WHEN Wicklow went on that memorable qualifier run in 2009, John McGrath missed out with a broken collarbone.
In Micko's final season of 2011, he was absent again, this time undergoing treatment for leukemia, involving four cycles of chemotherapy.
Little wonder then, that he attaches greater significance to every time he gets to play for the Garden County. "Every game is an All-Ireland final for us," McGrath said ahead of Sunday's visit of Longford. "Especially after being relegated from the league (Div 3), we are coming in and nothing is expected of us so we can play off the cuff and we will definitely have a good cut at Longford. We are not going to shy away from it."
JIM McGUINNESS has named the same 15 that started last September's All-Ireland SFC final victory for Sunday's grudge match with Tyrone (4.0), despite major doubts over a number of his players, fuelling suspicion of a 'dummy' team selection.
Questions remain over Karl Lacey, Frank McGlynn and Mark McHugh but all are named although if Lacey does play, it will be his first competitive action for Donegal since the All-Ireland final after hip surgery.
Meanwhile Mickey Harte has handed SFC debuts to 'keeper Niall Morgan and corner-forward Connor McAliskey .
Peter Harte and Stephen O'Neill both return to form Tyrone's attacking spine, having recovered from the hamstring and ankle injuries respectively that saw them miss the league final defeat to Dublin.
TYRONE (SF v Donegal): N Morgan; PJ Quinn, C Clarke, C McCarron; Justin McMahon, Joe McMahon, C Gormley, C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh; Matthew Donnelly, P Harte, Mark Donnelly; M Penrose, S O'Neill, C McAliskey.
DONEGAL (SF): P Durcan; P McGrath, N McGee, E McGee; A Thompson, K Lacey, F McGlynn; N Gallagher, R Kavanagh; M McHugh, L McLoone, R Bradley; P McBrearty, M Murphy, C McFadden.
GRIMLEY: I'M SORRY
ARMAGH manager Paul Grimley has taken the unprecedented step of issuing a public apology to supporters of the Orchard County following last Sunday's defeat to Cavan.
In his statement Grimley says he is "sincerely sorry for the hurt I have caused, I met with the players and management and I conveyed the same in what was a very positive meeting."
Grimley has since been involved in a public spat with RTÉ pundit Joe Brolly over the tactics he adopted for the defeat, prompting the Armagh manager to consider withdrawing co-operation from the public broadcaster.