Longford Town star Joe Manley delighted club 'are back where they should be'
When Joe Manley signed for Longford Town ahead of the 2019 season, his ambition was to help the club get promoted.
Town lost out on a penalty shoot-out in the play-offs to Cabinteely that year but last season they went one better.
Manley’s brother Rob, a prolific goalscorer, signed for the club last season, on the advice of Joe and it was Rob’s goal that saw Town defeat Shelbourne in the promotion/relegation play off final.
Joe admitted he is looking forward to the start of the new season.
“I can’t wait. It’s where I wanted to play. You always want to play in the top division in the country. It’s all you want to do.
“It’s really exciting and a chance to push ourselves against the top players in the country, the best teams in the country and find out what we are made of.”
The weather in recent weeks hasn’t been great but it hasn’t stopped the Town players from being put through the places. The fact that they are preparing for a Premier Division campaign makes training in terrible weather conditions that bit more bearable.
“It definitely does. To be given the chance to train in even the hail and the snow I’ll take it in these times. Looking forward to Derry now and that’s our mind is on and preparing for that makes it a little bit easier.”
Manley was one of the reasons Town gained promotion; resolute and solid at the back. He is pleased with the squad that manager Daire Doyle has assembled for the upcoming season.
“You could see it in the play-offs last season the togetherness we had and we really are gelling together. Things are going well. I feel like I really know the team now.
“Obviously the lads we have brought in have slipped in really nicely. Everything is going well and there is a really good chemistry in the squad.”
With Town now in the Premier Division they will get more coverage from national media.
It’s something that Manley is delighted with both for himself and the club.
“That’s what everybody wants. From an individual perspective we want more coverage. We want to show what we can do as individuals and as a team and as a club. It’s where Longford should be.
“There is so much hard work that goes into the club in the background, the ground is immaculate, the facilities we have are amazing. We’ll want to represent that this year and put in good work.”
Ahead of the new season the Longford Town fan group Section O decided to sponsor Manley and goalkeeper Luke Dennison.
“I was absolutely delighted to hear that. It’s a real feather in my cap. It’s a real vote of confidence as well to find that the fans are backing me and Section O are backing me,” he said smiling.