Following their shock 2-13 to 1-13 win over last year’s Ulster champions Monaghan in Clones on Saturday evening last, giantkillers Longford will now bid to conquer Cork in their quest to reach the last 12 of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship for the first time since 2006.
The great news is that the Round 3B qualifier will be played at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday next (throw-in 3pm) and that is certainly a big boost as the county attempt to knock out another of the teams that played in Division 1 of the National League this season.
In the aftermath of the memorable wins away against Ulster opposition Down and Monaghan, the hype is increasing all the time and the excited Longford supporters are expected to turn out in huge numbers to witness the next chapter in this amazing success story.
Inspirational manager Denis Connerton has revitalised his so committed squad in more than making amends for the bitterly disappointing defeat against Offaly in the first round of the Leinster Championship back in May and the general opinion is that the current Cork team could be in a vulnerable state after suffering a surprise setback against Tipperary in the recent Munster semi-final.
But the 2010 All-Ireland champions scored a comfortable 2-12 to 0-10 win over Limerick in Round 2B of the qualifiers last weekend and Longford supremo Connerton realises that there is still a lot of quality players in the Cork squad.
“While home advantage is massive for us, we are facing a physically strong and very experienced Cork team littered with players who have won All-Ireland medals and All-Star awards. They will be coming to Longford in the belief that they can get their season back on track and we will need to repeat if not better the magnificent performance against Monaghan.
“We all know that Monaghan had one class act in Conor McManus but Cork have several stars and any team that can afford to leave Daniel Goulding and Paddy Kelly among the substitutes (v Limerick) must be a formidable outfit.
“Apart from the powerful presence of Alan O’Connor at centrefield, their strong attack is potentially lethal and our defence will need to be extremely tight to contain such constant threats as Mark Collins and Paul Kerrigan,” stated the very cautious Connerton.
Collins (0-5) and Kerrigan (1-3) inflicted most of the damage against Limerick and according to Cork manager Peadar Healy as many as six goal chances were squandered in that game.
Denis Connerton is around long enough to know the score and the need for his players to keep their feet firmly on the ground after the high of that wonderful win over Monaghan.
“We are very much the underdogs yet again but I have no doubt that the lads will give it their best shot and let us see where that takes us as we continue to box above our weight. Hopefully, the Longford supporters will pack out the restricted capacity of Pearse Park in getting right behind the team on Saturday,” concluded Connerton.