BACK ON TOP
On a night when the clocks went forward, Longford Town went forward themselves to regain top position in the League, beating Cobh Ramblers by a single goal in a seven goal thriller at St Colman's Park.
For many, it was their first trip to Cobh, for the Golden Oldies it was a pleasant (if long) journey with sweet memories to one of the highest grounds in the land. The Rams enjoy a huge local following with just over 700 cramming into the well appointed grounds (they boast two stands). De Town bus arrived in town at 5.30 which led to both sets of supporters joining up for a few lemonades and some good old banter.
However, most travelling supporters were left suffering from severe shock when the locals were 2-0 up after a mere seven minutes and were singing their hearts out. A massive hammering was on the cards but by degrees the visitors put the shock behind them and worked their way back into the game. On twenty minutes Willo McDonagh found the back of the net following a corner and some hope was restored. There were to be no more scores before half time and many of us would have settled for a draw at that stage.
But to our disbelief, the Rams went further ahead on 47 minutes and with the score at 3-1, it was widely felt that we had no chance at all of a comeback. Trying to instill some hope, some one mentioned our come back against Mervue last season. It sounded so ridiculous, it didn't even get a comment. But then, on 62 minutes, Tony Cousins made two changes which totally turned the game. Daniel Purdy replaced David O'Neill and Gary Shaw came on in place of Josh O'Hanlon. On 64 minutes that man David O'Sullivan ran down the by line and unleashed a screamer from outside the box to make it 3-2. Suddenly expectations changed as De Town grew in confidence and went in search of an equaliser. With just nine minutes left, Mark Salmon who was having a terrific game headed the ball from outside the box. The ball seemed to take an age as it lobbed the keeper and went in off the underside of the crossbar. Put simply, the sizeable travelling support went wild with delight.
The Rams by now were like we were at the start of the game- shell shocked. While they seemed happy to hold out for a draw, Tony Cousins' men went in search off all three points. With the ninety minutes already played and deep into the third minute of added time, Daniel Purdy let fly from outside the box. As soon as he struck the ball, it seemed destined for the net and sure enough screamed low and straight to the bottom corner. It was absolutely unbelievable. The scenes which greeted the winning goal will live long in the memories of those lucky enough to have been present.
Despite being behind by two goals twice, the team showed extraordinary character in fighting their way back and eventually overcoming a very useful and talented Cobh side. It meant a huge amount to the players which was obvious in the way they came over to thank the ecstatic travellers. Indeed such was the ecstasy of victory, we just wanted to stay and soak up the moment but the stewards had to ask us to leave so that they could turn off the lights.
It might be a long way from Cobh to Longford but the journey home simply flew as the game was analysed again and again.Some fell asleep with wide grins of satisfaction and deep contentment etched on their wary faces, others simply smiled the whole way home. It was a fantastic win and three precious points gained . There were excellent performances all over the field, Chris Bennion had a super game and saved us on a number of occasions, Mark Salmon had his best game in a long while, while Daniel Purdy gave a five star performance and Ethan Nkololo also had a superb game.
But it was a fantastic team effort which saw us back on top again.
MERVUE AT CCS
Saturday night sees the mouth watering meeting of the current two top teams in the league, when we host Mervue on this Saturday night at City Calling Stadium, kick off 7.30. Mervue were top of the league last week, just ahead of Finn Harps on goal difference but our three points in Cobh saw us leapfrog them to the top position. Every season, Mervue have proved to be extremely difficult opposition and some would say we rode our luck in our incredible come back against them over in Fahy's Field when beating them 4-5. This season, the Galway men seem to be in flying form with former Town favourite Tom King being particularly impressive. Down at the RSC, they're still recovering after being trounced 0-4 by Mervue . Saturday night's clash promises to be a real humdinger and definitely a game not to be missed by anyone even remotely interested in sport. Be sure to wrap up well.
CAR BOOT SALE
Once again, the rains stayed away which resulted in an other very good Car Boot Sale at City Calling Stadium. Because they're so successful, more and more volunteers are now needed. Aidan Bennett and Liam Healion have been doing some early morning Trojan work as well as Johnny Nevin who is out before the sun gets up. Paddy Conway and friends has been working way beyond the call of duty and well into the late evening clearing up when all have left to count their profits or view some incredible bargains.It may not be high profile or sexy volunteerism but it's what keeping the show on the road and we're truly indebted to the incredible selfless work of so many. Thanks again.
Once we took it for granted that a team's best players would be on the pitch for every game. Not any more, says a report published recently in the UK. This season, just 14 Premier League outfield players are on course to play in each of their team's 38 PL fixtures. By contrast, in the 1992-3 season 65 players played in every game; and back in 1981 Aston Villa won the league with a squad of 14. The change is partly due to firmer pitches which are more wearing on the body; and partly due to the ban on back -passes to the goalie (which allowed players to catch their breath). Softer, lighter boots must also be responsible. That's why this season, just three players are on course to play every minute of every PL match. If you think, you know who they are, text your name and theirs to 087 9896269. Winners (if any) will be announced next week.
HANDY HAND RAILS
Hand rails have been installed on the steps in the stand at City Calling Stadium which have made a huge change for the better. The stand is quite steep and some were finding it difficult to get to their favourite perch to watch a game. Fair play to the hard working ground staff ; as soon as the hand rail idea was mentioned, they got working straight away and produced the goods. As always, actions speak louder than words. Well done lads.