Tuesday 21 November 2017

Sheedy eager to avenge Model defeats

Longford manager Jack Sheedy
Longford manager Jack Sheedy
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

It's 26 years since Longford last reached the Leinster football semi-final but with home advantage for Saturday evening's clash against Wexford, there's real optimism in the county that a high-profile booking against Dublin or Laois in Croke Park on June 29 can be secured.

That offers the possibility of former Dublin star Jack Sheedy plotting against his native county, although such thoughts are not on his agenda this week.

Instead, the Wexford challenge is occupying all his energies as Longford seek to build on a championship launch which saw them beat Offaly by four points.

"We needed to be a bit more clinical but the important thing was to win and then work on areas where we have to improve," said Sheedy.

"Scoring 19 points was very pleasing in the circumstances. We had to work hard to get things right after being relegated (from Division 3) but the response from everyone was first-class."

It was Wexford who sentenced Longford to the drop, beating them by two points in a relegation shoot-out in the final round in Wexford Park. Coming nine months after Wexford also beat them (in extra-time) in the qualifiers, it has provided Longford with a powerful motivation.

"Hopefully, we've learned our lesson from that game," said Sheedy.

Having dropped from Division 2 last season, it was surprising to see Wexford flirting with relegation from Division 3 this year but then they have tended to do better in championship than league.

Longford lost to Wexford in the 2012 and 2013 championships but the games were so tight that the tiniest of margins could again prove decisive. Sheedy is hoping that playing at home could provide the energy to power them towards the last four in Leinster.

"Playing in Wexford Park gave Wexford an edge in the league so hopefully being at home will have the same positive impact on us on Saturday," he said.

"We created a lot of scoring opportunities against Offaly and have worked on a few things since then, so we're ready for a really big effort."

Irish Independent

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