AUTHOR: Kieran Burke – @Kieran_B_Sport.
The rebuild of Longford Town following a destructive relegation campaign last season continues with new manager, Gary Cronin assembling an almost entirely new look Longford Town squad, although some of that is not down to choice. As expected, following relegation, the vultures soon circled and picked from the bones were local star, Aodh Dervin, Dylan Grimes, Aaron O’Driscoll, top scorer from the promotion campaign of 2020, Rob Manley, his brother, Joe, and so many more top performers on whom De Town heavily relied. In fact, only nine players from last season’s squad remain at the club, although that may not be a bad thing given the negative energy that followed the group during last season’s mentally-draining campaign.
With three full-time teams in the division this season, Longford Town were never going to be able to splash the cash and build a star-studded team capable of bouncing back at the first attempt like Shelbourne had done twelves months ago but Gary Cronin has been able to unearth a couple of potential gems in the off-season. Cronin’s former club, Bray Wanderers, may soon regret the day they allowed Dylan Barnett and Ryan Graydon to follow Cronin to the Strokestown Road while Eric Molloy will add some much-needed experience having won the division with Shels last season. If Cronin can keep Cristian Magerusan fit (Hear Magerusan’s incredible story on S6EP1 of Between the Stripes LOI podcast here), then he could be a star that helps Longford realise their goals this season but overall, the squad does look a little thin, particularly up front.
A steady season with the excitement of playoff football at the end of it would probably keep most Town fans happy following the doom and gloom of last year and that’s probably a realistic prediction to make for Longford Town this season.
BTS PREDICTION: Play-offs.
STAR PERFORMER: Ryan Graydon (A verified baller).
ONE TO WATCH: Matthew O’Brien.