The post-Dublin blues: 'Guys drift away thinking, "Is that what you're training for?"'

Suffering a hammering at the hands of the Dubs can be hugely debilitating to the victims, says Longford's Michael Quinn
The post-Dublin blues: 'Guys drift away thinking, "Is that what you're training for?"'

Something to aim for: Michael Quinn of Longford poses for a portrait during the Tailteann Cup launch at Croke Park in Dublin. Pic: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Michael Quinn has highlighted just how devastating a massive Championship defeat to Dublin can be, revealing how many of his Longford colleagues quit in disillusion over the years.

Ex-Aussie Rules player Quinn lined out for Longford teams that lost Leinster SFC games to Dublin by 27 points (2015) and 19 points (2018).

Scarred by the experience, Quinn says many Longford players didn't return the following season.

"Some of those games against Dublin, I don't know what our track record is the following year but the drop-off rate the following year (is large), guys thinking, 'Hang on a minute, is it worth hanging around for that?'," said Quinn.

"There's everything that builds up towards those Dublin games, there's loads of people interested in it, there's probably a bit more publicity than other games. It's building up to it and it's set up nicely but it's set up for the fall inevitably that happens and that's the knock-on effect for the next six weeks after, the next year after, guys drift away thinking, 'Like, is it worth hanging on? Being on a county squad for that? Is that what you're training for?'"

There's no end in sight to Dublin's provincial dominance and both Wexford and Meath suffered the sort of morale shattering beatings in recent weeks that Quinn is referring to.

The Longford captain believes the new Tailteann Cup competition can at least offer a fresh challenge to players from Division 3 and 4 counties following heavy provincial losses, and allow them to refocus on a competition they can realistically do well in.

Longford's Tailteann Cup campaign begins at home to Fermanagh on Saturday afternoon.

"That's what you're hoping for, that it's a competition that, realistically, every guy that's involved believes it's something they can win, whether it's this year or next year," said Quinn.

"Sam Maguire, even the provincials, don't exactly give you that at the moment. This is a step in the right direction."

With the right promotion, Quinn reckons it could even be a competition that teams pencil in at the start of each year to win.

"Now you can start talking about a two or three-year plan, 'Okay, let's go after the Tailteann Cup, let's go after Division 3 and if we get promoted we can push on the following year in Division for the Sam Maguire or the qualifiers'.

"Obviously there are little tweaks that will come and which need to be made but any improvement to some of the results that have happened to myself and Longford and other counties in the past, to promote development, is what I'd love to see and I'm hoping to see in the next few years."

Longford were redirected into the Tailteann Cup after a 3-13 to 0-14 Leinster quarter-final defeat to Westmeath.

"We're at a stage now where I think we've the third most players played in the National League this year," said Quinn. "I think it was Cork and Dublin were ahead of us. So we've a lot of young lads coming through and the only way to develop and to continue to improve is by playing games."

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