Rovers’ manager Fenlon was frustrated in his efforts to get in another experienced striker in the close season — to add to the signing of Danny North — and is delighted to see the goalscoring burden spread early on.
“There’s a few things that we spoke about since the end of last season, that being one of them,” said Fenlon, on the need for his attacking midfielders to contribute goals.
“I think Gary (McCabe), in fairness to him, will score goals and has done at Rovers over the years.
“If we can get Marty and Seanie chipping in with seven and eight, and hopefully Danny and Mikey (Drennan) picking up goals too…”
Though Longford started brightly, a goal out of nothing brought Rovers a 24th minute lead.
O’Connor was given too much time and space some 25 yards out and his dipping left-foot shot seemed to deceive Paul Hunt to end up in the corner of his net.
Longford had a big shout for a penalty ignored by referee Padraigh Sutton when Gary Shaw appeared to be hauled down by Rovers’ keeper Craig Hyland, before sloppy defending cost them a second goal on 41 minutes.
North’s tenacity saw him charge down Pat Flynn’s attempted clearance. The ball spun into the path of Waters who cleverly slalomed between two defenders to thread his shot through the legs of Hunt and into the net.
Longford Town: Hunt; Mulhall, Flynn, Tyrell (Rossiter 71), Powell; Shaw, O’Connor, Salmon (Gorman 84), Rice, Deady (Cowan, h/t); O’Sullivan.
Shamrock Rovers: Hyland; Madden, Webster, Kenna, Byrne; S. O’Connor (Drennan 66), Fahey, McPhail, Waters; McCabe; North (R. Brennan 83).
Referee: Padraigh Sutton (Clare).