Longford senior football manager Padraic Davis. Picture: Declan Gilmore
Longford senior football manager Padraic Davis is an optimist. Although without a number of players for their Leinster quarter-final clash against Kildare on Sunday, for him it’s all about getting the best out of the panel of players he has at his disposal now. He doesn’t bemoan the situation he finds himself in.
Davis said: “We are very happy with how we are going. The lads could not do any better, to be fair to them. There is a great buzz around the place. We can’t really ask for anything more than that. They are giving us every last thing that they have. Sometimes when you are getting that sort of commitment, results take care of themselves.”
This year has seen the return of Barry O’Farrell and Colm P Smyth to the Longford squad. With a lot of young players on the panel this year, Davis is delighted to have players like O’Farrell and Smyth and others to help bring on the new lads.
“It’s hugely encouraging. We have some of our older players who have had a fantastic year, as good as they have ever had. They are driving the whole thing. Particularly lads that haven’t been there last year; Barry O’Farrell, Colm P Smyth John Keegan and their form is encouraging. The lads that have been there all the time have just kept it going.”
The Longford boss had a large panel of players for both the O’Byrne Cup and league campaign and this has come in useful ahead of the championship.
“We have lads who have been involved all year and will remain with us. They have performed excellently and have taken it up another notch. They are giving everything for the cause. With the help of God we put in a big performance against Kildare and get the result.”
With players like Darren Gallagher, Conor Berry and Rian Brady unavailable for Longford, Davis is confident that others will step up to the plate and make a name for themselves.
“It’s a great opportunity for lads to get in there. They have been doing the business. They kept us in Division 3 of the National League. We feel from that point to this day they are improving all the time.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s game Davis knows if his side put in the performance they are capable of producing he feels that they can defeat Kildare.
“We hope that we would have a real chance if we put in a big performance. First and foremost we must make ourselves competitive and then secondly give ourselves a big opportunity of turning Kildare over.”
Dublin or Louth await the winners in the Leinster semi-final. The target for Davis is to beat Kildare, then think about the Dubs if that happens to be the case.
“Last year we had to beat Meath; we hadn’t done it in years. That was our target. This year it’s Kildare. They are traditionally the number 2 or 3 in the province. This is what it’s all about. Can we beat Kildare? That’s our target, to beat Kildare.”