When Longford Town’s players take to the field at City Calling Stadium tomorrow evening in their must-win promotion play-off clash against Mervue United, they will be greeted by the familiar roar of “c’mon de Town!” from the stands as the local supporters get behind their team. And none are more dedicated to the cause than the boisterous bunch of hardy souls in Section O.
The hardcore fans are an ever-present fixture at Longford Town matches, pitching up in the area of City Calling Stadium that lends the group its name, and in the away sections of football grounds right across the country.
“We set ourselves up back in 2001 during the Town’s second season in the Premier Division,” explains Section O’s Martin Stapleton, recalling the formation of the group. “A lot of us would have been watching games from that part of the grounds even before the stands were built, so when it was upgraded and our patch was designated ‘Section O’, we decided to call ourselves after it.”
In the 12 years since then, Section O have always made the journey to cheer on Longford Town, no matter how far they have to travel. “Members of Section O have travelled as far as Wales, Lichtenstein and Bulgaria to cheer on the team,” Martin says. “Travelling to away games is part of what it’s all about, and we all enjoy the banter on the bus to the matches.”
Wherever they are, Section O ensure they make themselves heard, leading the singing and chanting amongst the Longford Town supporters with tunes such as ‘Stand Up If You’re Longford Town’, ‘Red and Black Army’, and ‘You’ll Never Walk in Athlone’. All of which are sure to be heard at City Calling Stadium tomorrow night.
Looking ahead to the crunch tie with Mervue, Martin offered his own thoughts of the situation facing Longford Town.
“I was disappointed after the game on Friday, especially with the sending-off,” he admits. “But I’m more optimistic now after hearing the radio interview with Tony Cousins, and looking back at how we were able to keep the score at 0-1 with 10 men on the field.”
Martin adds one final statistic which should provide further cause for optimism: “Our home record is a lot better than our away record this season and the Town have won all their home games in the last round of fixtures.”
Longford Town supporters wait with bated breath and hope that record is extended tomorrow night.