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'People were saying we couldn't do it and we haven't added enough, but we shut a few people up'

Longford Town midfielder Aodh Dervin reflects on his side’s impressive 2-0 win over Derry City on the opening weekend of the Premier Division season.

Aodh Dervin of Longford, tackled by Will Patching of Derry.
Aodh Dervin of Longford, tackled by Will Patching of Derry.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

LONGFORD TOWN RETURNED to the Premier Division in style last night, dominant in their 2-0 home win against Derry City. The result – and winning margin – means Longford top the table at the end of the first round of games, which is just about a perfect start to a season in which Longford have been widely tipped for an instant return to the First Division. 

The goals were scored in either half: winger Dylan Grimes gave Longford the lead after just seven minutes when he drilled home from a tight angle, and they secured the game just after the hour mark when Joe Gorman turned home the parried rebound of Aodh Dervin’s long-range free-kick. 

Dervin almost scored directly from another free-kick minutes later, but saw his 35-yard effort bounce back off the crossbar. 

“I was devastated about that!”, Dervin told The42 after the game. 

“I’ve been working on free-kicks all pre-season: I want to add to goals to my game and I don’t make a secret of it. I have put in the hours, before training, during training, and after training, just to get used to them. Some of them might still go over the bar, but I’ll keep at them.”

Longford manager Daire Doyle has kept the bulk of his promoted squad together for the 2021 Premier Division season, and last night’s starting team featured seven of the side that started the promotion play-off win against Shelbourne last year. 

“We have kept the core together, and we haven’t added much but we have added quality. We’ve brought in Paddy Kirk and Aaron Bolger, both with Premier experience and look, you saw how good the two boys were tonight. You saw how well we stuck together tonight, and that’s from keeping the core of the squad and bringing in smart signings.” 

Longford is Dervin’s local club, and he was an endlessly energetic presence in their midfield in a victory he says provides a riposte to those who doubted their capacity to compete in the top flight. 

“I was nervous before it, my first game in the Premier. People were saying we couldn’t do it, and we haven’t added enough, but we shut a few people up tonight. 

“I didn’t have much energy at the end, I was huffing and puffing, but it is just the adrenaline. If I didn’t run I would be letting my team down and we wouldn’t have this feeling. I’ll run all day just to have this feeling every week.” 

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That sense of being written off has given Longford some motivational thrust, says Dervin.

We’ve said that from the start, teams won’t see us coming, will look down on us or respect us, but we were in their faces from the get-go, celebrating throw-ins stuff like that. We based it off that. We’re delighted with how tonight went, but it’s only the start. 

“We know people don’t know about us, and we’re not just going to come in here and play tippy-happy football, we know we have to be tough with them and win our battles and win second balls. We’re delighted with how tonight went.” 

Dervin’s ambition is to go full-time as a footballer, but was happy to remain part-time this year with his hometown club in the top flight. He will return to work as a postman on Monday morning, with a Saturday trip to Dalymount Park then hovering into view, where it will be time to deliver on the pitch. 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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