Former Cavan manager, Mickey Graham.

Aunt’s emotional tribute to Mickey Graham

A special tribute was made to former Cavan County Senior GAA manager Mickey Graham at last week’s meeting of the Cavan-Belturbet Municipal District.

Fianna Fáil’s Patricia Walsh, Mr Graham’s aunt, spoke of how immensely proud she was of the legacy he’d left Cavan football.

Mr Graham’s departure earlier this month came as a surprise as it was widely felt the Cavan Gaels clubman, who agreed a two-year extension as manager prior to last season, would complete that term.

A former Cavan minor team manager, who then went on to lead Mullinalaghta in County Longford to a Leinster title, Mr Graham took charge of the Cavan seniors in 2018 before guiding them to a first Ulster SFC final in 18 years the following summer.

Cavan went on to win the Anglo-Celt Cup in November 2020.

“To me he’s Michael,” said Cllr Walsh, who said that, as his aunt, she knows how “hard a decision it was” for him to take to step down.

“He’s a proud Cavan man,” she added, who from a young age always wanted to represent his county.

She said, as a family, they were so proud when he won an Ulster medal as part of the 1997 team. He then “did his best” for the county as manager. “He gave his all. He was a great ambassador.”

Cathaoirleach Áine Smith said that the 2020 win gave the county a hugely welcome lift at a time when many were struggling with restrictions imposed due to the Covid pandemic. “It really lifted GAA in Cavan,” she remembered.

Fine Gael’s Peter McVitty acknowledged that to be the manager of Cavan is “not an easy job”.

“If you win you’re great, if you don’t you’re in trouble.”

He too described the 2020 Ulster Championship win as a “momentous occasion”, and suggested that Mr Graham’s career in the upper echelons of the GAA was “far from finished”.

Cllr John Paul Feeley (FF) joined in the congratulatory praise, as did Cllr Madeleine Argue (FG) and Independent Brendan Fay, the latter of whom shared: “He’s left Cavan [GAA] in a better place from where he found it.”