Graham: 'Performance was not good enough'
While Cavan earned a six-point win over London, manager Mickey Graham was very honest in his post-match appraisal as he admitted that Cavan’s performance, overall, wasn’t up to scratch.
“Job done,” he agreed, “probably a bit frustrating at times, some of our play. There was a strong wind in that first half and we took shots on that weren’t on and we gave them oxygen to stay in the game and they were quite comfortable going in at half-time with only a point in it. “In the second half, the lads stepped it up, pushed it out and got comfortable again, got sloppy and started to kick the ball away and they punished us.
“But look, as I said, you’d be very disappointed in some aspects but, you know, just delighted to get a result.”
There were four points between the teams when London rattled in their second goal approaching the last 10 minutes. While Michael Maher’s side were well set up to attack on the break, Graham identified Cavan’s errors as the root cause for most of London’s scores.
“Most of the counter-attacks were coming from our turnovers. We committed bodies, we got into an attacking shape and all of a sudden, somebody takes a wrong option and kicks the ball away and you’re caught out of position. That’s what happens.
“You look at Paddy Lynch, he goes in, fists the ball, it comes off the post and all of a sudden, it ends up in the back of the net (at the other end). You look at Johnny McCabe, he kicks a pass, it hangs in the air and gets knocked away and it’s a goal the other side. That’s just pure bad decision-making and lack of concentration. It’s not good enough and better teams will punish you.”
With the squad getting stronger over the next week or two, Graham hinted that there may be changes to the starting team.
“Lads are returning from injury and there are lads chomping at the bit to get in there. We kept them to eight scores today, we scored 18 ourselves, we set a target of 20 for today and we didn’t hit it. As I said, some lads will be looking across their shoulders because we have a number of lads returning in the next week or two and we have two weeks till the next game. Nothing is guaranteed now so hopefully that will keep lads on their toes and keep them focused.”
At the time of conducting the interview, Graham had not spoken to full-back Padraig Faulkner, who went off injured.
“Not yet, no, but Padraig does have troubles with the ankles at times so hopefully it’s nothing serious because Padraig has been very good for us all year. The only thing now is we have two weeks till the next game so hopefully that’s enough time for him to tidy that up.”
There was no point dressing things up: to win the Tailteann Cup, Cavan need to get better, he said.
“We’re still looking to improve. We have a lot of improving to do. We’re looking to try and put 70-minute performances in, we feel that at the moment we are only playing for 20 or 25 minutes at a time.
“The further you go on, it’s not going to be good enough so we still have a lot of work to do, a lot of improving to do.”
Graham confirmed that Jason McLoughlin, Dara McVeety and Conor Madden will all be fit for the next game against Offaly.
We just need to get back to work next week and get re-focused, we know that there’s bigger games coming.