently we've a seven point cushion at the top of the league, the other games having gone our way. But with such a small amount of teams and with surprises every single week, there can be no let up and hopefully we'll suffer no major injuries in the non league games. Before the half way stage of the league, we play Athlone away. Some mightily interesting games ahead.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH
Only a handful of supporters realised that our game against Mervue was the final one for the month of May. They were the ones who texted in their Player of the Month for May nomination, minutes after the game in Fahy's Field. You have until Wednesday evening to text your nomination. We hope Marty Stapleton will be home from Dublin to present the trophy before this Saturday night's Cup tie.
The number as usual is 087 9896269 and don't forget to include your own name as well as your suggestion for Player of the Month for May.
CAR BOOT SALE
The June bank holiday Monday is our next Car Boot Sale and if it's anything like our last one, then it's going to be a massive success. With people travelling from all over Ireland, it's genuinely one of the best in the Leinster, if not the entire country. There's something for every one and with bargains galore, you'd be silly to miss it. As usual, it's at City Calling Stadium and from 10am-3pm. Selling or buying, it really is the place to be.
SUPER AWAY SUPPORT
One Galway man made an interesting comment on our incredible supporters as the full moon rose over the city of the tribes after Friday night's win. He said that if there was a prize for the most loyal, happy and diverse bunch of supporters, we'd win it hands down. He added that of all travelling supporters, he enjoys De Town the most. With Section O increasing its considerable vocal range, the away support can only go from strength to strength. Friday night was a little like the magical night in Cobh with Section O, staying back to cheer the team as they held their warm down in front of the adoring, chanting fans. And those chants and songs continued for every single mile of the journey home and possibly afterwards as well. Well done lads.
On MNS last week, Brian Kerr came out with an incredible insight into domestic soccer. He was talking about the current crisis within Shelbourne and added that if they don't get their footballing act together soon, they'd be doomed to travelling the country which would be a terrible blow. Travelling the country is an other way of saying, playing in the first division. So, it's obvious the city clubs prefer playing other city clubs and the more of them gathered around Dublin the better, according to Brian Kerr. For Brian, the likes of Longford pales into insignificance, if you'll pardon the Pale reference. So much for Brian Kerr being the sensible voice of domestic Irish soccer.
And talking of things media, a manager from Scotland recently decided he'd had enough of footballing management. He has been in charge of a team called Man U and seemingly has been a success there. Fair enough and fair play to him. But why did the main news of the Republic's national TV station make it headline news.They wouldn't have afforded the resignation of a Pope the same time.The only wonder is that they didn't dig out a former Taoiseach, to mutter something about “our” great loss.
On this Wednesday night, our Clubhouse is being used by GOAL to launch their Reek Challenge. The Reek Challenge is the challenge of climbing Croagh Patrick in late July to raise funds for a school in Calcutta so that they might have clean water and proper toilets. Already there's a strong Town link with a Street Children's project in the same city when De Town donated a complete set of jerseys. Already a few supporters have pledged to attempt the climb so if you're asked for a euro or three, it's for a genuine cause.