It’s been hectic year for Mickey Graham. Overseeing Mullinalaghta’s march to a maiden Leinster club title firmly catapulted him into the limelight. Add to that his appointment as Cavan senior boss and for a while he had to keep two plates spinning.
But now his focus is solely on the Breffni cause and on Saturday’s Ulster SFC quarter-final against Monaghan.
Speaking to RTÉ GAA correspondent Brian Carthy ahead of the game, Graham made reference to a busy period in his management career and what he feels are the important attributes to make it as a successful modern day coach.
"The start of my inter-county career has been hectic, testing times I would have to say," he said.
"Mullinalghta preparing for an All-Ireland semi-final and Cavan starting their Division 1 campaign.
"Since the Mullinalaghta journey has come to an end, I started to find my feet at inter-county management and have definitely got to grips with things.
"It's not about how good a coach you are but how you manage players"
"Above all, it's all about understanding the group of players you have and bettering your man-management skills.
"That's the way the game has gone. It's not about how good a coach you are but how you manage players, how you talk to them. If you respect them, they will respect you back.
"At the end of the day, players are adults, they are not kids. You have to give them a bit of responsibility and hope that they react to that responsibility. By respecting them, you'd hope they'd give you the respect back. It works both ways.
"And now I’m against some of the best managers the GAA has ever seen - the Mickey Hartes, the Malachy O'Rourkes, the Declan Bonners. To be on the same pitch as them is an honour."
Even though Cavan were relegated from the top flight in the spring, their manager felt "we learned a lot about ourselves playing Division 1 football".
Graham and his charges are now relishing the prospect of facing Monaghan, with all involved seeing the Farney as a yardstick to what can be achieved.
"Cavan have been envious of Monaghan over the last couple of years after seeing them win Ulster titles and last year they were kick of a ball away from getting to an All-Ireland final," Graham added.
"And while we are envious of them we have to admire them as well considering the population they have and panel of players they have.
"They have set a standard and that's the standard we have to reach."
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