Fenn heaps praise on Kenna after derby day masterclass

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Longford Town FC remain the only unbeaten side in the 2019 SSE Airtricity League First Division, following Friday nights dramatic derby day win away to Athlone Town. A tight and often cagey affair was settled by a single second half goal as the recently returned, Sam Verdon got on the end of a Shane Elworthy dink from wide to claim all three points in the Midlands derby against a well drilled Athlone Town side.

2014 First Division winners Longford Town have only conceded one goal in their five competitive outings this season and now find themselves just two points off top-spot with a game in hand over their rivals, after last weekends league tie at home to Galway United was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Named man of the match during last nights Between the Stripes Match Day Live commentary (listen back in full here) from Lissywoolen was veteran central defender, Conor Kenna. The former League of Ireland winner has been a revelation since signing for Neale Fenn’s charges in the off-season and Kenna’s new boss was quick to praise the impact of the thirty-four-year-old when speaking to Kieran Burke for Shannonside FM post match.

“Are we surprised really? He (Kenna) has been doing it for the last ten, or how many ever years, at the highest level. He’s won league titles and played at the highest level, so am I surprised (by his performances), no.”

A former Premier Division winner himself, Fenn went on to admit it had been a major struggle to bring Kenna to the club with big interest registered in the services of the former St.Patrick’s Athletic player by stronger resourced clubs.

“It was a major struggle to get him, he had a number of clubs after him but we managed to get him in and I’m delighted. Not only is he good at organising, he’s brave, he’s good on the ball, he talks to people and everyone around him" remarked the Longford Town manager.

With a crucial run of fixtures coming up for “De Town” against the likes of Shelbourne, Wexford FC and Bray Wanderers, many followers of the First Division have already begun to talk up Longford’s title chances. Having suffered greatly with injuries and suspensions throughout the 2018 campaign, which effectively killed off Town’s hopes of a crack at promotion, Neale Fenn has had the headache of not only leaving players out of his starting eleven this season but out of the match day squad entirely. While this is a luxury many of his managerial counterparts would die for, Fenn admitted to Burke that leaving players out of his match day squads is the hardest part about his job at Longford Town.

“It’s the worst part of the job to be honest, leaving players out of squads, everyone wants to play. Your’e not dropping them because they’ve played badly, they’ve done excellent, but we wanted to pick a team we felt was capable of winning the game and when you do win it you can say look there you go I was right but when you don’t you can expect those players to be knocking on your door.”


Catch Neale Fenn’s post match chat with Kieran Burke for Shannonside FM in full below.