Longford manager Glenn Ryan believes that the hurt felt after the bitter disappointment of the narrow defeat against Wexford in the Leinster Championship quarter-final replay inspired his team to a worthy win over Derry in Round 1 of the All-Ireland Qualifiers.
Ryan wanted to use that defeat as motivation for the back door route. “The Wexford defeat was hard to take. We had to turn it around and use it to our advantage and rather than feel sorry for ourselves we had to go out and bounce back. Thankfully it worked out.”
Derry scored two goals at vital times in the second half but Longford dug in deep and showed great hunger and desire to hit back each time. Ryan said, “Those goals gave them a lift and they could have been killer blows for us but we managed to rescue the situation.”
Sean McCormack was the main man for Longford, scoring 11 points, and his manager was full of praise for the sharpshooter but also the other players who performed their part in a memorable win. “We can’t say much more about Sean as he was terrific but so were the other lads. Sean’s return on the pitch came from huge effort and hard work both here on the pitch, in training and on his own. That’s the same as the other lads. That’s the ethic that’s there at the moment with the entire squad.”
The Longford boss has constantly praised the character of his side. The fight they showed on Saturday in the closing stages to pull away from Derry was what pleased Ryan. “They showed great resolve, great fight and commitment especially near the end. That’s the most important thing.”
Glenn Ryan remembered the late Brian Lynch, who passed away days before the Derry game, following an accident just before Longford’s Leinster Championship game against Laois at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in May.
“It was important to follow up the Laois game with a win after the accident that occurred just before that first round tie; men who were going to watch their county play. Brian Lynch was part of our thoughts before the Derry game and knowing he was looking down on us gave us the incentive to go on and win.”