Boost for Longford as Barden commits for 15th season

Paul Barden has committed to a 15th season in the Longford shirt.

Boost for Longford as Barden commits for 15th season

Manager Jack Sheedy is currently planning without midfielder John Keegan, who has taken a break from the game, and wing back Shane Mulligan, who was due to be married yesterday, but the country’s joint longest serving footballer Barden has indicated he will continue for one more campaign.

Along with Limerick’s John Galvin, Barden is the last remaining player in the country to play inter-county championship football in the 1990s, and according to Sheedy, the Clonguish man will return to the fold before the end of January.

“Paul is not back yet. Paul had a little bit of corrective work done in the close season so we hope to have him back in the next four weeks or so and see how it goes from there,” said Sheedy.

“But his intention is that if his body is up to it, he’s happy, he wants to play for another year. It’s just wear and tear, he just needs to manage these things and he’s going about it in the right way.

“I’m not sure about Shane Mulligan’s intentions just yet. He had indicated that he wouldn’t be available due to his wedding commitments and honeymoon so we’ll have to wait and see what happens when all that is taken care of.”

Dermot Brady will captain the team again this year as he attempts to lead Jack Sheedy’s side to immediate promotion from Division 4.

Longford were bedeviled by inconsistencies last season, which saw them drop to the basement tier of Gaelic football for the first time since 2011, but Sheedy has handed the Longford Slashers club man the leadership duties again in an attempt to resurrect their fortunes.

“Dermot Brady was captain last summer and he will retain that role. He is very well respected in Longford circles, both within the squad and outside it. He is a very good lad and brings an awful lot to the whole position,” said the former Dublin midfielder.

Undoubtedly the highlight of Longford’s 2014 was beating Derry in Celtic Park in the qualifiers, but the fact that it was followed by the low of a 2-17 to 0-6 defeat to Tipperary on their home patch underlined Sheedy’s frustrations and his side’s inconsistency.

Back-to-back league promotions since 2011 has since been followed by consecutive relegation, and with four away games – starting with a trip to Pairc Sean MacDiarmada to tackle Leitrim – in the national league, Sheedy is hoping for a bright start to their season against DCU in the O’Byrne Cup this Saturday afternoon.

“Everyone in Division 4 is in the same position, everyone wants to get out of there and everyone wants a good start. There is probably not too many tougher places to start with that Pairc Sean this year. Leitrim being near neighbours, it’ll be very tough.

“I believe the Derry game is the glimpse of what this side can do. They showed their true capabilities up there, regardless of the result. They were outstanding that day because everybody applied themselves in the correct way.”

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