Fenn's squad building continues as youngsters Elworthy & O'Reilly join "De Town"
Article by Kieran Burke.
Longford Town have hit the transfer headlines again today with the announcement that Shane Elworthy and Andy O'Reilly have joined the club. On a day dominated by Longford legend Davy O'Sullivan's move to First Division rivals Shelbourne, Town boss Neale Fenn will be hoping his two latest recruits will get the feel good factor going around the Town again following the disappointing departure of fans favorite O'Sullivan.
It's fair to say the duo, who arrive from Drogheda United and UCD respectively, are lesser known names to most League of Ireland fans although Elworthy did feature regularly in the Premier Division towards the tail end of last season under Pete Mahon. O'Reilly's arrival is a surprise one given the fact the Dubliner was playing for UCD's under-19's last season meaning he arrives to the club as an almost totally unknown quantity. What we do know about the youngster is that he is a midfield player who featured in the "Students" European youth league run last season and it is believed this is where O'Reilly, who is a cousin of Town's player of the year Daniel O'Reilly, caught Neale Fenn's eye.
With the London born Town boss already having signed midfielders Jamie Hollywood and Chris Mulhall from Drogheda while retaining the services of key middle-men Dean Zambra, Sam Verdon and Peter Hopkins among others, Longford look to have an extremely competitive midfield selection for next season. This will be of huge encouragement to followers of the 2014 First Division winners, who struggled greatly in the midfield area last season under Alan Mathews.
As for Elworthy, the twenty-one-year-old has followed an interesting career path football wise having started out at the famous nursery St.Kevin's Boys, which has produced the likes of Damien Duff and countless other star names, before a move to Fulham where Elworthy spent three-years. Returning to Ireland as recently as 2016, when of course Longford were a Premier Division club, Elworthy signed for St.Patrick's Athletic's under 19's. Becoming involved with Drogheda United's pre-season campaign, Elworthy put pen to paper on a senior contract with the "Drogs" in February of this year and despite a strong end to the campaign personally for Elworthy it was a disappointing time at the County Louth club who were relegated without little resistance.
Capable of operating as a winger or at right-back, one would imagine Fenn has brought Elworthy to Longford with the latter position in mind given the departure of Noel Haverty at the conclusion of the 2017 season, while it looks unlikely Aidan Friel will be retained considering the former Wexford and Athlone man features on the PFAI transfer list at present. The fact that Elworthy ended the 2017 season at right-back for Drogheda and produced his best performances in the ''Claret and Blue'' from that position would also back up that school of thought.
Despite the arrival of the promising young duo at the City Calling Stadium, many Longford Town fans are already growing impatient at the lack of a proven striker in the first-team squad and this frustration has certainly grown in the aftermath of David O'Sullivan's move to Shelbourne. With the new season not getting underway until February 23rd, manager Neale Fenn is unlikely to match supporters panic levels as he continues to build his new look squad in time for the commencement of pre-season training of January 6th.