Padraig McCormack believes Longford are producing good quality players and that they must target league promotion to improve

Deniese O’Flaherty

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Deniese O’Flaherty

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newsroom@longfordleader.ie

A bad start to the game proved costly for Longford, that’s according to defender Padraig McCormack who was speaking after their defeat by Tyrone in Round 2 of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifiers on Saturday evening last.

Longford were dealt a big blow in the first half with the concession of two soft goals in the space of eight minutes that set Tyrone on their way to victory at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.

Also read: Longford manager Padraic Davis laments concession of early goals that enabled Tyrone play the game on their terms

McCormack said: “We had a very bad start and we probably needed to start well against Tyrone to give us a bit of belief as the game progressed. The two goals were unfortunate. A bit of luck with the first one and then the second one materialised. That’s football I suppose.”

Although they were chasing the game from an early stage, Longford never gave up and fought until the end; scoring 1-3 in the closing minutes to leave just four points between the sides in the finish.

“We kept going to the very end. We have a strong bench there as well and the lads that came on contributed and have done so for the whole championship campaign.

“One thing we can say about the team is that there is good heart there. The game possibly was up but we kept plugging away and showed good quality near the end and kicked some good scores. It’s encouraging to finish the game on a high,” commented McCormack.

This defeat though will mean nothing for Longford if they don’t learn from it and the mistakes that they made.

Playing against top opposition will only help them, said McCormack. “They were All-Ireland finalists last year and were pressing us the whole time. We need to be getting up into Division 2 and competing against these teams on a regular basis to bring ourselves on.

“I do believe Longford are producing good quality players every few years and the only way we are going to get better is against this calibre of opposition. It was a good learning experience against Tyrone.”

With plenty of young and enthusiastic players joining an experienced group there is a good mix at the moment in the Longford set-up.

The Killoe man said: “You have a lot of players between the ages of 24 and 27/28. There is a good few years in this team and we have some great young players coming on like Joe Hagan and Iarla O’Sullivan. All pushing hard for places on the team.”

The season may be over for Longford but McCormack is already looking ahead to next year.

Padraig felt Longford not having their strongest panel to pick from didn’t help their league campaign and stated that the aim for 2020 has to be promotion.

“All of us in the back of our heads have unfinished business this year. We felt we didn’t have a full hand going into the league this year.

“We need to get our act together before Christmas and then put ourselves in a good position to start Division 3 with the hope of getting promoted. That has to be our aim next year.”

Also read: Holders Longford march on to Leinster Minor Football Shield Final with an emphatic win over Louth