PREVIEW: Longford Town V UCD AFC

Longford Town vs UCD Preview by @AndrewDempsey2

Longford Town welcome 3rd placed UCD to the CCS in the Red and Blacks penultimate home game of the 2017 First Division season. Kick-off is at the usual time of 7.30pm at the Strokestown Road venue on Saturday Evening.

UCD head into this game on the back of having no game last week as the FAI Cup Quarter-Finals took centre stage, with Cork City, Dundalk, Limerick and Shamrock Rovers all progressing through to the Semi-Finals of the historic cup competition. In the Students previous competitive game, they were one goal victors over Wexford FC at the UCD Bowl.
As for Neale Fenn’s men, the Red and Black will look to put last week’s FAI Cup defeat to Cork City behind them, hoping to heap the pressure on “College” in 3rd place as a vastly improved showing has seen De Town creep up the First Division table up to 4th place, overtaking Cabinteely in their last league game.

Apart from third place being on the line in this clash, there isn’t much else to play for both sides which is a direct result of the FAIs radical restructuring plans of the League of Ireland. This is a shame as third place could have secured a playoff spot for both sides, which in turn may have brought a strong crowd out to the CCS for a potential humdinger of a tie.
For the neutral observer at least, the game could be a very exciting contest as both sides both like to play a very expansive brand of football, with possession being key for both outfits.

Also, last time the pair met, Town were very unlucky not to leave Dublin with all three points as the midlands club wasting a plethora of chances in a very entertaining 0-0 stalemate.

Since Fenn’s arrival to the midlands, there has generally been no shortage of goals on display, both for and against, with a total of 33 goals hitting the back of the net in 11 games. For any of you interested in average goals per game, that’s 3 goals per game.
Longford’s last home league victory came over local rivals Athlone Town with a 7-1 drubbing of their midlands neighbours. On the other hand, UCDs last victory away was in Athlone as they swatted aside the challenge of the now basement club with a 2-0 victory.

In team news for “De Town”, captain and influential leader Kevin O’Connor remains unavailable with an injury. Goalkeeper Paul Skinner is expected to be back in contention after suffering with an injury in recent weeks but of course the former Shelbourne keeper now looks firmly set as Longford’s number two due to Jack Brady’s incredible form. Both Collie O’Neill and Neale Fenn will have the luxury of having to deal with no players on the suspension list.

As far as a prediction goes, I would have to give the nod to Longford Town in this clash as UCD have had a fairly poor run recently away from home. With their last win coming away in May, you would have to think that they may be suffering from a lack of confidence away from the UCD Bowl.

PREDICTION: Longford Town 2-1 UCD – You can also listen to our preview of all the other clashes in both the First and Premier Division on our Podcast that is available on iTunes, Audioboom and Mixcloud . Also making an appearance on the show was Longford Town Goalkeeper Jack Brady, Dundalk defender Brian Gartland and Cobh’s Paul Hunt alongside Waterford FC and Republic of Ireland fan interviews.

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Longford looking to overcome cup holders and advance to last four!

huddleLongford Town vs Cork City Preview by @AndrewDempsey2 (Photo credit – Cathal McGuinness)

Neale Fenn welcomes his former employer to the City Calling Stadium as Longford Town look to live up to their cup specialists tag in attempting to dump an all-conquering and reigning cup holders Cork City side out of the FAI Cup. If this were to happen it would surely be one of the stand-out results in the FAI Cup this season and maybe even recent years.

In the previous round of the cup, Longford Town edged their way past a very brave and battling Bangor Celtic side at the Iveagh Grounds in Dublin with a 1-0 success with Jack Brady or “Stephen Conlon” (cough*** Brian Kerr ***cough) making an incredible save to keep Town in the lead. Don Cowan scored the winner in a game that should have been over by half time with Fenn’s charges wasting a plethora of chances before the interval.

On the other hand, The Rebel Army strolled past the Red and Black’s midlands rivals at Turners Cross with a 7-0 crushing of Roddy Collins Athlone Town. Former Sligo Rovers men, Kieran Sadlier and Achille Campion scored both the first and last goals to round off a very easy win for City. Conor Ellis scored a brace in this hammering also.

Speaking ahead of the game with theleagueofireland.com, Town Boss Neale Fenn has called on the Longford Town support to get out and roar his side over the line and support his charges in what is the clubs biggest game of the season to date.

“We are expecting the biggest crowd of the season for this one so the players can’t wait to get going and hopefully the crowd will keep us going like they did in the game against Sligo, they were fantastic that night and have been ever since.”

Also, Fenn has made no secret that he will tell his starting eleven to take the game to City and will not direct them to park the bus by any means.

“We will respect Cork City as Cup holders and Premier Division leaders but we certainly won’t be parking the bus!”

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Cork defender Robbie Williams (No… not the lad from Take That) has said that he is looking forward to putting last week’s disappointment away to Shamrock Rovers to bed at the City Calling Stadium

He said; “We had an off night at Shamrock (Rovers), well put it to one side and well go to Longford full of confidence and hopefully get the right result, then the Shamrock (Rovers) game is forgotten about”

On the team news front for Longford Town, influential captain and midfielder Kevin O’Connor misses out alongside both Paul Skinner and summer transfer arrival Alan Kehoe. There is nobody on the suspension list for the midlands club.

As for the visitors, Johnny Dunleavy and Alec Byrne are expected to be unavailable as the pair are on the long-term absentee list down at “The Cross”. John Caulfield will have the luxury of having no player serving a suspension at the City Calling on Saturday night, similar to Neale Fenn’s outfit.

If a draw were to happen, the replay would take place at Turners Cross on Tuesday night at 7.45pm
Now, prediction time. After glancing through Paddy Powers betting odds for the game they have “De Town” out at 12/1 while Cork are sure-fire favourites at 2/9. My heart would obviously go for the “cupset” and to be perfectly honest, I can see one here.
Longford Town are playing a fantastic brand of football and Cork City have looked a shadow of their previous scintillating selves without Maguire and O’Connor on Leeside. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Cork put on a clinic to show up their critics either.

Recent form and results suggest that the “Red and Black”, with 4 wins on the bounce could spring a surprise result here and with Cork looking not as invincible as before, losing two league games out of the previous three, anything can happen.

At the end of the day, it’s a cup game and Town are playing with a newfound belief and confidence which has renewed hope in the midlands after a dark 18 months. If Fenn can get his players to match, or even surpass the performances from the Sligo game, they could have a chance here.

Prediction: Longford Town 2-2 Cork City

Kaleem Simon signs back as Town look to topple Shels

IMG_8832 (1)Longford Town vs Shelbourne Preview by Andrew Dempsey (@AndrewDempsey2)

Shelbourne make the trip to face Longford Town in the SSE Airtricity League First Division at the City Calling Stadium (Kick-Off at 7.30pm).  Continue reading

Between the Stripes charity fantasy football league launched!

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Check out the Attic House Facebook page here –https://www.facebook.com/attichouselongford/

Off the back of last seasons hugely successful and ultra competitive Between the Stripes fantasy football league, the competitiveness is set to increase ten-fold with our newly launched charity league! This pay to play league will see prize money on offer with the remainder of the proceeds split between a local charity and the upkeep of this very website and our LOI podcast (check it out on http://www.mixcloud.com/BetweenTheStripes).

The entry fee for the Between the Stripes charity league is €10 and this years chosen charity is the Attic youth cafe in Longford Town. For anyone who is unaware of what the Attic do, The Attic House Teen Project provides a safe environment for young people to meet where they are encouraged to engage in constructive, developmental activities leading to their own personal development and enabling them to involve themselves consciously in their own community. Unbelievably, they receive no government funding so it is our aim at ‘Between the Stripes’ to not only raise some funds for the Attic Youth Cafe but to increase awareness of the amazing work they do for the youth of both Longford Town and the entire county.

To enter the Between the Stripes charity fantasy football league simply email betweenthestripes1924@gmail.com where you will be given details on how to pay the entry fee via PayPal and once complete you will be given the entry-code.

We appreciate any and all support.

Kind regards,

The Between the Stripes team.

Town announce Verdon & Finnegan arrivals following 1-0 defeat to “Blues”

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Just minutes after Longford Town’s 1-0 home defeat to Waterford FC at City Calling Stadium on Saturday night, the Midlands club announced the double signings of defender, Paul Finnegan and central midfield player, Sam Verdon.  Continue reading

Cabinteely complete shock signing of striker Swan

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Image via http://loi.cabinteelyfc.ie

First Division side, Cabinteely have today announced something of a coup with the signing of former UCD goal hero, Ryan Swan. The twenty-one-year old striker arrives following an unsuccessful spell in English football with Exeter City. In fact, Swan failed to make a single first team appearance for the “Grecians”, who he signed for following a now famous run of three goals in four European games for the “College”.  Continue reading

Jordi Balk becomes a “Saint”

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Image via @FCOSS_09

Struggling St.Patrick’s Athletic have today completed a third high-profile signing of the week, with Dutch defender, Jordi Balk joining the Dublin club. Sitting second bottom in the top-flight, ahead of Sunday’s visit of run-away league leaders and European progressives, Cork City, the “Saints” recently held an emergency meeting Continue reading