Aodh Dervin says Longford Town FC won't be lacking in motivation ahead of their 2021 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division opener against Derry City Picture: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Aodh Dervin never made it a secret that he wanted to play in the Premier Division and become a professional footballer.
He is able to fulfil the first part of his dream on Saturday evening when Longford Town take on Derry City in their first game of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division season.
Also read: Longford Town manager Daire Doyle keen to prove the doubters wrong
From Town mascot to Premier Division footballer, Dervin is delighted he is playing in the Premier with his local club.
“It’s a bit special. Going to games when Longford Town were in the Premier Division and the atmosphere and stuff like that. It wasn’t just out at the ground but there was a buzz around the town. Now being part of the team that got the club back into the Premier Division, it’s a bit special.”
Dervin admitted that watching Town play in the Premier Division as a youngster really whetted his appetite. It gave him something to aim for. “I dreamt it. When you are going to those games and seeing the likes of Sean Prunty, Eric Lavine and Alan Kirby. Over the years I got more serious in terms of playing football. It was a driving factor - being determined to play in the Premier.”
The midfielder attracted the attention of other clubs over the last two seasons but the opportunity to play in the Premier Division with his own club was one he couldn’t pass up. “There were obviously talks but I spoke to John (Martin) and Daire (Doyle). They reminded me where the club is and what is happening. It’s no secret I want to be a footballer; a full-time one, professional one. I didn’t think this year was the right time to leave. It was very flattering but I didn’t think this year was the time to leave Longford.”
Looking back on last season and how Town saved their best football until last when they defeated UCD, Galway Utd and then Shelbourne in the play-off to gain promotion, Dervin said:
“I ended the season well. Maybe the whole team last year, we weren’t consistent enough. In the play-offs we really had a good think about things. How special it was to win the play-offs. We showed that we can win games ugly. I think we all knew we had that. You could see it in us in the play-offs. The heart we showed.”
Town are most people’s favourites to get relegated but Dervin believes that will give the players motivation.
“People are going to look down on us, try and write us off. We’ll remember all these little comments at the end of the year when we shock everyone. That’s our motivation. It’s pretty normal that the team that goes up is favourites to go back down and are underdogs,” he said.
Derry City are Town’s opponents on Saturday evening at Bishopsgate. Although no supporters can attend games yet Dervin is delighted it’s a home game.
“It’s nice to get the first game at home and not have to travel. We know the place and know what the pitch is like. We can use that to our advantage and I think we will use every advantage we can get.”
This season is going to be a big one in more ways than one for Aodh Dervin. He said, “I want to see where I can go this year.
I’m overage for the 21s, which is disappointing I didn’t make it. I want to have a really good season this year. Full-time football is the goal for me. I’ve put in the work and I’m committed to it. That’s the goal, have a good year and see where it takes me.”