After an emphatic 11 point demolition of neighbours Cavan, the Longford troops can look towards their next qualifier encounter with a zealous winning attitude. Talismanic forward Brian Kavanagh of Kilmacud Crokes in Dublin reported a determined and energetic buzz hovering over the Longford camp as they enter their final training week before the clash with Tyrone at Pearse Park.
“There were a few knocks and bruises after the Cavan game but it was just such a relief to not be under pressure in the last few minutes of the game. There’s a great buzz at training and we’re quietly confident that we can put it up to them”.
Tyrone are one of the founding fathers of the blanket defence tactic. They are one of the few teams that can apply it in a constructive manner but because they executed the system with ease, imitation took place. It has since filtered into the strategy of many teams and has developed into a viral catalyst that is corrupting the fluidity of the game but Tyrone are still the masters.
However, Kavanagh is unconvinced that they will revert to that style for the game against Longford.
“I imagine that they will play an open game, much like ourselves. I think the inside forward line will be a bit cramped at times but it’s up to us to use whatever ball we’re given and convert it into a score. When we lose the ball we’ll all become defenders in order to win it back”.
The intrepid qualifier path is the ill-advised route to Croke Park but Longford have excelled through the back door. Mayo and Derry are former victims to the devastating power Longford seem to acquire in the qualifier stages while Kerry and Down survived but only marginally – proving that Longford are a formidable force in this section of the All-Ireland Championship.
Kavangh and company are hopeful that the trend will continue on Saturday, “We’ve beaten Derry and Mayo in the qualifiers before and we performed really well against Down last season and Kerry a couple of years ago as well so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to perform in the Tyrone match”.
The former Ardagh clubman also revealed that the squad will approach this game with a clean bill of health across the board implying that the race for nabbing a starting spot will be hotly contested. “Everyone is feeling good so there’s great competition for places. Enda Williams is just coming back after injury and his fitness looks good so he’ll be pushing to play as well”.