View Full Version : Should we merge with Newbridge Town?

31/08/2003, 8:26 AM
THE photos that adorn the clubhouse walls tell the tales of Newbridge Town FC’s past glories.

Pictures of past players such as Alan Gough, who would later play in the League of Ireland and FAI Cup finals, and is currently at Derry City.

And the centrepiece, a photo of the Newbridge Town team that won the Leinster Senior League Premier Division title in 1998, that glory season could have led to many more like it. Instead, the club has spent the years since in last-day-of-the-season battles to simply avoid the drop to Division 1.

This new season will be no different, according to Town’s joint manager Tony Marshall, who was speaking after the club’s opening league game of the season against Ashotown Villa.

“Realistically, we want to just consolidate our place in the division. Every year since I have been here, we have just avoided relegation. This year it would be nice to have a mid-table finish. We are not going to win the league by any means,” says Tony, who is beginning his first full season in charge, sharing the managerial duties with Newbridge man Leo Dunne.

Marshall doesn’t believe that the establishment of Kildare County as an Eircom League side, playing at Station Road - the home ground of Newbridge Town - has had a major effect on the club

“We did lose two of our better players, in Philly Gorman and Alan Kelly to County, but that was last season and we should be putting that behind us by now.

The same people are still working behind the scenes that always have done. Kildare County has maybe overshadowed us all right when it comes to sponsor-ship and such but it is up to us to change that.”

Tony and his players also take great encouragement from how close fellow LSL Premier side, Cherry Orchard, came to holding County in their recent FAI cup tie at Station Road.

“We beat Orchard last season and it is encouraging for the lads to know that teams in our division can step up to that level when they get the chance.”

Tony played for St. Francis in the Eircom League and also had spells with Bluebell and Dublin Bus before coming to Newbridge Town three seasons ago as a player. Although a Dubliner by birth, he is committed to bringing more local players into the team.

“The side that played tonight had eight lads from Kildare in the starting lineup, including Phil Wolfe, Fred Coogan, Dan Connolly, John Paul McDonagh and Peter Dignam, who are all young lads from Newbridge. we are trying to get the club back into being a local club.”

Town only avoided relegation in the last three games of last season, and there was turmoil when the the manager, Gerry Bickerstaffe, resigned suddenly in mid-season, plunging the club into a mini-crisis at the worst possible time.

It was left to Marshall and Dunne to steer the club away from the relegation zone.

“We came in at a difficult time all right. We managed to stay in the division and we have been given a job to develop the club further, which is what we will work hard at doing.”

Given that Newbridge Town lost that at home to Villa 3-0 on the night of our conversation, it looks like Tony could be managing in the shadow of relegation for another season at least.