Monday 25 September 2017

Mathews exits Longford in aftermath of emphatic win over Wexford

Longford Town manager Alan Mathews. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Longford Town manager Alan Mathews. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Alan Mathews' second spell as Longford Town manager ended in strange circumstances on Saturday when he left the club by 'mutual consent' after a 5-0 win over Wexford Youths.

Longford released a statement later that evening which said that Mathews had left the club. His No 2 Kevin Doherty has also departed, with Gary Cronin taking over on a caretaker basis.

It had been business as usual for Mathews earlier in the evening so the news came as a surprise.

Mathews won two FAI Cups (2003 and '04) with Longford in his first spell and returned for the final part of last season in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid the drop.

Longford were expected to challenge for promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt.

However, they have struggled this term - Saturday's success was just their fourth in 14 First Division matches in 2017.

It moved them up into fifth place in the table, 13 points off leaders Waterford with just one automatic spot up for grabs this term.

Depart

Mathews is the fifth League of Ireland boss to depart his post since the beginning of the campaign. Premier Division pair Martin Russell (Limerick) and Dave Robertson (Sligo Rovers) exited in April, while Colin Fortune and Ricardo Monsanto both had spells listed as Athlone Town boss.

Elsewhere, Cork City's Karl Sheppard has emphasised just how much it meant to defeat his former club Shamrock Rovers on Friday night.

The league leaders registered a 4-1 win over the Hoops at Turner's Cross to maintain their 15-point advantage at the top of the table.

They were fired up by pre-match comments from Rovers boss Stephen Bradley, who said that Cork's current crop were not at the level of 2016 title winners Dundalk. A number of Rovers players also said they were unimpressed by the Leesiders in their previous meeting in Tallaght.

"It's a good win against a side who really, really, really fancy themselves," said Sheppard. "I've seen a hell of a lot of talk during the week leading up to this.

"I wouldn't be surprised if there were more of their players who did interviews this week than didn't. That spurred us on.

"Coming into these games you don't really need extra motivation but that gave us a little bit. I saw some comments which were a bit disrespectful but we did our talking on the pitch."

Cork manager John Caulfield claimed that a 'cosy cartel' of rival bosses have consistently criticised his group.

Irish Independent

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