Two members of this year’s Longford Senior Football team have been nominated for a GPA All-Star Football Award. Killoe’s Michael Quinn and Paul Barden of Clonguish were both included on the 45-man list which was announced last Wednesday morning.
Both men have been rewarded for several fine performances, despite an ultimately disappointing summer for Glenn Ryan’s side which saw Longford knocked out of the Leinster Senior Championship by Wexford at the quarter final stage, and suffer a second round defeat at the hands of Limerick in the All-Ireland Qualifiers.
The tremendous news for Longford GAA comes as a timely boost for Quinn, whose Killoe side face Longford Slashers in this weekend’s County Senior Football Championship Final.
“I woke up on Wednesday morning with texts on my phone telling me I’d been picked for an All-Star and I didn’t know whether to believe it or not and to be honest I still don’t!” he told the Leader.
Quinn finds himself battling it out with notable names for a half-back berth including Donegal’s Karl Lacey and Mayo’s Lee Keegan. “These are players with All-Ireland medals,” says the 22-year-old. “I’m not expecting to be on the final list but I suppose you never know.”
As satisfied with last week’s news as Quinn was, he says the most important facet of the double nomination is the clear rise of Longford football. After two back-to-back league wins, Michael feels the Blue and Gold are most certainly on the rise.
“We were disappointing against Limerick when we were knocked out of the All-Ireland series but I think if we had managed to win that, we had the players to maybe bring ourselves through another round or two, you never know.
“We’ve won two titles a year after each other now and we’ve some good young lads to look to in the future and maybe another successful league campaign can give us confidence going into next year’s Leinster Championship game in Aughrim (against Wicklow). After that, you never know.”
Quinn’s Killoe side go into battle with their new All-Star nominee expected to occupy the half-back line, a clash the young star can’t wait to get his teeth in to. “We’ve had a good few sessions since the Dromard game and we just want to get going now. It means so much to the parish to be in the county final and gives the place such a lift. It’s been a long two weeks to wait and the game just can’t come around quick enough.”
Meanwhile, Barden, who is currently on the mend after picking up a groin tendon injury while playing for his club Clonguish in a recent county quarter-final replay against Fr Manning Gaels, receives his second All-Star nomination.
Speaking to the Leader on Monday evening, Paul spoke of his delight after being named among the finest players in his sport. He also noted his disappointment for team mate Sean McCormack who had a fine championship in the Longford colours, kicking 33 points in total throughout the tournament.
“I found out the morning the list was released and I am of course delighted to be chosen. 2006 was a shock to me and this time round I’m just as proud and honoured to be nominated.” he said.
“To be honest though, I was disappointed that Sean (McCormack) wasn’t nominated after finishing the summer with the third highest scorer in the Championship. He really deserved that honour.”
The 32-year-old will go up against such inter-county stars as Mayo’s Alan Dillon, Dublin’s Paul Flynn and Donegal’s All-Ireland winning captain Mark McHugh for a spot in the half-forward line.
Both Michael and Paul have just two weeks to wait to find out if they make the final 15 when the GPA All-Star Football team is announced on the evening of Wednesday, October 24th.