Longford Town manager Daire Doyle believes promotion can still be achieved

Away to UCD in the First Division play-off semi-final this Saturday, kick-off 3pm

airtricity league first division

Longford Town FC manager Daire Doyle Picture: Syl Healy

Longford Town manager Daire Doyle was remarkably candid when talking about where his side finished in the First Division league table after a dramatic final series of games on Tuesday night.

Despite a defeat away to Wexford in the final First Division game of the season, Longford Town finished fourth and secured a play-off spot away to UCD this Saturday, kick-off 3pm. 

Doyle said: “We finished fourth; you always finish where you deserve to finish. We obviously deserved to finish fourth. Drogheda deserved to finish first, you’ve got to hand it to them. They were the most consistent team, the best team over the year.”

Longford had made a great start to the season with two wins (the second success away to eventual champions Drogheda United) but were then hit by the Covid lockdown like all the other sports organisations. The Town were generally inconsistent when the league resumed at the end of July and slipped from title challengers to pushing for a play-off spot. 

The Town boss said: “The consistency and performances have let us down this year. That has been the problem and that’s why we finished fourth. We are in the play-offs now. Whether we had won the game against Wexford on Tuesday night or not we would still be playing UCD.”

Speaking about the UCD game, it’s a one off game and Doyle stated his side know what’s required from them. “We know what’s needed. In play-off games anything can happen and you need to be ready. We have a chance and we got to grab it with both hands and make the most of it.”

With the country in Level 5 of Covid restrictions, so much has been made about ‘elite sport’ being allowed to continue. Doyle is glad to have sport and said that the club follows strict protocols.

 “We have our Covid Officer (Willie Conlon) at every training session and Aisling (Conway) at the ground. We are very strict with that. If they arrive in cars they have to wear masks, temperature taken straight away and sanitise their hands. We are following everything with regards to the restrictions. ”

Longford Town were missing five players for the Wexford game but should have most back for Saturday’s make or break match.

 “Aodh Dervin and Mick McDonnell are back from suspension. Shane Elworthy is 50/50, Dean Byrne needed to be monitored due to his ankle being sore. We are hopeful he can take part in training and make himself available to the squad for the game against UCD,” said the Town manager. 

At the start of the season, Doyle said the aim was for the club to get promoted. Although they didn’t seal automatic promotion they still have a chance to play in the Premier Division next season. The journey continues at the UCD Bowl this Saturday.

 “I’m really looking forward to the game on Saturday. If we can get a result it will be brilliant. That’s what we really want for the club. It was our goal and aim at the start of the season to gain promotion; I felt we had the players to do the job. The inconsistencies let us down but our aim is still there; it’s just through a different route,” concluded the Longford Town manager. 

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