SD Galway -v- Longford TownFri, Jul 27 2012
SD Galway enter this tie with the kind of track record that justifies their position in the First Division table, having eared only one point from their last four league games and with only one win to their credit all season.
But something of a mini revival occurred a few weeks ago when they took four points from a tree game run that included a win against local rivals Mervue United and a 2-2 draw at home to Wexford Youths. Defeats to the Division’s form side, Waterford United, and Limerick FC have since followed, but neither result should be considered a disgrace.
Longford are another side operating at the upper end of the Division and if Tony Mannion is to engineer a positive result against the Midlanders he will have to do so without injury victims Mikey Gilmore and Colm Horgan, who both hurt themselves outside of club activities.
Willie Enubele is suspended and both Eric Browne and Eduardo Dusi have left the club, Browne to play for Mervue United’s Junior side and Dusi to return to his native Brazil.
Reflecting on their season so far, Mannion commented on some good recent performances and a lack of good fortune.
“Really the only game we caught a break in was the Mervue game where a late goal got us the three points, otherwise the rub of the green has not been on our side. That is when a squad shows character though. The squad we have here are playing for the club because the really want to – most have been with Salthill Devon since they were nippers and while the transition to playing senior football is painful, it is nevertheless worthwhile – with only the really committed sticking it out.”
With the Olympics about to start Longford must yet convince us that they are not that runner who belts out into a healthy lead before being inexorably wound in by the chasing pack as they struggle up the home straight.
Having led the division for most of the season, Longford now find themselves three points behind pre-season favourites Limerick FC, and just one point ahead of third placed Waterford United who are on a real charge.
Longford have started to drop crucial, and unexpected points, being held to draws by Athlone and Wexford before losing at home to Waterford last weekend. It may yet prove to be a blip from which they recover but SD Galway offer a real test of Longford’s psychological strength.
The Division’s bottom team should offer little resistance to a team second in the table but Tony Cousins’ men were held 1-1 the last time they visited Eamon Deacy Park, and their 1-0 win at Flancare Park in May, courtesy of a Jamie Duffy goal, was narrow enough to offer the Galwaymen hope that they can upset the odds third time around.
Longford will also have to do without a trio of suspended players this weekend as top-scorer Colm James, Alan Kirby and Mark Salmon are all forced to sit this one out.
Referee: Kevin O’Regan.
Despite the difference in the club’s league positions, Longford are only marginally ahead of SD in their league meetings this season. The teams drew 1-1 at Eamon Deacy Park in March and Longford won 1-0 at Flancare in May.
Longford have failed to score on only three occasions in the league this season, but two of those have come in their last three outings - against Athlone and Waterford.
Six places separate these sides in the league table but each side’s top goal-scorer has managed five league goals this season; Enda Curran for SD Galway and Colm James for Longford.
SD Galway 13/2; Draw 16/5; Longford 4/11.
Longford should have enough for the three points here; 2-0 to the visitors.
SD Injury News: Out - Mikey Gilmore, Colm Horgan. Doubts - Damien O’Reilly, Dave Cook.
SD Suspension News: Willie Enubele.
Longford Injury News: Unavailable.
Longford Suspension News: Colm James, Alan Kirby, Mark Salmon.
Simon O'Gorman began reporting for Extratime in 2010. He remembers Milltown and Flower Lodge and, back in the mists of time, saw Diego Maradona play at Lansdowne Road. He now lives in Co Kildare and reports on Shamrock Rovers among others. Simon can be contacted at email@example.com