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Longford goalkeeper Paddy Collum pictured at the Leinster Football Championship launch.

Longford goalkeeper Paddy Collum pictured at the Leinster Football Championship launch.

Paddy Collum encouraged ahead of Meath battle

By Cian O’Connell

Longford’s Leinster minor winning campaign in 2010 offered an injection of hope and now several players from that team are established figures on Dennis Connerton’s team.

Paddy Collum, the cool custodian, was one of the stars of that stirring success and believes that the midlanders can deliver at senior level.

The core of that successful outfit from eight years ago are heavily involved for Longford and Collum acknowledges it provides a source of optimism.

“Exactly, this year alone you can see the whole way up through the centre of the field is basically built around that 2010 team,” Collum says.

“It is good to see, they are coming on. We are looking forward to the Meath game, hopefully we can bring our experience of winning in Leinster into the Leinster Senior Championship.”

Longford have reserved their most effective displays for the All Ireland Qualifiers in recent years and that is something Collum wants to rectify by being more consistent in provincial action. “No doubt we have been poor in Leinster in the last few years and we will be looking to put that right this year,” Collum admits.

“In the qualifiers we don't have any fear, it is your last chance in every game you go out, you give it your all and hope for the best. We have taken down some big teams, but we would be looking to bring our qualifier performances into the Leinster Championship this year for definite.”

Glennon Brothers Pearse Park will provide the backdrop for Sunday’s contest against Meath and Collum is relishing the fact. “This is going to be a first for me and a lot of the players being involved in a Leinster game in Pearse Park,” Collum adds.

“I've never played a home game, it is going to be massive and enjoyable. Hopefully it will be a great occasion for us.”

Longford came close to securing promotion from an interesting Allianz Football League Division Three, but a late Fermanagh score proved critical.

“We were well in the hunt until the last 30 seconds in the last game,” Collum reflects. “A draw would have brought us to Division Two, but Seamus Quigley put over a big score at the end.

“We still had a good League. Compared to the last couple of years to be still in the hunt for promotion was something we hadn't done in the last few years.

“We beat Westmeath to stay in Division Three two years ago and we got a point up in Corrigan Park against Antrim to stay in Division Three last year.

“It was tough again this year and it isn't going to be easy next year. It is competitive. That is what you want - competitive games that tee you up nicely for the Championship.”

Collum feels there is a bit of belief in Longford once more following an encouraging spring and hopes that Connerton’s charges can make an impact in the coming weeks and months.

“The supporters got behind us during the League,” Collum states. “When we win games the supporters come out so hopefully the whole lot can fall into place on May 27 and they will all turn out to watch us play and hopefully we will get the win.

“We were in Markievicz Park in Sligo, we dug out a draw. It is something Longford teams for the last number of years with five minutes to go we would have shied away and probably fallen short.

“This year we have pushed on, even though we fell short against Fermanagh. To be there competing on the last day was massive. It gives us great encouragement going in to play Meath at Pearse Park.”

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