HUNT SAVES PRICELESS POINT
Goalkeeper Paul Hunt was Longford Town's hero and overall man of the match on Friday night last when he pulled off a series of superb saves to secure what could be a priceless away point against League champions and League leaders, Dundalk. Played in front of almost 3,000 partisan fans in Oriel Park, Stephen Kenny did everything in his power to get all three points but he hadn't reckoned on a fantastic defensive performance and goalie Paul Hunt who was simply unbeatable on the night. Three of Paul Hunt's saves being “worldies” or in the words of one ecstatic travelling Town fan “savage”. The last ten minutes in particular were heart-stopping (literally) when the hosts laid siege to the Town goal as shot after shot rained in, with half of the Dundalk side coming close. The Lilywhites introduced Sean Maguire, a player who broke our hearts when playing for Waterford Utd. He came close but thankfully not close enough.
Apart from the heroics of Paul Hunt and the team in general, there was another talking point. Towards the end of the first half, we were gaining in confidence and proving something of a threat with the long ball causing some problems to Dundalk. But when Mark Salmon was given a straight red for what was simply a robust tackle and a yellow card offence, the ref really incensed the Town players and bench as well as the small, faithful travelling supporters. Even the home support rose to their feet to clap off the hapless Salmon, which surely highlighted the inaccuracy of the decision.
Down to ten men for the second half against the high scoring hosts, in front of a large crowd expecting a lorry load of goals and yet De Town held out. As the clock ticked down, the Oohs and Aahs echoed round the stadium but the relief felt by the few far outweighed the disappointment felt by the many. This result was all the more remarkable given the recent disappointing results. We've had a few excellent wins this season already but this draw will surely go down as one of the team's outstanding performances. Well done Paul Hunt.
SHAMROCK ROVERS AT HOME THIS FRIDAY
This Friday night, we welcome Shamrock Rovers to the City Calling Stadium for an 8 o'clock kick off. But do arrive early because, according to some sources, there will be an extra large crowd converging on the Strokestown Road venue. The Hoops were beaten 2-0 by fellow Dubs, St/ Pats last Friday night and you can rest assured that they'll be keen to return to winning ways this week in Longford. They may have 43 points to our 24 but the of late the League has shown that the lower placed teams have shown something of a surge. There's no reason why we can't do the same and take all three points, especially after our terrific display against Dundalk. A special welcome to Mathew Reynolds who will be attending his first Airtricity game on Friday night.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH / JULY
Stephen Rice will receive his merited trophy for being the Supporters' Club player of the month for July. It's not too often the same player gets two awards in the same season but there was little debate about this double award winner. He'll receive his trophy from a member of the Supporters' Club before kick off on Friday night.
CAR BOOT SUCCESS
Thankfully the weather forecasters were a little off the mark on the bank holiday Monday. Yes, it was windy but the rain stayed in the west which meant that we had another bumper Car Boot Sale with massive crowds attending. At this stage, there are buyers and sellers from every corner in Ireland. A huge and sincere thank you to everyone who made this such a successful event, from those who were out in the car park at the crack of dawn, to those who cleared up afterwards and eventually the solo soul who turned the key late on in the evening. The funds raised are a massive help to financing various projects within the club and you can rest assured that every cent raised is spent wisely.
We welcome Philip Gannon, 18, who joins the club from West Bromwich Albion where he played on all the under age teams. Pending international clearance, Philip should be able to join the squad at once. Surely a certain local pharmacy should be jumping up and down to sponsor him. Think about it.
CONGRATSDUFF'S DEBUT THIS FRIDAY?
There has been a lot of speculation that Damian Duff may make his Airtricity League debut this Friday night at the the City Calling Stadium when he dons the hoops of Shamrock Rovers. Duff of course is a legend in Irish football circles having won 100 caps for the Republic and having played at the highest level in England. Whether he togs out or not, he's sure to be present and if past experiences are anything to go by, he's very approachable and never objects to selfies or autograph hunters. It looks like Friday night could be a very special night for many of our younger fans on a celeb seeking mission.
Our section in the League table has become as congested as the top of St Mel's Rd on a wet Friday evening. Following the week end's games, surprising Bray sit in 6th place on 26 points, we're close behind in 7th on 24 points while still snapping at our heels on 22 points are Derry, Drogheda and Galway who felt the full fury of a revived Derry on Friday night.
GET WELL WISHES
Everyone in the Supporters' Club would like to wish Padraig Connolly a speedy recovery. Padraig is, of course, one of De Town's most loyal, popular and passionate supporters. His familiar voice will be sorely missed this Friday in the City Calling Stadium, but he did witness the wonderful Town display in Dundalk last week which should help keep his heart up for a long time!
Happy Birthday to Marie Keegan who celebrated her 60th in some style on Saturday night with a red and black special LTFC cake.