Author: Kieran Burke – @Kieran_b_sport/@betweenstripes
Image credit: Tiernan Dolan – Longford Town FC Supporters Club.
Now entering his sixth season as a Longford Town player, Shane Elworthy seemed the logical choice to replace Sam Verdon as captain after the latter departed the club in bizarre circumstances last week.
Verdon, who was also captain last season at the Midlands club, came under fire following his performance in Longford’s opening night 3-1 defeat at home to local rivals Athlone, a game in which the former St.Pat’s midfielder missed a second-half penalty. Verdon then exited the club the following Wednesday, just in time to be classed as a free agent, meaning he can sign for another League of Ireland team outside of the transfer window.
However, that left new Town boss Stephen Henderson with a decision to make ahead of last Friday’s trip to title favourites Waterford with the ex-Cobh Ramblers chief naming twenty-five-year-old Elworthy as the club’s new skipper. Speaking after a pleasing 1-1 draw at the RSC, Elworthy felt it was now time for him to step up and become a leader in the dressing room with Longford Town.
“I’m very happy with it, it’s a good group of lads so I’m delighted to take the armband, it’s a great honour and I’m here long enough now so I know the club very well, I know all the people so I’m delighted with it”, Elworthy said.
Despite not being regarded as one of the most vocal players on the pitch, Elworthy has been a remarkably consistent performer for the club since his arrival in 2018 and the full-back feels he will benefit from having played under some good captains in recent seasons.
“I’ve learned off some good players who have been at the club in the last couple of years, the likes of Dean Zambra and Sam and a couple of other senior lads who’ve been here before and I’ve taken bits and pieces from each of them and I’ll make it my own now, I’ve got enough experience in the league now to take on the role and be confident taking the role on.”
Elworthy and his teammates will now look to right some of the wrongs from that opening day defeat in front of a bumper Bishopsgate crowd when Longford Town welcomes Cobh Ramblers to the Strokestown Road venue on Saturday evening. With the “Rams” holding a 100% record heading into gameweek three in the First Division, Elworthy is under no illusions as to the challenge the home side will face this weekend.
“It was a great turnout (against Athlone) so it was a disappointment the way the game went but I think if they (the fans) have tuned in tonight (against Waterford) they’ll know what we’re about and please God we’ll put it right next week.”
“We’re confident now going into next week.”
Further discussing the upcoming league match at home to Cobh, Elworthy was certainly complimentary of Shane Keegan’s team and in particular their big signing of the off-season Jack Doherty, who will be no stranger to Longford fans having had two prior spells with De Town.
“Jack Doherty has signed for them, I played with Jack before, he’s a great creative player, I’ve heard good things about them, they’ve got a good manager down there, they can play, you don’t usually associate that with a Cobh side, they’re usually physical but apparently they can play so it will be a tough test.”
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