Longford Town confront Cobh Ramblers in first home game of the season

Donald Keogh

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Donald Keogh

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newsroom@longfordleader.ie

Longford Town confront Cobh Ramblers in first home game of the season

Davy O'Sullivan pictured in action for Longford Town against Shelbourne in the Airtricity League First Division Round 1 game at Tolka Park on Friday night last. Photo: Syl Healy

On this Saturday night Stephen Henderson and his new look Cobh Ramblers team come to City Calling Stadium to take on Longford Town in the first home game of the season for manager Alan Mathews and his squad, kick-off 7.30pm.

 

SSE Airtricity League First Division - Round 2

Last season the Town went through the entire Premier Division league without winning a home game and there is no doubt that Alan will try and rectify the situation in next Saturday's game against one of the surprise packets from last season's First Division.

Henderson is one of the shrewdest managers in the Division and has done a marvellous job for the Cork side on limited resources. Last season Limerick were the best team in the league by a mile but the fight for the play-off spot was very exciting with Drogheda United and Cobh fighting it out for the chance to play Wexford for the final position in this year's Premier Division.

In the end Cobh were so unlucky not to get into that play-off spot but unfortunately the decision this year is a disgrace and a big embarrassment to the soccer public as only the top team have anything to play for this season. The decision takers up in Abbotstown have a lot to answer for and hopefully it will eventually come back to haunt them.

The bookies have the new look Waterford FC club favourites to go up but they may change their attitude after Athlone's marvellous result at Lissywollen on Friday night last. With Athlone and UCD topping the table on three points each and Waterford currently bottom of the table it gives the other teams in the Division something to play for.

Cobh have one very familiar face in their squad and that man is Paul Hunt who is one of the best keepers in the League. Paul played for the Town for a few years and he was one of the most popular players ever to wear a Town jersey and I know that he will be looking forward to coming back to City Calling Stadium.

Paul was one of the main reasons that his new club Cobh had done so well in last year's league campaign and it will be hard for the Town's players to get the ball past him on Saturday.. I know that the Town faithful will give Paul a real Longford welcome  as we always do to former players and managers.

On Saturday evening last Cobh hosted another new club Wexford FC at St Colman's Park and the first southern derby ended all square and by all accounts was a very good game. I said another new club as both Waterford and Wexford both changed the names of their clubs and the personnel running them to get a license to play in the League this season.

Saturday's game was a real end to end game with both teams trying to play attractive attacking football. The first half ended scoreless despite many goalscoring  chances but both defences were in very good form. The home side took the lead in the 52nd minute when former Ringmahon Rangers player Dean Swords put his new club in front. Despite dominating for long periods the home side couldn't add to their slender lead. With the game almost over former Town player Lee Duffy scored the equaliser for Wexford in the 89th minute.

Cobh manager Henderson was very annoyed over the equaliser as his captain Chris McCarthy was injured and one of the players put the ball out of play. The Wexford players didn't return the ball to Cobh and they carried on playing and the ball was crossed and Duffy scored. This incident caused a bit of hassle but the goal stood and the new Wexford management were very pleased with the result despite that poor sportsmanship.

Cobh are working with most of last season's squad but they had two ex Limerick players in their starting eleven on Saturday. Shane Lowth and Ross Mann have joined the club from promoted Limerick and they seem to have settled in well but Longford Town have a stronger squad and will be expected to collect all three points on Saturday night.