Following their magnificent 1-2 victory against League Champions Athlone Town on Saturday night, Longford Town now face Mervue of Galway this Friday night, in the first of a two leg play off. The second game will take place at the City Calling Stadium on the following Friday night.
Longford Town played out of their skins to defeat the fancied local team in Athlone but they know they'll have to repeat that performance if they're to advance to the play offs against Premier opposition. It turned out to be a night of surprises on Saturday night with Cobh beating favourites Waterford Utd 2-1. Earlier Waterford had scouts at the City Calling Stadium checking out Longford Town as their possible opponents. On the same night , the surprise team of the season Mevue put four goals past Wexford Youths who were at home. To put that result in context, Longford Town were fortunate enough to beat Wexford 2-1 the previous Saturday night at a game played in Longford.
Mervue are the form team for the last two months or so , having recored six wins on the trot. They beat Longford Town 1-0 recently but hopefully the Town will have learned plenty of lessons from that particular game. Mervue have a winning blend of youth and experience who seem to know no fear, as their recent excellent run indicates. When the FAI ruled that Galway could have only team next season, and that didn't include Mervue, it simply galvanised Johnny Glynn's side to greater things.
Tony Cousins on the other hand is delighted to have this stage of the season with hopes still alive of exiting the lower First Division. A series of events combined to create a perfect storm which in turn threatened to sink the good ship LTFC. However, with a steady hand on the wheel and a hard working back room staff relentlessly beavering away, the ship has the safely of the port within sight now. Mervue, he knows will pose a serious threat and he's well aware of their long unbeaten run as well as their goal scoring threats. However, Tony Cousins has had to almost rebuild the team during the turbulent season which also saw events off the pitch and outside of his control, take a heavy toll. The amount of injuries, some of them serious, was simply frightening.
But Longford Town has overcome much adversity this season and with players like Keith Quinn, Ryan Connolly and Gary Shaw getting stronger and more influential in recent games and with Chris Bennion in superb form too of late, and then with the old reliables which includes David O'Sullivan on song, the dream of promotion is still very much alive.
Longford Town have a very vocal and colourful band of supporters and hopefully their loyalty will be rewarded with a positive result in Galway this Friday night. It won't be easy, it will a be tense and tough encounter with maybe a single goal deciding what will be in essence a half time score. The second half will take place the following Friday night the packed City Calling Stadium.