Graham wary of wounded Longford as Cavan seek first Allianz League win of the season
Allianz Football League Division Three North: Cavan v Longford (tonight, Kingspan Breffni, 7pm, live on GAA GO)
CAVAN boss Mickey Graham came to appreciate the pride that is awash in Longford football circles when he became a legend there a few seasons ago.
In 2016, 2017 and 2018, Graham guided Mullinalaghta to successive Longford SFC titles, tagging on a Leinster title in the latter year for good measure.
However, now back wearing his Cavan hat, Graham is hoping to wave his magic wand to knock a few points off the share price of Longford Football Inc.
“Obviously I know Longford football quite well and it’s a very competitive county and with a great sense of spirit and pride,” said Graham.
“I was surprised by the margin (0-5 to 0-21) of their defeat last weekend but Derry, like the other teams in the six counties, had that bit more time to prepare collectively than teams south of the border. Four weeks wasn’t enough preparation time for a National League campaign.”
The northern section of the regionalised Allianz Football League this year is proving to be a real minefield and an explosive second round derby game could well be in the offing tonight and Graham warned that Longford will be determined to atone for last week's heavy defeat.
“Any team well worth their salt will be hell bent on bouncing back after a poor result,” he said Graham
"So Longford and us won’t lack for motivation at Kingspan Breffni. They will be hurting this week but so are we and both teams will be out to rectify mistakes and put some points on the board.”
Cavan are 2/11 favourites to claim victory and rebound from their 0-14 to 0-15 setback to Fermanagh in their opening round tie but Graham says the fact that it’s a clash between neighbours and one devoid of supporters means that anything can happen on the day.
“When I was playing (for Cavan seniors) we never had it easy against Longford and even in recent years, their record against us is quite good. They have always held their own against us and they won’t be an easy opponent this time around either. We’re at home, alright, but with no crowd backing us up so any advantage balances out.”
Graham is keeping his fingers crossed that injured pair Thomas Galligan and Gerard Smith will be fit enough to come into the reckoning for tomorrow’s evening tie after missing out on the trip to Enniskillen last weekend.
The Cavan boss says he will be guided by his medical team but is “hopeful” that Galligan and Smith will get the green light.
“We will give both lads until the last minute to prove their fitness but we have to keep an eye on the bigger picture too. We’ve only one League game played, there’s a lot of football down the road to be played.”