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

Longford look to step over Bangor banana skin – Match preview

huddle

Bangor Celtic vs Longford Town FC

By Andrew Dempsey (@AndrewDempsey2)

Longford Town look to build on the momentum of two great victories over both Sligo Rovers and Athlone Town as “De Town” make the trip to Dublin to face Bangor Celtic at the Iveagh Grounds.  Kick-Off is at 7.45PM on Friday night.

With this being the weekend of Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas, many may see this as a less significant clash compared to what is due to take place on Saturday night or the early hours of Sunday morning in McGregor’s boyhood home area. However, both sides will see this as a major opportunity to reach the Quarter-Finals of the FAI Cup which happens to be only 3 wins away from European football!

Speaking about the hammering of local rivals Athlone Town, manager Neale Fenn didn’t want to get too carried away by the great result after speaking with theleagueofireland.com

Fenn said; “It was a strange game. Yes we were delighted to win and score 7 goals, but there were still aspects of it where I thought we could improve.”

“We could have pressed them more and kept possession better but overall we have to be happy with the performance.”

These comments must surely wet the appetite of all Longford Town supporters as Fenn looks to elevate standards within the first team, and hopefully spark a run of form that should raise supporter expectations for next season in what will be an ultra-competitive first division.

However, Fenn is wary of complacency after two big wins by saying;

“Confidence is high at the moment after the last 2 results but we can’t let complacency set in, we have a big FAI Cup game this Friday and still want to finish as high as possible in the league.” You can read the full article here.

As for Bangor Celtic, they are a Leinster Senior League outfit and recently defeated fellow non league side Everton (Not the English Club!!!) of the Munster Senior League (MSL). The Crumlin based outfit went 2-0 down to their MSL counterparts before embarking on a fantastic 10 minute comeback which saw them progress.

If there is anything that you can draw from this it is that they certainly don’t lack character which will surely make for an intriguing match-up in the FAI Cup second round.

Bangor can also count on a former Town player in goalkeeper Stephen Conlon. “Congo” as he has always been known by played for “De Town” during 2010 and 2011 making 16 appearances for the club. Conlon also said hello to Between the Stripes LOI podcast giving his thoughts ahead of the game. You can take a listen to our podcast on iTunes, Mixcloud, pocketcasts, Podcast Republic and/or audioBoom.

Paddy Power have Longford Town as clear favorites at 8/13 with Bangor Celtic out at 4/1. On paper at least you would have to imagine that the Midlanders will have too much for Bangor but with the winner being decided on the night, the underdogs may have their day as we saw in the last round when Fenn’s charges scored twice in injury time to dump out a hapless Sligo Rovers team.

Prediction: Bangor Celtic 1-3 Longford Town

Between the Stripes LOI podcast now available on Itunes, Audioboom, Pocketcast and Podcast Republic!

Last weeks saw the Between the Stripes team celebrate a landmark 10th episode of Between the Stripes LOI podcast with Major League Soccer referee Alan Kelly the star guest. However, episode 11 was the beginning of a new era for the #BTS team as the show was publised on Itunes for the very first time. For all Between the Stripes Android users, you can access the podcast on both the Pocketcast and Podcast Republic applications. If that wasn’t enough, the podcast is also available on Audioboom and Mixcloud, meaning there are more ways than ever to catch the show!

As for this weeks show, following Saturday’s 7-1 demolition job on local rivals Athlone Town, Burke & Brier discuss the crisis at Lissywoolen, while hat-trick hero and club legend David O’Sullivan joins the lads to talk records. There’s a full review of the weekends action from both divisions as Dundalk FM’s Ciaran Callan joins the show, while Bangor Celtic ‘keeper Stephen Conlon is also a special guest on episode 11.

Below are our Audioboom and Mixcloud players, allowing you to listen to the show immediately. If you’d prefer to listen or download the show on Itunes, click the following link and be sure to not only subscribe to the show but to leave us a five-star review – https://itunes.apple.com/ie/podcast/between-the-stripes-loi-podcast-episode-11/id1274112407?i=1000391392342&mt=2 

 

Episode 10 of Between the Stripes LOI podcast

It’s our landmark 10th episode and to mark it Burke & Brier are joined by three huge names…Former LOI referee and current MLS official Alan Kelly, Longford Town manager Neale Fenn and in form Finn Harps winger Caolan McAleer. Listen, like & share!

Prunty & Cronin call for local support ahead of Sligo tie

Speaking exclusively to Between the Stripes founder Kieran Burke earlier today, Longford Town legend Sean Prunty and current assistant manager Gary Cronin called on the people of Longford to get behind the team this Saturday night when Premier Division strugglers Sligo Rovers visit the City Calling Stadium.

First to speak with Burke was 2003 & 2004 cup winner Sean Prunty, who spoke on his up and down relationship with Alan Mathews, the importance of strong local support and the emergence of young talent at the club.

Finally, assistant manager Gary Cronin followed up Prunty’s calls for a big home crowd on Saturday, particularly a big turn out from “Section O”.

Ends.

Between the Stripes LOI podcast episode 9

In form Bohemians striker, Dinny Corcoran joins the lads on this weeks show as does Portmarnock manager Willie O’Leary. Limerick reporter, Mike Ahern is also on the line to talk relegation worries at Markets Fields, while Burke and Brier talk all the latest transfers, news, results and fixtures in the wonderful world of LOI!