Result needed as slow starting Bohs meet struggling Longford

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Four points plays four points on Friday night at Dalymount Par,  as slow starters Bohemians and Longford Town clash at the Dublin venue (kick-off 7:45PM). It’s been a total contrast to last season for both of these sides, who finished fifth and sixth respectively in 2015, with leaky defences and a lack of goals sinking both “Bohs” and Town towards the bottom end of the table. Continue reading

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Between the Stripes charity betting column

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The people of Longford show their support for St. Christopher’s at a protest march in 2014.

After a week putting our feet up, the ‘Between the Stripes’ charity betting column returns in the hope of bouncing back from a losing selection last time out. Despite our failure to add to the kitty last time out, our current charity pot stands at an impressive  €165 with all proceeds going to St.Christopher’s services in Longford. Without further ado, here is this weekends selections:

FOURFOLD: Dundalk (3/10), UCD AFC (4/9), Cobh Ramblers (2/1) and Cork City (8/13). €11 returns €100. 

Reasoning: 

Dundalk V Derry City – Coming in off the back of a hugely impressive 4-0 away victory over a fancied St.Pat’s side, Stephen Kenny’s “Lillywhites” will be looking to put a dent in another in-form side as second placed Derry come to town. Following a disappointing derby defeat to Harps on the opening day, Kenny Shiels “Candystripes” have found their rhythm with four league wins in a row, meaning a win here would see them go top. However, the home side have been scoring goals for fun so far this season and if on top form as they were against the “Saints”, you can expect the back to back defending champions to collect another three points here. (David McMillan anytime goalscorer @13/10) 

UCD AFC V Athlone Town – It’s been a disappointing start to 2016 for promotion hopefuls UCD, but following last week’s impressive 2-0 win over Cobh Ramblers, the “Students” do occupy an early play-off position in the First Division and will be expected to close the gap on second place Waterford with a win over a poor Athlone Town side. Due to floodlight failure at a recent home game, something becoming far too regular within domestic football of late, this will only mark Athlone’s fourth league tie of the season, but even with that the “Midlanders” sit bottom of the second tier with just one point on the board. With both these sides taking up positions similar to where many have predicted they will finish, it is a clear home win selection in this one. (UCD to score 2 goals or more @1/2) 

Waterford United V Cobh Ramblers – Despite all the off-field drama surrounding “Blues” boss Roddy Collins, the RSC based side have recovered quickly from a dreadful start to the season by winning their last two games and in turn take up a surprising second place in the league standings. Expected defeats to title favorites Limerick FC and UCD AFC  aside, it’s been a steady start for Stephen Henderson’s “Rams” and they will be looking at this game as an opportunity to lay down a signal of their intent this season. Away win. (Cobh Ramblers to win 2-1 @10/1)

Sligo Rovers V Cork City – Without a win from five league matches, it’s been a truly disastrous start to the Dave Roberston era at the Showgrounds. With a raft of English based players signing during the off-season, some were tipping the “Bit o’Red” to perhaps push for a European place this year, but instead it’s another relegation scrap for the former Champions. Cork City on the other hand are still on a high from their win over the reigning champions and side they have finished second best to for the past two seasons in Dundalk. A six nil win prior to that over none other than Longford Town, shows the goal threat in a Cork team that has failed to score more than one goal in a game just twice this season. Given Sligo’s real relegation worries, City are the last side they would want to be playing right now and that leaves us with no other option than to tip an away win. (Sean Maguire first goalscorer @4/1

 

Results of recent survey on CCS experience released

For those of you who may have missed it, following the disappointing home attendances at City Calling Stadium of late, the team here at ‘Between the Stripes’ decided to publish an online survey in an attempt to seek the reasons why people are staying away from the fine facilities on the Strokestown Road, and more importantly what can be done or changed to make the experience of home match-days more enjoyable for everyone. Continue reading

Charity betting column – Week 3

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The people of Longford show their support for St. Christopher’s at a protest march in 2014.

Having taken a rain check on Monday’s Premier Division fixtures, the ‘Between the Stripes’ charity betting column looks to continue it’s undefeated streak and build on the charity pot of €170 to date. For those of you unaware of our goals, it’s all about raising money for St.Christopher’s and full details on our charity drive are available here – https://betweenthestripesblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/between-the-stripes-charity-betting-column/ 

Without further ado, here are this weekends selection:

FOURFOLD: Limerick FC -1 (@5/6), UCD AFC -1 (@7/5), Shelbourne (@8/15) and Bohemians (@4/5). €5 returns €60.

Reasoning: 

Limerick FC V Cobh Ramblers – Nine goals scored in the opening two league games of the season, Limerick FC look set to conquer the First Division in 2016 and despite Cobh making a solid start with four points from a possible six, it’s difficult to see how Stephen Henderson’s men will be able to contain the in form Aaron Greene, who is even money to get on the scoresheet in a Limerick win.

UCD AFC V Waterford United – The “Students” got off the mark last time out with a hard fought derby day win over Cabinteely and while the opening day draw with Drogheda points to good form for Waterford, Roddy Collin’s men may be feeling fragile at the back following their 5-2 defeat at home to Limerick last time out. With promotion hopes this season, expect UCD to lay down a marker with an impressive win here.

Shelbourne V Cabinteely – An unexpected rest week was in store for “Shels” after their game with Athlone was called off due to floodlight failure last week. The “Reds” lost their opening game at home to Cobh and while “Cabo” won their first game at home to Athlone, they fell to UCD last weekend and Kevin Doherty will be targeting this Dublin derby as an opportunity to kickstart Shelbourne’s campaign.

Bohemians V Wexford Youths – Having beaten Sligo on home soil in week two, Bohemians will have been left extremely disappointed with their performance in a Dublin derby defeat against St.Pat’s on Monday, while despite also losing, Wexford deserved something in a fantastic display against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght last week. On Monday night, Keegan’s men almost snatched a draw against Champions Dundalk, only for a late late goal to undo their excellent work. Three games in a week may take it’s toll on a team new to this level, so we opt for a tight home win. (1-0 Bohemians @11/2)  

Classy Fagan downs battling Longford

A battling display from ten man Longford proved not to be enough on Friday night, as a 65th minute Christy Fagan strike separated two evenly matched teams at the City Calling Stadium.

The Midlands outfit started the game with the same starting eleven that claimed an opening day 2-0 triumph in Wexford one week ago, while Liam Buckley’s ”Saints” saw one change from the 3-1 loss to Galway. It was the midfield area where many expected this game to be won and lost and early on it was the hosts who won the battle. Kevin O’Connor in particular was dominating proceedings with some tough tackling and classy passing with Kealon Dillon also a key cog in the Longford wheel.

However, it was the visitors who created the first real opening as David O’Sullivan was caught napping with Pats full back Ian Bermingham latching onto a wonderful cross field ball prior to hammering a ferocious volley only a coupe of yards past Paul Skinner’s far post.

From the get go, the home fans were on the referees back as Jim McKell failed to penalise what looked to be obvious shirt pulling and pushes by St.Pat’s players. It was the inconsistent of the man in the middle however, that upset the small crowd at ”CCS” more than anything and his harsh booking of Town captain Conor Powell early on would soon prove fatal. With only seven minutes remaining before the break, Powell had a moment of madness as he lunged in on Conan Byrne, who at the time appeared to be going no where of significance, and as a result McKell had no option but to produce a second yellow card.

Even when on top, Longford appeared slightly deep at times in this home tie and the red card for Powell pretty much ended any chance of a goal on the night for Town. Having gone close from set pieces twice in the opening forty-five minutes, this route would now prove to be Cousins side most likely route into the game. Noel Haverty in particular was unlucky to see his shot turned away from the goal mouth in the opening period as the defender looked for his second goal in a week, following his Leinster Senior Cup effort over Drumcondra on Monday night.

Half-time saw key man, Kevin O’Connor replaced by full-back Dan O’Reilly as Longford looked to plug the gaps left by Powell’s sending off. As expected the Dublin club were now dominating the ball but it was all in front of the Longford banks of defence with a stalemate starting to look likely.

However, the break through was just around the corner as Longford failed to clear their lines prior to the ball falling to Fagan in the penalty area, with the 2014 PFAI player of the year making no mistake by volleying the ball to the back of the net. Longford fans appealed for an apparent push in the back on one of the centre-backs but referee McKell was having none of it as the ”Saints” grabbed a vital lead.

While the winning side had a couple of long range chances soon after, which were well dealt with by Town ‘keeper Paul Skinner, it was Longford who ended the game the stronger as first a long range David O’Sullivan half-volley was turned behind for a corner before Pats number one Brendan Clarke plucked the ball from the air as Paul Skinner attempted to get his head on it and play the role of goal scoring goalkeeper!

The final whistle signalled massive relief for the traveling ”Saints” fans who made excellent noise throughout the occasion, while the home fans trickled out largely disappointed at the fact their team had come up short in an attempt for a points return. The positive for Tony Cousins disappointed players is they will only have to wait a couple of days now to set the record straight with a trip to Cork City on the cards, elsewhere a couple of Dublin derbies may prove difficult fair for a below par St.Pat’s so far this season.

BETWEEN THE STRIPES MAN OF THE MATCH: Christy Fagan (St.Pat’s) – The away sides number nine is regarded as one of the best in the league and his lively play all night was a joy to watch. Took his goal wonderfully well too.

OFFICIAL ATTENDANCE: 725 (Away fans est. 150)

Between the Stripes charity betting column – Week 2

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The people of Longford show their support for St. Christopher’s at a protest march in 2014.

After a dream start to our charity betting column on the opening weekend of the season, we head into game-week 2 with €55 in the charity profit pot and hope to add to that with a high-odds accumulator this time round. Continue reading

Can Longford make it three wins in a week?

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Two wins in the space of three days was the ideal start to competitive action in 2016 for Longford Town boss Tony Cousins, and on Friday night the former Shamrock Rovers striker will be hoping to make it a treble with a victory over Dublin side St.Patrick’s Athletic. Continue reading