Football

Gearoid McKiernan surprised by Mickey Graham's Cavan exit

Gearoid McKiernanhas praised outgoing manager Mickey Graham
Gearoid McKiernanhas praised outgoing manager Mickey Graham Gearoid McKiernanhas praised outgoing manager Mickey Graham

CAVAN ace Gearoid McKiernan expressed his surprise that Breffni manager Mickey Graham decided to call it quits earlier this week – and regards him as “one of the best managers” he’s played under.

Graham informed the Cavan County Board on Monday he’d be stepping away from the Cavan senior manager’s post after five years at the helm, which yielded an Ulster title in 2020 and a runners-up place the year before.

The Cavan Gaels clubman leaves his native county in a good place, with a Division Two berth secured for the 2024 season.

“I was actually very surprised when I got the text and then the phone was buzzing after that,” said McKiernan.

“The last agreement he had was a two-year term, but maybe Mickey felt the time was right for himself to step away.

“But he owes Cavan nothing. We got to two Ulster finals and we won one of them. It was disappointing we ended up in Division Four, but we bounced back well to get back up to Division Two.”

Cavan suffered an early Ulster Championship exit to Armagh this season and were dumped out of the Tailteann Cup quarter-finals by Down.

McKiernan added: “It’s hard to put into words but Mickey knew how to deal with boys differently. He was a great man-manager and I couldn’t speak highly enough of him for what he’s done for players outside of football.

“He’d always be asking how things were at home. And his tactical knowledge, how he set us up over the last five years, he just raised standards. We didn’t perform well enough this season but that was nothing to do with Mickey or the management team because they put everything in place for the players.

“He’s one of the best managers I’ve played under. I learned an awful lot under him, and I had him as minor manager too.”