Enda Curran on the attack for Longford Town against Shelbourne in the Airtricity League First Division game at Tolka Park on Friday night last. Photo: Syl Healy
Missed opportunities, solid defending and a goal-line clearance were all part of the action as Longford Town started their First Division league campaign with a draw against Shelbourne at Tolka Park on Friday night last.
SSE Airtricity League First Division - Round 1
Shelbourne . . . . 0 Longford Town . . . . 0
Davy O’Sullivan had the best chance in the 39th minute after being played in by Enda Curran but O’Sullivan somehow dragged his shot wide from close range. Two minutes later and the Town had a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock when Shels defender Reece McEnteer was adjudged to have fouled Curran in the box and a penalty was awarded. O’Sullivan stepped up to take the spot-kick but it was well saved by opposing keeper Dean Delany.
Manager Alan Mathews saw the result as a point gained: “We missed a penalty so I would be a bit disappointed with that but our overall performance was quite good. They are very hard to break down.
“Once we started to play and opened up the game we created a few chances. You will take a point on the road along with keeping a clean sheet in our first game.”
Shelbourne started brightly with Adam Evans causing problems down the wing. The Town lost Don Cowan in the 19th minute (through a robust challenge) and in the second half defender Noel Haverty also had to go off injured.
Evans had an effort in the 7th minute but his cross was cut out by Kevin O’Connor. Then Dean Zambra had a shot that was deflected out for a corner in the 24th minute.
Neither side were creating anything of note but as the first half wore on the Town began to come more into the game. O’Sullivan should have opened the scoring in the 39th minute while he had another great chance in the 41st minute but Dean Delany saved his penalty kick.
It was a harsh decision on the Shels defender to concede the penalty but Mathews was not complaining about the decision: “He gave it and we didn’t take it. That was an opportunity that we missed. The players worked really hard. It’s their first game and everyone is up for it at the start of the season.”
In the 59th minute Enda Curran had a great chance for the Town after some good play by Daniel O’Reilly and O’Sullivan but the former Galway player was unlucky to see his shot go wide.
Evans then had a chance tipped over the bar by Town keeper Paul Skinner in the 63rd minute. Shels were beginning to create chances and in the 75th minute almost broke the deadlock.
James English cut inside the Town defence, played the ball into former Town player Lorcan Shannon but his shot was cleared off the line by Daniel O’Reilly.
Mathews was delighted with the clean sheet and how solid his defence were: “We defended really well. Our keeper Paul (Skinner) stepped up while Stephen (Walsh) and Daniel (O’Reilly) played particularly well. As the season goes on we will be better in all aspects.”
Skinner pulled off a save near the end to deny Niall Lanigan as the game ended scoreless. Mathews said: “I am pleased with the point but there is still a lot of work to be done.”
SHELBOURNE: Dean Delany; Adam O’Connor, Derek Prendergast, Reece McEnteer, Jack Tuite; Alan Byrne; Adam Evans, Niall Lanigan, James O’Brien, Lorcan, Shannon; James English.
Sub:- Robert Bayly for J O’Brien (injured, 35 mins).
LONGFORD TOWN: Paul Skinner; Aidan Friel, Noel Haverty, Stephen Walsh, Daniel O’Reilly; Kevin O’Connor, Dean Zambra, Dylan McGlade; Don Cowan, Enda Curran, Davy O’Sullivan.
Subs:- Mark Langtry for Cowan (injured, 19 mins), Rhys Gorman for Haverty (injured, 48 mins).
Referee: Andrew Mullally (Waterford).