Report by: Rachael McKeon
Longford Town U19’s finished out their season on Saturday at home to Cup finalists Dundalk. Things could have started better for the Town when minutes before kickoff their keeper Conor Devlin injured himself in the warm up and was unable to take part in the game. This resulted in striker Paddy Cheevers stepping up and going between the posts not for the first time this season.
Despite Dundalk being in the Airtricity U19 National Cup Final this coming Wednesday they still turned out a full strength side at Flancare Park. The first half was slow to get going and created little in the way of chances for either side. The first chance of note fell to the home side when Araujo played a good ball into the path of Cosgrave who saw his shot go narrowly wide. Dundalk had their own chance on goal on 30 minutes and unfortunately for the Town they made theirs count when their number 9 goasted into the box where he received the ball and finished past an unfortunate Chevers. Longford would have thought they were right back in it when Rossiter latched onto a ball from Gallagher but his shot was easily gathered by the keeper. The first half came to a close 1-0 to the visitors.
Where the first half was lack lustre the second half was full of life from the start. The home side came out of the blocks with all guns blazing and within 3 minutes Gallagher had a rasping shot that was well saved by the Dundalk keeper. Two minutes later the home side thought they had netted the equaliser when Gallagher played a lovely ball through to Rossiter who finished past the out coming Dundalk keeper only for a late flag from the linesman to deny him. This looked to be a wrong decision as the Town striker appeared to be onside on this occasion. Credit to the Town team they continued to push forward and had another couple of half chances before Dundalk broke up field to score their second on 60 minutes. From the restart Longford were unlucky not to pull one back when Siode received the ball and went on a surging run into the visitor’s box but just as he shot a Dundalk defender got his leg across to block the ball. On 71 minutes Dundalk played some lovely passing football which resulted in the visitors taking a three goal lead. Unfortunately for stand in keeper Cheevers he was to be beaten one more time in the 78th minute when a ball from the right was met by the incoming Dundalk striker and headed to the net. Longford would no doubt have been hoping to finish off their season with a win but unfortunately they were up against a team which had six of their players in the first team squad that played in the EA Sports Cup in Flancare a couple of weeks ago. When you take this into consideration and the chances that this young Town team had in this game it just goes to show how they have progressed as a team this season.
Speaking after the game Longford Town Assistant Manager Adrian Massop said “On behalf of myself, Manager Philip Coffey and Coaches Ian Maher and Ritchie Fagan, we would like to thank all the players for their hard work and commitment throughout what has been a long and hard season. We would also like to thank the player’s parents for their help and support and everyone else who supported the team during the campaign. Thanks to Kanes Travel and their drivers for their services on our away trips. A big thank you has to go to the staff of the club for having the facilities and the pitch always in the best possible condition on match days. A final thank you has to go to Joe Raleigh of the Spar Express on the Dublin Road in Longford for his kind sponsorship this season.”
The teams management have asked that if there is any players interested in playing for the U19 Longford Town team next season and are aged between 16 and 18 years please send an email to [email protected] and they will get back to you in the next few weeks with details.
After what has been an interesting and entertaining season for all who followed the U19’s campaign we now look forward to see what next season brings. On a final note the player of the year award for the U19’s will be presented during Longford Town’s next home game against Wexford Youths on Saturday 5th May at 7.30pm.
Longford Town: Paddy Cheevers, Sean Flannery, Stephen Boateng, Shane O’Connell, Cillian Glacken, Leo Araujo, Dean Cosgrave, Ciaran Fagan, Efe Siode, Mark Rossiter, Padraig Gallagher.
Subs: Andrew Stead for Glacken (55mins), Tommy Cooney for Rossiter (85mins).