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30 Nov 2021

Longford SFC Final: Mostrim manager Ray Hussey eyeing one more Harry Houdini act

Peter Hanley Motors 2021 Senior Football Championship Final on Sunday

senior football championship 2021

Ray Hussey, the manager of the Mostrim senior football squad Photo: Syl Healy

If Mostrim are looking for a Harry Houdini type character to lead them to Senior Championship glory this Sunday then Ray Hussey is undoubtedly it.

A little over two months on from taking over a team which had just endured a 14 point drubbing at the hands of Killoe in the 2020 Covid delayed senior championship semi-final, Hussey now stands on the brink of Edgeworthstown immortality as his side battle it out with Mullinalaghta St Columba’s in this year’s title decider.

The mid-Longford side’s dramatic change in fortunes was made all the more striking given Hussey’s managerial CV had not ventured outside the ranks of the club’s underage confines.

“A rule which came in at the start of the league meant we couldn’t field our two U-20s (Ray’s son, Tiarnan and Dario Ciligiano), five senior hurlers and one senior footballer (Darragh Doherty),” said Hussey.

“We only really had a panel of 23 and when you take eight players out of that, we were struggling for numbers and form.”

The departure of Dessie Dolan Snr and Gary Johnstone by mutual agreement followed soon after, leaving Hussey and Eddie Doherty to lead a squad both short on confidence and hopelessly out of sorts.

Despite his novicey exposure at senior management level, Hussey was still astute enough to realise help was needed.

In came current Longford senior ladies manager Brian Noonan and John Coyle, other local lads steeped in Edgeworthstown football tradition.

Fast forward the best part of ten weeks and suddenly, Edgeworthstown are back on a stage not witnessed since 1992 when Hussey himself was part of a squad which graced the county senior showcase.

“We just tweaked a few things here and there,” recalled Hussey, as he attempted to pinpoint his side’s sudden turnaround in form.

“Little things like going for a swim in Lough Owel one of the days and when you see fellas coming into training with a smile on their face, it can have a positive impact.”

The four wins and a draw which followed saw Edgeworthstown emerge from their group as table toppers to underline that new found sense of positivity.

The loss of Dario Ciligiano apart courtesy of a dislocated ankle and broken fibula picked up in training a couple of months ago, Hussey is hopeful of going into Sunday’s encounter with a full bill of health.

“They (Mullinalaghta St Columba’s) have been great champions,” he said, in reflecting on his opponent’s 2018 championship winning exploits.

“They put the county on the national map when they won the Leinster Championship. They are a small, united unit, a half parish but we are treating this as another game of football.

“We are just looking at our own game and we will see what they (Mullinalaghta) are like on match day.”

Seeing is very much believing and from what Ray Hussey has achieved  to date, it's a sentiment Edgeworthstown's answer to Harry Houdini has every intention of fulfilling this Sunday.

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