Ten years ago Granard won the Intermediate Football Championship while still a senior club as their strong second string sprang a surprise to take the title. This year they will be hoping to win it again with their first team after getting relegated to the Intermediate ranks for the first time in the club’s history.
This year is also significant for the north Longford club as it marks 30 years since they last won the Senior Championship back in 1982. Current team manager Gerry Cadden is baffled as to how long Granard have gone without winning major competitions and he hopes to guide them to championship glory on Sunday. “It would be very appropriate with the year that’s in it. To be honest I could never understand how Granard weren’t one of the main clubs in Longford. I don’t know why?”
Relegation had been tough for a proud club like St. Mary’s to take. Mullahoran man Cadden knew exactly what was required when he was approached by the committee about the Granard job. “I was very impressed with them. The players are great Granard men, realised what had happened and they were anxious to halt the slide and improve things. I don’t know why they saw me as a likely candidate to change the fortunes of the club” he joked.
Cadden admitted it didn’t take him to long to realise he had made the right decision. “After the first couple of weeks when I saw the quality in the squad I just couldn’t understand how they were in Division 2 of the League and in the Intermediate Championship. I think they have the ability to bounce back. It’s just about performing on the day and getting a level of consistency into the performances.”
Since Granard reached the county Intermediate final there has been a real atmosphere about the parish; something that hasn’t been seen in a long time. “Winning is a habit and it was one Granard had fallen out of,” Cadden admitted. “They haven’t won anything major in a decade. Losing also becomes a habit and if you get in on a losing sequence sometimes it’s very hard to get out of the rut. Maybe they had to go down a grade to re-group and bounce back. In the long run and making progress for the future something needed to happen.”
Speaking about Sunday’s opposition, Cadden holds Cashel in high regard and knows his side will be very much up against it. “Cashel are favourites and rightly so. They are a fantastic team and have had a great year. They have benefitted from Celebrity Bainisteoir which has given the whole team a lift. They have a lot of good players and a forward line who are capable of scoring freely if they are given space. I’d have total respect for them.”
After the year Granard have had Cadden has been earning the plaudits but he admitted it’s very much a team effort and is grateful for the people he has around him. “I want to thank my selectors Micheal Gettings and Peter Sheridan. They are very good men to have by your side and it must be said that we have had great support from Andrew Gettings (Chairman) and the Granard St. Mary’s committee.”