Cautious Eugene McCormack is wary of Wexford threat

Longford manager Eugene McCormack looks on against Dublin during the Leinster U-21 Football Championship Quarter Final on Wednesday of last week at Parnell Park.
An ecstatic Longford U-21 manager Eugene McCormack couldn’t hide his elation after his side knocked reigning Leinster and All-Ireland Champions Dublin out of the 2013 championship on Wednesday night of last week.

An ecstatic Longford U-21 manager Eugene McCormack couldn’t hide his elation after his side knocked reigning Leinster and All-Ireland Champions Dublin out of the 2013 championship on Wednesday night of last week.

Before the game the Carrickedmond clubman spoke about Longford having the belief to cause a huge upset. He was confident they could do it: “I knew that they could do it. I believed it from deep down in my heart. It was a great win and great credit goes to the players. I don’t know if the team is a mirror image of its manager or what it is but I’m a passionate man as everybody knows. I spoke with a huge amount of passion before the game and maybe the players bought into it. I felt we had to. We were coming up here to Parnell Park; we had to do something different to beat Dublin. These players took it on board and they won,” he said to the Leader.

Longford thoroughly deserved their win but somehow went in at the break trailing by two points despite being the dominant side in the first half. McCormack said: “We were looking at aspects of our game at half-time that we could improve on. The first thing we talked about was a little bit more composure when we had time on the ball. The lack of composure came from the boys being so anxious to do well. As the game went on a little further they found out they were well capable of being a little bit more composed and have more time on the ball.”

The Longford boss was so full of pride for his players who put in a wonderful display but paid credit to one player in particular; fellow Carrickedmond clubman Barry O’Farrell who was immense in marking Dublin star player Ciaran Kilkenny: “Barry O’Farrell did such a marvellous job marking Kilkenny. Barry is a great clubman of ours (Carrickedmond) too. I knew when I watched Kilkenny playing against Carlow a few weeks ago who I was going to put on him.”

McCormack though is not getting too carried away with the win. He is realistic and knows that Longford have another tough test ahead of them against Wexford in the Leinster semi-final: “The whole scenario has reversed now and it’s how we can handle the pressure and how we can prepare for that. Their true character has to come out now. Wexford beating Westmeath shows you the twists and turns of football. There are no cups handed out at the quarter-final stage. We have to be realistic. We have to keep our feet on the ground. We have already talked about this and we need fellas to know that they can’t get carried away after one win. It was easy to get ourselves up for the Dublin game and we are now looking at doing the same against Wexford. It’s a completely different match. We have to knuckle down and make sure we are in the right frame of mind again.”