WE’VE MOVED

Between the Stripes has moved to a new home, http://www.betweenthestripes.ie is now the place to find all the latest League of Ireland news, updates and dedicated Longford Town FC coverage, as well as the critically aclaimed Between the Stripes LOI podcast.

You can still find us on Facebook by searching Between the Stripes, Twitter (@BetweenStripes), Instagram – Between the Stripes and on Snapchat (BTS1924), while our weekly podcast can be found on Itunes, Audioboom, Pocketcast, Podcast Republic and Mixcloud, simply search for Between the Stripes LOI podcast.

So to recap, http://www.betweenthestripes.ie is now the new home of Between the Stripes!

 

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Exclusive Interview with new Cork City defender, Danny Kane

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In an exclusive interview for Between the Stripes, current Irish Under-21 International Danny Kane got chatting on the phone with our very own @AndrewDempsey2 to discuss his motives for joining up with John Caulfield at Cork City, as well as looking back on his time learning the crafts of his trade at current Premier League side Huddersfield Town, whilst also looking ahead to a very positive 2018 in on Leeside.

Having joined Huddersfield Town after completing the Junior Certificate back in 2013, the former Cherry Orchard youngster explained his decision-making process to pack in his footballing adventure across the water and get going on the senior football scene back in Ireland, having excelled at the underage grades over in England.

“Basically, I was playing 23’s football for a while and I just felt that I was playing at that level for just a bit too long. I just turned 20 so I needed to either go out on loan or just come home. I knew that Cork City were interested in me, so I decided to come home, and I think it has been a good move for me to take that next step into men’s football if you know what I mean.”

Asked on whether or not he believes that attitudes from younger Irish players like himself in England are changing towards the League of Ireland, Kane admits that should he have been able to foresee a positive outlook on the League back when he decided to make the move over to Huddersfield he arguably would have stayed at home having seen the successes of both Ryan Delaney and Andy Boyle in the League of Ireland.

“There’s a few young lads here at Cork and I’ve seen a lot of them playing so far. They’ve played a lot more Airtricity League games than me and I’m looking at them with more experience than me even though I’ve been over in England if you get me (at men’s football). It’s a whole different ball game to 23’s football, men’s football is. I wouldn’t be as fussed anymore to go over to England right after the Junior Cert. I don’t regret going over by any means, but I just see there’s a lot more ways now playing in the League of Ireland and then going over when you’re 22 or 23 with the hunger that you’ve never been over there before.”

Kane also added that he always used to look at the way in which all the defenders at Huddersfield Town based their games around and began to use that as a source of inspiration whilst at the Terriers, instead of looking at one certain player the whole time.

I always looked at the defenders when I was at the games over in Huddersfield and I used to be looking at it thinking, what would I do if I was there. Obviously, people moved on a lot of the time when I was there. There wasn’t an awful lot of Irish there to be fair, Joe Murphy was there which was good as he talked to me for a bit. He was there for two or three years and gave me little bits and pieces of advice here and there but that was it really. There was a lot of foreign boys there keeping themselves to themselves.”

However, looking ahead at least, the current Irish Under-21 International believes that he is now only getting used to the pace of the League of Ireland after admitting that he was taken aback by the standard of play since his initial arrival at the club in January.

“Yeah it’s been good so far. I’ve been here one or two months now at this stage and am starting to get used to the pace now and the step-up here. I didn’t realise how good they were when I came, so I’m getting used to it now and hopefully I can break into the team soon enough!”

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After making his Irish Under-21 debut in March of 2017 against Kosovo, Kane looks to that moment as the real moment that stands out to him in his early professional career so far.

“Obviously, I’ve played for Ireland for a bit so that would be the main highlight in my career so far. It’s a big deal for me playing for my country, especially after growing up and watching the senior team, so it would have to be when I made my Under 21 debut for Ireland.”

Asked on how he feels he has adapted to life in the League of Ireland so far, Kane believes that his experience in living away from home prior to his move to Leeside has benefited his cause greatly.

“I’m used to living away from Dublin, so I’m used to that part of it and I just want a taste of first-team football now. 

With Cork City beginning their title defence in blistering fashion so far, Kane really does believe that this City side can replicate their famous double of last season, as well as having a strong showing in the Champions League Qualifiers during the summer months.

“It’s going to be difficult to replicate what they done last year but that’s what we’re aiming for. We’re well capable of doing it! As a team, we are more than able to do the double again and maybe do well in Europe in the first and second stages and let’s see where that can bring us! Personally, I just want to break into the team and make as many appearances as I can this season.”

{ENDS}

Between the Stripes LOI podcast – First Division Special!

Following on from last weeks excellent Premier Division special, 10 guests once again join Kieran & Jon in studio to preview the start of the 2018 SSE Airtricity League First Division. Shane Keegan, Aaron Callaghan, Gareth McCaffery, Kevin McHugh, Stephen Joyce, David O’Sullivan, Conor Keeley, Damien Locke, Daire Doyle & Stephen Henderson all feature. There’s also the usual Premier Division results round-up and plenty of laughs along the way.

Listen below using the embeded Audioboom player or subscribe to the show via Itunes now! Simply search for Between the Stripes LOI podcast. Also available on Mixcloud, Pocketcast and Podcast Republic for all you Android users!

Between the Stripes LOI podcast returns with its biggest season ever!

Not only do League of Ireland fans have the return of the Premier Division to look forward to this week but also this week saw the return of the top ranked Itunes show Between the Stripes LOI podcast. Bringing you a new episode each and every Wednesday throughout the 2018 season, co-hosts Kieran Burke and Jonathan Brier kicked off last nights new season with a bumper Premier Division special.

Featuring ten guests, one from each top-flight club, the Longford duo were joined by mega names from the domestic game such as Sligo Rovers manager Ger Lyttle, Bohemians lethal front-man Dinny Corcoran and new Waterford FC midfielder Gavan Holohan just to name a few.

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Within hours of uploading Series 2, Episode 1 of Between the Stripes LOI podcast the show had smashed the Itunes charts, reaching a joint-record high of sixth position in the Sport & Recreation Itunes podcast charts.

To listen to Series 2, Episode 1 now you can use the Audioboom player embedded below. Finally, to subscribe to Between the Stripes LOI podcast on Itunes follow this link – https://goo.gl/8CweqF

White Smoke Emerges from Athlone Town Stadium as Midlanders finally confirm 2018 squad

Article by @andrewdempsey921.

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After much recent speculation and uncertainty on how Athlone Town could potentially line out on the opening night of the season away to Galway United, we have finally been given an indication into who Aaron Callaghan’s new side may feature following the club’s announcement on their new squad which will compete in the 2018 First Division.

Having open trials in Dublin and Athlone under the stewardship of both Aaron Callaghan and Terry Butler, the 2013 First Division Winners have assembled a squad that they believe is capable of competing in what will be an ultra-competitive First Division this season.

As exclusively revealed by our very own Kieran Burke of Between the Stripes, Athlone recently confirmed the signings of former Longford Town man Aaron Brilly alongside the signing of Irish Under 18 International Darren Kavanagh, but we were left in the dark as to who else may form the Athlone’s new First Team Squad.

News has finally broken, and we now know who will make up the First Team Squad at the League of Ireland’s oldest club for the forthcoming season.

Three Goalkeeping options have been revealed as part of Town’s new squad as Michael Fogarty, Sean O’Donnell and Nathan Murphy have all pledged their commitment to the club for 2018.

The trio are all new additions to the club following the departure of Conor Gleeson to Galway United and the well-documented suspension of Igor Labut’s following a match fixing investigation by the Football Association of Ireland.

Former Longford Town man Aaron Brilly returns to the Athlone Town Stadium alongside Cormac Rafferty in defence while Felix Bape Perez, Dan O’Donovan, Ger Smyth and Bashmil Nyakambili all form the rest of the defensive options. Amazingly Perez was formerly on the books as a youth player at none other than Real Madrid!

In a stacked midfield containing no less than 16 players, including former Longford Town cult-hero Etanda Nkololo and Irish Under 18 international Darren Kavanagh, Callaghan has moved quickly to build a large midfield base to choose from. Another part of the midfield options include Joe Carmody and Ryan Gaffey who both return to the club having come up through the ranks at the Athlone Town Stadium at youth level.

Finally, the attacking trio of George Mukete, Tzee Mustapha, Martin Walshe complete Aaron Callaghan’s squad. Mukete is a former St Patrick’s Athletic Youth Player, while Tzee Mustapha joins after a spell in Northern Ireland with Carrick Rangers, while newcomer Martin Walshe completes the line-up for “Town”.

It will be interesting to see how Athlone Town fare this season in what will be the most competitive First Division in years having endured a nightmare two-year spell in the First Division with fan unrest regarding the running of the club.

To add insult to injury they have come rock bottom in their last two seasons in the First Division, marking a significant fall from grace since their hey-day of 2013 where the Lissywoolen outfit secured Promotion back to the Promised Land of Irish Football.

Athlone Town will look to kick-off their season with a bang, starting off with an away clash against recently relegated Galway United at Eamonn Deacy Park on the 23rd of February with a kick-off time of 7.45pm.

Full Squad List for Athlone Town

Goalkeepers: Michael Fogarty, Sean O’Donnell, Nathan Murphy

Defenders: Aaron Brilly, Felix Bape Perez, Dan O’Donovan, Ger Smyth, Bashmil Nyakambili, Cormac Rafferty.

Midfield: Josh Hogan, Steven Grogan, Brian Carbally, Shane Stokes, Ollie Hamzet, Craig Short, Barry Davies, Darren Kavanagh, Ryan Gaffey, Luke Kelly, Etanda Nkololo, Taigh Keogh, Robbie O’Leary, Eoin Roche, JJ Offorjama, Joe Carmody

Forwards: George Mukete, Tzee Mustapha, Martin Walshe

 

EXCLUSIVE: Brilly returns to Athlone ahead of tonight’s squad announcement

Article by Kieran Burke – @KieranBTS.

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After much speculation and questions from both Athlone and League of Ireland fans in general,  Athlone Town AFC last night revealed to Between the Stripes that manager Aaron Callaghan will reveal his senior squad for the 2018 First Division season tonight (Monday 05/02/18). However, Between the Stripes can exclusively reveal that former Longford Town and Cabinteely defender Aaron Brilly has agreed to return to the club he left for Home Farm last season.

Brilly (21), departed Athlone mid-season with the Midlands club gripped in the midst of a match-fixing scandal involving two of its foreign players, Igors Labuts and Dragos Sfrijan, who were subsequently banned for 12 months each by the FAI in a controversial case. With Athlone glued to the foot of the second tier and Brilly strangely being over looked by then manager Ricardo Monsanto on a consistent basis, the youngster decided to cut ties with the club and soon signed for Dublin based Home Farm.

Despite his tender years, Brilly is already a well traveled player in terms of the number of clubs he has represented. Starting out with Longford Town’s under 19’s in 2012, Brilly’s leadership qualities were evident long before he was named as captain of the underage side whom he would represent proudly until his departure from the club in May 2014. Having impressed Town boss Tony Cousins enough to earn a handful of senior appearances during his time with the club, it was a surprise to many Longford supporters that Brilly was shown the door by the former Galway manager.

A spell with Northern Irish Football League club Newry City was to follow before the Dubliner arrived at Cabinteely in time for their inaugural season in the League of Ireland. Brilly played in ‘’Cabo’s’’ famous opening day win over Wexford Youths and went on to make nineteen appearances for the Stradbrook club that season. Twenty-six appearances were to follow in 2016 before Brilly made the decision to join Athlone in February of last year.

Ahead of Aaron Callaghan’s squad announcement tonight it appears as if Brilly may be joined by two more former Longford Town FC players as Kaleem Simon and Etanda Nkololo both scored for the ‘‘ Blue and Black’’ in a 2-1 pre-season win over Lucan United at the weekend. Simon had only recently been on trial with Premier Division outfit Limerick, while Nkololo was a league winner with Longford in 2014 and starred for Athlone following his summer arrival at the club last season.

Michael O’Connor set for Rovers exit?

Article by Kieran Burke – @KieranBTS

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Finn Harps may be set to land a major coup ahead of the 2018 SSE Airtricity League First Division season following the appearance of Shamrock Rovers striker Michael O’Connor for the Donegal club in a pre-season friendly versus Sligo Rovers last night.

O’Connor was a shock inclusion on Ollie Horgan’s Harps team sheet in Sligo last night as the former Dundalk striker started up front for the First Division promotion hopefuls in a 2-1 defeat.

Give the fact that English League one side Rotherham this morning confirmed that they did indeed have O’Connor over on trial recently and would continue to keep tabs on the striker, the nineteen-year-olds sudden appearance in the Blue and White of Harps has shocked many. Speaking to http://www.thestar.co.uk Rotherham manager Paul Warne confirmed:

“There was interest from us. He (O’Connor) came and trained with us for a few days. He played in a behind-closed-doors game. I didn’t see enough of him in that to offer him a deal.”

“We tried to get him over again to play in our reserves but because of international football law we couldn’t. Regrettably, I just hadn’t seen enough to offer him anything. We can revisit it. of weeks so we can keep an eye on him and see how he gets on. He’s quite a feisty little kid, so I liked him.”

However, O’Connor’s appearance for Harps last night now throws doubt over the Dundalk natives Tallaght future. One suggestion is that O’Connor, who signed from Dundalk last winter, could be farmed out on loan to the First Division club as Rovers look to sign one if not two high-profile players from British football. Not only would this allow O’Connor, who played second fiddle to ex-Longford striker Gary Shaw last season, a chance for more game time but it would allow Rovers to recoup a transfer fee should Rotherham or any other club come calling for O’Connor, who was linked with moves to both Cardiff City and Burnley last season.

O’Connors Shamrock Rovers team-mates are currently in Portugal for the pre-season Atlantic cup competition. Should a deal be struck between the ‘’Hoops’’ and Harps it would see Michael O’Connor reunited with his brother Ciaran, who made the decision to leave Dundalk in the off-season.