Mullinalaghta St Columba's manager Mickey Graham.
Mullinalaghta defeated St Loman’s at this stage in the Leinster Club Senior Football Championship last year and their manager Mickey Graham is hoping for a repeat result at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday.
“While we came in last year under the radar and maybe caught St Loman’s by surprise that element is gone now. They will know exactly what to expect on Sunday and will be gunning for us in seeking revenge so we are facing a tough game,” said the St Columba’s coach.
“You have to be on the ball when you go into the provincial championship. Did we learn from last year? Without a doubt. Did it improve us? Without a doubt. We learned from playing at a higher standard in Leinster last year. They realised the level they had to get to, to compete with those teams. Did it stand to us this year? It probably did. Have we played as well as we can this year? Eh, probably in patches.”
Graham thinks Sunday’s game will be totally different to last year’s quarter-final and also their most recent Leinster first round fixture against the Carlow champions.
“I would say St Loman’s have improved since last year. They have wiped the floor with everyone they played in Westmeath this year and will be coming to Pearse Park full of confidence.
“Our performance against Eire Og will not be good enough so we will need to raise our game and perform at our best.”
“It is great to play in front of your home crowd. It’s a big thing but St Loman’s will have no fear coming to Longford. The element of surprise is gone as we are no longer regarded as a soft touch in Longford.”
The focus for the Mullinalaghta manager is very much on his own side and getting their game right but he knows St Loman’s have some excellent players.
“They have lots of quality all over the field, some of the best forwards in Leinster, with Dempsey, Heslin, Casey and Sharry all serious threats.”
Graham believes that it could all come down to the forwards.
“Last year’s result is irrelevant; maybe we caught them a wee bit on the hop. We will just be hoping to put in a big performance. Will it be good enough? We will have to wait and see.
“You will see a totally different game where the teams will go at it and see who can outscore each other with a lot depending on what forwards can click on the day.”