"After training there’s tea and sandwiches, and that rotates around every family in the parish"
James McGivney left the Longford panel during the League last year.
He had no other option.
See, he's a full-time farmer and January, February and March are a farmer's armageddon with ewes lambing and cows calving. It's all hands to the pump and the farm wouldn't survive without him.
“During the league is very hard because I’m a full-time farmer and that was our calving season,” he said at an AIB event recently.
"One night, we were training up in Dublin and that’s like a five or six hour round trip for me. That’s a lot of time away and especially in the calving season.
"That particular night, there was a dead animal because there was no one on the farm. So that really pushed me to take a break for a while until the calving season calmed down."
A couple of months ago, Mullinalaghta, a parish of only 350 people beat Kilmacud Crokes to win the Leinster club final and now they're preparing for an All-Ireland semi-final against Dr. Crokes.
"We’re a fairly tight-knit community," says McGivney "The families in the parish have been great. After every training there’s tea and sandwiches, and that rotates around every family in the parish. That’s how united it is. It’s fairly unique in that way," he adds.
"Football is the only thing keeping the community together. If there wasn’t football, there’d be a lot of lads moving I’d say."
And the club story gets even more authentic.
"I’ve a brother, David midfield. There’s the two Rogers, the goalie and the half-forward. There’s two Mulligans, they’re on the half-back line. There’s five McElligots. Two of them are starting. There’s two Foxes, the full-back and the full-forward."
“It would it be very easy for them lads just to go and play where they’re living but, no, they just have such a commitment to Mullinalaghta...”@ConanDoherty speaks to Mickey Graham, managing the inspirational @OfficialLDGAA champions
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) November 22, 2018
Prior to 2016, St Columba's hadn't won a Longford senior title in 66 years. Since 2016, they've won three-in-a-row. The common denominator, Mickey Graham's arrival to the club.
I remember the very first meeting Mickey Graham had with us three years ago, he said these opportunities come in cycles of years. He had one with Cavan Gaels and he said, “you’re opportunity is coming now, and it’s up to you to take it”. We all bought into the cause that night and we worked really hard. Most trainings we came off the field, tight able to breath, tight sleep at night, you’d be that tired rolling and twisting in aches and pains," he added.
Mullinalaghta and Longford's James McGivney is pictured at Clanna Gael Fontenoy GAA in Dublin ahead of the AIB GAA Leinster Senior Football Club Championship Final where they face Kilmacud Crokes on Sunday, December 9th at Bord na Mona O'Connor Park. AIB is in its 28th season sponsoring the GAA Club Championship and will celebrate their 6th season sponsoring the Camogie Association.