Longford captain Dermot Brady says his men are under no illusion about the task facing them against Dublin in Croke Park on Sunday but they are looking forward to having a crack at the champions.
Brady is in his 15th season of championship football and has a few jousts with the Dubs under his belt so appreciates what they will face in Sunday's Leinster SFC quarter-final.
But the pig farmer from Carrickboy outside Longford town says they got a huge boost by coming from behind to beat neighbours Offaly 0-16 to 0-13 in the opening round.
He would love if Sunday’s clash was on in Longford but at the same time points out that every player in the country wants to perform at Croke Park.
“We weren’t looking beyond the Offaly game so we didn’t give it much thought but Croke Park is where everyone wants to be as a player, playing in the biggest stadium in the country. Look, it might be a small benefit to Dublin alright because they’d be used to playing there but that’s where every player wants to play, in Croke Park.”
Brady, having made his debut way back in 2001, was on the team when they hosted Dublin in 2006 and recalls it was a special occasion.
“I remember coming down to Longford that morning at half nine and the floods of Dublin supporters getting off the train and I said, ‘Jaysus, this is going to be a bigger day than I thought it was’. It was a great occasion, it was a real good sunny day. There was a big buzz around Longford and the only disappointing thing was we didn’t get the win.
“We were coming back but I think we gave away a lot of soft frees. That’s what kept Dublin in it that day, we just gave away too many soft frees and their experience got them over the line.”
This is the second year in a row that the Longford Slashers defender has been handed the captaincy by Jack Sheedy and he knows Sunday will be a huge occasion for the former Dublin player.
“He’s a great manager, Jack, and he has a bit of an insight into Dublin so it’ll be a big one for him if he could turn around and get us to get a win over them in Croke Park.
“Dublin are one of the best teams in the country. They’ve got lads on the bench that could be starting on any team. If there’s a fella not going great on the day they can bring in somebody else. They’re a serious team. They have a huge pick, compared to Longford like, they have a huge pick.
“We have to get up and get on with it and see where it takes us. When we knew we were playing Offaly again we said we weren’t going to give up the way we were beaten in the league final.
“I know we went down seven points but we just said to ourselves that day we weren’t going to give up until the end, no matter what happened, and lucky enough we kept in the game and we clawed the seven points back and we won by three so it gave us a great lift again,” added the 33-year old