Unbeaten in Leitrim all year, it was understandable that Melvin Gaels manager Billy Gavigan found it difficult to put words on his intense disappointment at losing the Division One Final last Saturday in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada.
The Melvin Gaels manager was quick to praise Annaduff for their victory but felt that his charges didn’t play as a team last Saturday - “I wish the boys from Annaduff the best of luck because they deserved to win it, they were the hungrier side. They were there in the final last year and they weren’t far away in the championship this year.”
But Billy’s emotions were quite raw - “I’m sick, totally sick. There’s no one to blame only ourselves because we lost the game. They didn’t play as a team, there were too many individuals out there.”
Reflecting on where it went wrong, Billy noted “After 10 minutes, we were six points up and then everybody wanted to be in the forward line. They were told to keep going the way they were going. When you’re up by six points, why do you change your system? Just keep going, we were winning with the system that we were playing.
“Everybody wanted to go forward and when it broke down there were gaps at the back. Our boys ran themselves into the ground in the first half.”
Billy admitted that the Connacht Club game six days previously may have played its role in their loss - “Last Sunday took a lot out of them. You could see it in the last 10 minutes, we were playing with 14 men and it’s very hard to win a game with 14 men.”
The dismissal of James Phelan frustrated many Melvin Gaels supporters but Billy did not believe that was the losing of the game, saying “We lost a man but before that we were in trouble anyway. They were the hungrier side, our boys were expecting to win it without working, you have to work.”