by James McMahon
The pain of defeat, albeit in contrasting circumstances, will be etched across the minds of players as they run out onto the field for this qualifier.
A flurry of late Wexford points ended Longford’s dream of Leinster progression in an absorbing replay clash, while Derry failed to put up much resistance in exiting the Ulster campaign at the hands of Donegal.
Which team can muster the ability to turn over a new leaf will go a long way to determining the outcome at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.
If the form guide for 2012 is anything to go by, then Longford would have to be favoured. The midlanders have played 10 games so far, with that heartbreaking loss to the Slaneysiders their only loss.
Derry’s league campaign was patchy and they only just survived in Division 2, while against Donegal their attack failed to function and Paddy Bradley had a testing afternoon and was well contained throughout.
Longford play an attractive brand of football and up front they have natural score getters in the shape of Paul Barden, Brian Kavanagh and Seanie McCormack. On their home patch, they are difficult to beat, as Dublin and Kerry have found out in recent years.
Derry will travel south, not exactly brimming with confidence, but the qualifiers has given them the means to salvage their season in the past. Twice, since the introduction of the back door the team has reached the All-Ireland semi-final.
That scenario is unlikely to happen this year, but a Derry side that is well primed would fancy themselves against Longford. To that end, more will be expected of the Bradley brothers and a midfield unit that was taking to cleaners a fortnight ago.
Both sides will not want to leave the championship at the end of June and this will make for a feisty encounter. Glen Ryan has turned Longford into an accomplished unit and on their home patch, they may just enough to edge past their opponents who surely won’t be as bad as they were in Ballybofey.