Just forty-eight-hours on from “De Town’s” opening pre-season fixture at home to Limerick, a game which ended in a two all draw, Tony Cousins must ready his charges for a trip to the Capital where a first ever meeting with Cabinteely awaits. Despite only joining the League of Ireland last season, there are already a couple of links between tonight’s opponents with former Town players Aaron Brilly and Victor Enkanem on the books of “Cabo”, although the later will miss out on a reunion with his old side tonight due to injury. As for the visitors, Longford Town also boast a former Cabinteely man with John McKeown having signed from the First Division club during the summer. However, having missed Wednesday’s game against Limerick his status for tonight is unknown as of yet.
Having only played one pre-season game each so far, tonight’s opponents should be on a similar footing in terms of preparation and fitness levels although Longford’s Premier status may give them the edge. That higher league ranking counted for little in Cabinteely’s opening pre-season fixture however, as the First Division side raced into a 3-0 lead over Keith Long’s Bohemians before a debut Kurtis Byrne hat-trick saw the game end with a six goal share.
Given the short turn around between fixtures, a number of changes can be expected from Tony Cousins at the home of Wayside Celtic, where tonight’s game is being played. Goalkeeper Ian Molloy played his first forty-five minutes in a Longford Town shirt on Wednesday night and the former Leeds United youth may now be set to make his full debut should “TC” decide to rotate between the sticks. Last season’s young player of the year, Rhys Gorman failed to start the Limerick friendly so he may slot in alongside Keith Byrne or Mark Rossiter from the get go tonight while Dan O’Reilly may replace captain Conor Powell at left back.
Expecting Cousins to continue with his new 4-3-3 formation, which has seen the pitch at City Calling Stadium narrowed once again this year, it will be interesting to see if John McKeown is available for selection against his former club. Phillip Gannon was an extremely impressive performer midweek from the bench and he will be expected to start tonight’s game while Kealan Dillon should have plenty in the tank to start back to back games for his new club.
Up front, the pacey trio of O’Sullivan, O’Hanlon and Duffy linked up wonderfully well against Limerick with former Wayside man O’Sullivan grabbing the opening goal on the night thanks to the first of two Duffy assists. Having limped off against the Munster side, Josh O’Hanlon in unlikely to be risked at all tonight with underage prospects such as Karl Chambers likely to get the nod. Kaleem Simon can also expect to start as he was one of the more senior players on a very youthful bench during the week.
Once again tonight’s game is all about managing fitness levels, building confidence and blooding youth players for Tony Cousins Longford with a trip to Cobh on the cards next weekend shortly followed by a first competitive game of the season when Dublin team Drumcondra visit “CCS” in the 4th round of the Leinster Senior Cup.
Cabinteely: Victor Enkanem misses out through injury.
Longford Town: Peter McGlynn misses out through injury, while Josh O’Hanlon is unlikely to be risked following a knock midweek.