Cousins days may be numbered regardless of Inchicore outcome
Longford Town FC slumped to new lows on Tuesday night as a comical attendance figure of just 249 turned out to watch Tony Cousins side suffer a humiliating 4-2 defeat against newly promoted Wexford. The first game of the second series was seen as a chance for Longford to kick-start their season after just one win in eleven previous, however, it turned out to be more of a kick up the backside as more shambolic defending and goalkeeping errors saw the hosts booed off the pitch yet again this season, as calls for the managers head reached close to boiling point.
The Midlanders are currently propping up the division in 12th place, with Wexford's victory opening up a three point gap between the sides, while Longford's horrendous goal difference could soon end up being viewed as an extra point for the clubs above them in this relegation dogfight. Despite all of this, it appears Tony Cousins is still very much the man in charge at the City Calling Stadium as a new signing was announced just last night. Cody Mulhall, a striker by trade, has been announced as the ninth signing of the 2016 campaign but as expected it has raised more question marks than answers.
Mulhall arrives at the club having being released by Hibernian in Scotland. The teenager was brought to Scottish football by none other than Shamrock Rovers boss Pat Fenlon during his tenure in charge at Easter Road, but following a devastating cruciate injury Mulhall was shown the door. Given the current injury nightmare Longford are currently going through with the likes of Rhys Gorman, Peter McGlynn, Paul Skinner, Lee Duffy and Noel Haverty all out of action, one would have to question the thinking of bringing in such a high risk player. Throw in the fact that it is clear "De Town" need major recruitment between the sticks and in the back four and midfield, the arrival of a striker will frustrate many. However, some have pointed out Mulhall's signing may be in preparation for Josh O'Hanlon's return to parent club AFC Bourenmouth in the summer months.
So what of St.Patrick's Athletics chances of adding another nail to the managerial coffin of Tony Cousins? "Saints" boss Liam Buckley has come under fire himself at times this season with the Capital club struggling for consistency, as many pundits point to an over reliance on Christy Fagan up front. Tuesday night's comprehensive win over Galway United (0-3) at Deacy Park acted as the perfect tonic for the struggling "Saints", who occupy 5th place in the table at present. With high-flying Derry City starting to pull away in front, St.Pat's will be eager to win games like tonight's against the relegation candidates of the league, even without the services of a number of key individuals which includes Christy Fagan. Conor O'Malley and Jack Bayly will join Fagan in the stands, while Graham Kelly will serve a suspension having being sent off mid-week.
Speaking to www.stpatsfc.com, Liam Buckley had this to say on the upcoming match:
"I was delighted with the result the other night. We didn't play well for the full game, but when he created chances, we were that bit more clinical in front of goal so the players deserve great credit for that.
"The players however also know that we have to now continue that form and replicate that week in, week out. Longford are next up on Friday and we won't get anything easy from them. We had a very tough game in Longford back in March and we're again expecting a similar match, so we've got to be at it from the first whistle on Friday night."
As mentioned by Buckley, his side got the upper hand in the only meeting between the sides this season. A Christy Fagan volley gave the "Saints" a controversial 1-0 win, with many arguing the referee on the night played a major role in the result. Put that to one side though and Longford's record against the Dublin club isn't good. Longford have played 17 league matches in Richmond Park and have won 5 while, drawn 4 and lost 8. (stat thanks to www.extratime.ie). In fact Longford's last win over Pats came all the way back in 2007, ominously the year Alan Mathews Town went down.
With FAI Cup fixtures coming up next weekend, this is the final chance for now for these clubs to state their claim to the teams around them. With St.Pat's inconstant home form a worry, the optimists in the away end at Richmond Park tonight will fancy their chances of a result, however, when you examine the goalkeeping crisis and other issues weighing this Longford team down at present, it's almost impossible to see them getting a result here tonight.
PREDICTION: St.Patrick's Athletic 4-0 Longford Town