Over the past year Emmet Óg have made winning a habit and on Saturday afternoon six members of that club helped Longford beat Cavan in the Hastings Cup Final.
Longford player of the year and Emmet Óg senior player of the year, Padraig McCormack captained the side and he believes his club’s good luck in competitions helped Longford to victory.
“I think we just bring a bit of luck to everything,” he jokingly told the Leader. “It was a fantastic goal from Daniel, he finished it well. It was a great win for us.”
McCormack was delighted to win a competition that he believes really benefits the competing teams.
“It’s a great competition. Teams that play in it are the envy of other U21 teams because it sets you up great for your provincial competitions. Cavan have won two Ulster titles and Roscommon were in the All-Ireland Final last year. We got to a Leinster Final two years ago so the standard competition is very high.”
Going in at the break four points behind, the Emmet Óg player had a few words of wisdom for his team-mates.
“First we took a few minutes to think of our own game. Then I said to them to forget about the first half. We knew we didn’t play to our potential in that half and to go out and give it 100% in the second half and have no regrets at the end of the game.”
It took Longford a while to get a grasp on proceedings, as they struggled with Cavan’s physicality, but they persevered with them and that paid off in the end said McCormack.
“They are a very good side. They’ve won Ulster twice and been to an All-Ireland final as well. We did struggle in the first half with their movement in the forward line and even their backs pushing up. Once we got to grips with that and upped our work-rate we were well fit for them. It showed in the end that our perseverance paid off.”
The captain had words of praise for his manager who guided Longford to their first piece of silverware in his first year as U21 boss.
“Eugene (McCormack) is a very passionate GAA man. I think it showed in us today, especially in the second half. He is an inspirational manager, without a doubt. He really gets the best out of players and really gives you confidence to go out and express yourself.”
In recent years various Longford teams have shown a never-say-die attitude to grind out wins. McCormack admitted that attitude has been with this group of players since their Leinster Championship winning campaign of 2010.
“It’s something that’s been with this team. We got together in 2010 with the minor team; this is the same team that won a Leinster title. We have never given up. I remember games against Kildare and Westmeath in the Leinster championship and it has followed on this year. I really hope if we keep the perseverance and never-say-die attitude. There is big things for this team.”