Longford go into today’s final round of games in the Allianz Football League knowing that promotion is still within their reach, but not necessarily in their hands.
Last week’s weather put to bed the meeting of Louth and Westmeath meaning that the two sides still have their Round Six game to play.
Mickey Quinn admits the confusion is very much real for the Longford players heading into Sunday’s crunch game against Westmeath.
“We’ve seven points so far and ideally we should have atleast eight, if not more, that was our aim, but we’re in a position now were we are safe in Division 3 and could still get promoted.” Quinn told Pundit Arena.
“We’re just trying to see what’s going to happen with Westmeath and Louth first. That kind of throws things up in the air and it doesn’t make much sense at the moment. I don’t know what their thinking is with not having it played by now, you need most campaigns to end at the same time, in fairness its done and there’s nothing we can do.”
It’s difficult to tell how successful a campaign this has been for Longford, you get the sense that how it’s viewed hinges on the outcome of today’s game.
Quinn admits that their aim has always been to get back to Division 2, but feels they have let themselves down with some of their results in 2019.
“The aim for us at the start of the year was always Division 2 and looking to get up there, but look, it was always going to be difficult when the Mullinalaghta guys pushed on, there was a good turnover in players as well this year and also new management and that takes a bit of time to get going.
“We let ourselves down against Laois and Down and probably the Offaly drawn game too. It was similar last year, little slip-ups in the league come back to bite you but I suppose that’s the thing it’s so tight, you are close to pushing for promotion and then all of a sudden, you’re just staying safe as well.”
Given his versatility, it’s difficult to put a finger on what position the Longford veteran is best-suited to. We’ve seen him cover everywhere across the middle eight and while he admits the ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ mantra can be looked upon as a negative, his only concern is what’s best for Longford.
“I suppose in one sense it can be an Achilles heel that I’ll just do what’s best for the team at the time and if that means playing centre back or wing back or midfield or centre forward I’ll do it, you’re a ‘jack of all trades a master of none’.
“I started off as a full forward all through minor and u21 growing up and then coming back from Oz a different physique, a different player, different fitness levels and I kind of used that.
“I think the way game has gone you have to be able to play different positions. It’s something that you would say to kids nowadays, it’s important for the kids to play different positions because the game is ever changing, you need to explore and try other positions because you can’t have just one position and that’s it.”
It feels like a lifetime ago that Quinn was plying his trade Down Under in the AFL. 11-years ago the Killoe Young Emmets man signed a rookie contract with Essendon before going on to become the quickest Irish man to make an AFL appearance.
Looking back, Quinn puts his rapid success down to his mindset and not being afraid to take risks. A youthful exuberance that he only appreciates upon reflection.
“I think it was my mindset, just get on with it, if it works, it works, if it doesn’t so be it.
“I think I took it in my stride and enjoyed it. That creativity that you can just go out and express yourself and do it and I think that sometimes you start drifitng back to the other side of things, the safe side and not taking risks.
“That’s the best thing about football when it’s played well, you know? Take risks and try things. If you don’t take some risks things won’t happen and I think that’s what happened with myself, I probably was a risk taker getting to play on the other side of the world and getting to play a sport that you’ve never played before you took a risk to begin with and I suppose that’s what it’s based on”
Quinn enjoyed his time in Australia, however, he admits that his love for the game dwindled following a tough year outside of football.
Despite winning Player of the Year for Essendon’s VFL side, Quinn never really kicked on and with a change in management coming in eventually found himself out in the cold.
“It probably kind of dwindled away in one sense that I had got Player of the Year in my second year for the VFL side and my contract was up so, I suppose looking back any guy that was getting Player of the Year for the second team you’d imagine he’d probably push it forward and get a contract but management changed and I only got another one year extension, a rookie contract.
“Ideally I should have been pushing on. If I knew then what I know now I’d probably have been looking for a two or three-year senior contract to give you that bit of breathing room to develop and grow, but it just kind of petered out that year with the change of management, I didn’t really fall into favour as much.
“Probably homesickness crept in as well, my two grandparents passed away that year and I just felt myself kind of drifting a bit on the outside of the club. It just headed that way and I was quite happy to leave it where it was then.”
Since returning, Quinn has thrown his lot in with Longford. He’s 29 now and still as pivotal to their cause as he was at 21. They say inter-county football is becoming a young man’s game, however, Quinn insists that there is plenty left in the tank.
“Hopefully I get moved back into that full forward line and stretch that career a bit longer,” laughs Quinn
“Look, I’m enjoying football a lot at the moment and looking around the dressing room, I’m the oldest by a good bit but I’m enjoying it and I’m going to keep going as long as I can.
“There’s a lot more mileage left in the tank yet, my body feels good so I’m not concerned about early retirement.”