Mickey Graham believes St. Columba’s Mullinalagthas Leinster championship victory will make people sit up and take notice of Longford football.
Mullinalagtha progressed to the AIB Leinster senior football club semi-final with a 1-6 to seven point win over Offaly champions Rhode. Graham’s side now look to become the first Longford team to make a Leinster club final.
“It’ll be 50/50 with Eire Og” explained Graham of their semi-final opponents, “but we’re just delighted to get the result and people may now sit up and take notice that Longford football is in rude health.”
Graham agreed, Jayson Matthew’s 38th minute goal, the game’s pivotal point as Rhode had a goal ruled out for a square ball moments before Matthews followed Rian Brady’s shot off the cross-bar and into the net.
“It was always going to take a goal to win the game” explained Graham, “this time of year not to many goals present themselves and when they come you have to take it.”
“We were fortune that it was a square ball, because I think that kind of caught Rhode off guard as they were still arguing a bit, they were a wee bit put off.”
“I thought we had missed the chance with Jason Dunwell to get the rebound, that goal was always going to give you some breathing space, that was enough to see us over the end.”
- Physical Game
While the game itself did little to improve Gaelic football’s impression as a spectator sport, Graham knew it would be a scrappy affair, setting his team up for certain standards of play.
“It was a game riddled with lots of errors, lots of the game was played in the middle third of the field” explained Graham, happier with the result than the performance.
“They had such quality forwards, and it was important not to let the ball be delivered in front of those lads especially Anton O’Sullivan and Niall McNamee.”
“We knew it would be a war of attrition out there today” declared Graham, “we knew it would be a really tough test.”
“That our backs would be against the wall, it would be a really tough test coming to Tullamore against a Rhode team who have been around the Leinster club championship for the last 10 years competing in five Leinster club finals is a serious record.”
“We had a game plan that we would frustrate them and give it a lash, but to play with a bit of freedom to give us some expression” added Graham.