Longford Town boss Daire Doyle: 'We knew coming into the game that it was a possible banana skin'

Sun, Feb 23 2020

Daire Doyle Credit: Larry McQuillan (ETPhotos)

Andrew Dempsey reports from Bishopsgate

Longford Town began their 2020 First Division campaign with a comfortable two-nil win over Shamrock Rovers II on Saturday evening.

However, the victory came at a cost – with star man Dean Byrne going off injured with a serious long-term ankle injury.

“Shamrock Rovers had a good side there tonight. We put in a professional performance and we got a two-nil win,” Town boss Daire Doyle told extratime.ie.  

“We knew coming into the game that it was a possible banana skin,” the former Longford Town captain added.

“We were trying to keep the lads focused all week because there has been so much attention to the game in the media in the build up to the game with them having a Rovers II team.

“With everything it is, and everything it could have with players coming from the first team and rules on who could play – it was our jobs to keep them focused and prepare them for the game tonight.

“I felt they did that; they were ready to go tonight, and we were delighted to win the game.”

When asked on Rovers II’ inclusion into the First Division – Doyle maintained; “I still personally don’t think that reserve teams belong in the First Division.

“And that’s nothing to do with Shamrock Rovers, that’s just to do with what I think. You look at the squad list they released with 47 players, and eight of those players are in the first-team squad.

“There’s already a contradiction of players in one squad and in the other squad. You’ve got a massive possibility of a massive difference in quality of teams that they can put out one week to the next week.

“The side we played was a good side, but the potential with that squad is that with that big of a squad, some of the players lower down on that list could be used for a game.

“I think that’s where the integrity of it comes into question if they play one of your rivals and they aren’t in the position to play a team as strong all the time.”

And on a concerning front regarding star man Byrne – who has since been ruled out of action with a long-term injury – he concluded; “It didn’t look great when he went off, and you’d feel for Dean (Byrne).

“He’s been very good for us in pre-season, and he has been a big, big player for this team and he’s possibly going to be out for a period.

“The only good thing is the squad we have. We have the likes of Adam Evans and Niall Barnes who came on to make his debut.

“We have quality throughout the squad, and I say to the lads the reason we have a big squad is that there is competition for every player so when we have an injury or suspension someone will be there.”