When Longford were drawn away to Tipperary in Round 2A of the All-Ireland Football Qualifiers the majority of Longford supporters thought that it could have been worse. Manager Jack Sheedy has a different opinion on the draw.
Speaking to the Leader he said: “People expectations might be one thing but the squad’s expectations have got to be measured maybe a bit more realistically on what we have got to do. People may have wishful thinking and fanciful thinking depending on fixtures but it doesn’t equate to what the players are thinking. Regardless of who it was going to be, we have to go out and produce a performance to win the game. It’s going to be tough.”
Tipperary will provide stiff opposition for Longford. They won the Division 4 title and should have beaten Cork in the Munster Championship semi-final. They will want to atone for that disappointment.
“We stepped up against Derry and are going to have to match that against Tipperary. They got promoted and won the Division 4 league final against Clare. They put in a massive performance against Cork and gave themselves an opportunity to win that game. They’ve probably disappointed they didn’t take it. They always produce good performances in the qualifiers so it’s a tough task for us to go down there and get a result. I don’t think it’s beyond us though,” said Sheedy.
The Longford boss knows only too well what his side are capable of. If they produce a performance like they did against Derry in Celtic Park they are a match for anyone.
Sheedy said: “We are under no illusions that we have to perform to the best of our potential. If we don’t perform we have no chance, simple as that. It’s in our own hands. If we put in a performance we will give ourselves a decent chance. That’s all we can do.”
Sheedy and the players know that Derry result will mean nothing if they don’t perform against Tipperary but he admitted that the players now have belief in their ability.
“After the Derry game the lads were happy and content in themselves because they knew they put in a huge performance. They got their just rewards. That sometimes can improve your belief in what you are doing. I think that has helped the lads. There’s not a lot of time in between games. The lads have worked hard since the Derry game. We are hoping to build on that.”
Although the players have only a short time to prepare for Tipperary they have been working hard on the training field since the Derry game. Sheedy hopes they will be rewarded once again this weekend and they deserve a lot of credit for regrouping in such a determined manner following the disappointing failure to beat Wexford in the Leinster Championship.
“The lads have really applied themselves very well and appreciate what comes from hard work. We’ve got to back up the win over Derry and really go for a big performance against Tipperary and hopefully we will come out on top”.