Mullinalaghta take a step into the unknown as they become the first Longford team to play in an AIB Leinster Club senior football final this Sunday.
It fact 50 years have now passed since Longford footballers lifted the Leinster title, thus meaning Mullinalaghta have also broken the half century burden of Longford sides making a Leinster decider.
The odd’s appear stacked against the half parish men against Kilmacud Crokes, Paul Mannion and Cian O’Sullivan will line out for the Dublin championships holding in their pocket a total of 12 All-Ireland winners medals.
“Look we know the odds are stacked against us, it’s not too often the bookies get it wrong” declared Mullinalaghta captain James McGiveny.
“We do hope that a few of the Kilmacud guys have an off day and our lads play to the maximum and hopefully that will get us over the line.”
The Longford men to their credit have flown under the radar in many ways to the Leinster final, having come close in 2016 and 2017.
Their strongest asset undoubtedly their fitness and lack of injuries, stemming from a strong training regime, which saw them over the line against Rhode and effect in the big victory over Emmet Og in the semi-final.
“Every-time we come off the training field we know there is very few teams come off the field in the condition we are, it’s not for the lack of effort or work we are putting into it” explained McGiveny.
“We’re just hoping something special might happen” smiled the Mullinalaghta captain.
While bookmakers and pundits may be stacking the odds against them, it doesn’t appear to faze manager Mickey Graham who may be leading his side out for the last time.
“At the end of the day only 15 men can take the field, we know the size of Kilmacud, and the club has huge attachment areas” Graham told Shannonside Sport.
“It’s a Leinster final and any team who get to a Leinster final deserve some credit, they didn’t get their by luck, it’s been fierce hard work over a number of years” added Graham
“All we can do is go up and play to our strengths. The lads have done their parish proud and they’ve done their family proud.”
While praising his players Graham’s confidence his high that his own side can produce a winning display on Sunday.
“It’s all about confidence and belief” declared the Cavan man. “We’re going up there with the belief we can win a Leinster final. There’s no point going up there otherwise.”
“Having said that we go up under no Illusion of what lies ahead” explained Graham, “this is probably the biggest step up we have had since playing St. Vincent’s a few years ago and we have to be at the top of our game.”
Mullinalaghta v Kilmacud Crokes
AIB Leinster Senior Club Final
Sunday December 9th
Live on Shannonside FM