Longford star Mickey Quinn: We can't go all guns blazing and die
MICHAEL QUINN'S prediction that Sunday in Croke Park will be part of "a learning curve" for Longford isn't exactly the sort of war cry any travelling supporters of a hyper-optimistic inclination might be seeking.
"Without playing the top four sides, you don't really know exactly where you are in comparison," he reasons.
Though similarly, those Longford fans of a more pessimistic disposition might argue that sometimes, it's better not knowing.
Because Dublin haven't, under Jim Gavin's watch, been inclined to stumble absent-mindedly through Leinster, preserving energy for late summer.
Gavin is a self-proclaimed traditionalist and even if any real satisfaction has been drained from the act of winning Leinster by the frequency with which Dublin have done so in the past decade, he has demonstrated a visible respect for - and put an obvious value on - winning Leagues and Leinster titles in his two-and-half years in charge thus far.
"This is my fifth year with Longford seniors and I haven't played a 'top four' team in those five years," Quinn says, revealing also that "a buzz of excitement," shot around their dressing-room in Tullamore when the venue and opposition of their next fixture suddenly dawned.
"So we have to view it that it is going to be a learning curve and there are going to be things that we are doing that we are doing right and things we might need to work on and do an awful lot better."
It goes without saying that Longford are the sort of outsiders that have odds attached to their chances customarily reserved for novelty candidates in elections, but as Quinn quite sensibly points out: "in 90 per cent of the games we play we are underdogs anyway, nothing has changed in that regard."
"Hopefully, if we address it with the right attitude and mentality, we can build on something in three or four years' time when those young guys come into their peak," he says, sounding both positive and realistic.
"We've talked about it a little bit already and there is no point coming this far and changing your game-plan completely to suit one game or go all our defence - 'park the bus'.
"That is not going to benefit you or you're not really going to learn a whole pile by doing that.
"Obviously, you have to be smart about it too and can't go all guns blazing and die-out as well," concludes the Killoe Young Emmet's clubman.
"So you have to get a balance right and a game-plan that works best for you."