This is a team of believers
If last weekend’s famous victory over Monaghan is proof of one thing, it’s of a new attitude in Longford football.
That team played with absolutely no fear. They played with confidence and belief. They played like winners.
Longford played the perfect game. They kept the ball as long as they had to in order to create a scoring chance. Nothing was rushed.
They kept their heads, no one panicked on the ball. Players were composed in possession. They trusted each other on the ball and stuck to their game plan resolutely.
All of them showed incredible desire. Bodies were sacrificed to stop conceding. Players were asked to play in positions they normally wouldn’t and worked themselves to exhaustion.
Speaking to RTÉ after the game, Longford captain Michael Quinn said going in at half time 3 points down to the reigning Ulster champions could have been seen as a moral victory. But, that’s not what these players are about. They were there to win.
Longford fielded a very young team against Monaghan, sprinkled with experienced leaders in defence and attack.
Some of this team were Leinster minor champions in 2010. More of them were on the u21 team that got to the Leinster final in 2013, beating a star-studded Dublin on the way.
I was lucky enough to be a part of that u21 panel. I will never forget the mentality the whole squad had before that Dublin game. We knew we could win that game, we never doubted it- and we did it.
By the looks of things, this attitude is spreading throughout Longford’s current squad. This is a team of believers. A team with no fear.
And why would they have fear?
The experience of players like Diarmuid Masterson, Brian Kavanagh, Barry Gilleran and Dermot Brady who all performed out of their skins last Saturday, mixed with the fearless youth and skills of players like James McGivney, Robbie Smyth, Liam Connerton and Barry McKeongives real reason for the team to be confident.
Longford fans will hope this new attitude provides them with more big results to celebrate, and that someday beating the likes of Derry, Mayo or Monaghan won’t be considered a huge upset.