Winning may mean everything in today’s world but even a third successive FBD Connacht League victory didn’t entirely please joint manager Brian Breen who was far from happy with the performance delivered by his charges in Ballinamore last Sunday.
“Happy with the result,” Brian told the Observer, “but I suppose that’s all we’re happy with because the performance didn’t come up to the standard we felt it should. It is something we have to learn, something we have to deal with in the sense that we had the favourites tag. We seem to thrive under the underdogs tag, we seem to up our game for that.
“Today we were clear favourites and I would just put it down to attitude, especially the first ten or 15 minutes, our attitude was very poor. Sometimes your work-rate can drop in the last ten minutes, you put down to tiredness but in the first ten, 15 minutes, it definitely wasn’t fitness.
“It was just a poor attitude problem, we have to just learn because if we want to play at the standard we want to play at during the League, there are games that we are going to be favourites, especially if we have a good run. And if we can’t deal with the favourite tag, we’re going to be in trouble. It was something new to us today, we’re not often favourites.”
Brian denied that Leitrim had trained hard in the lead-up to the game – “We prepared no different to any other game, we went in with the approach exactly the same as the last two days, we wanted a great performance today. We got the result but we weren’t happy with the result.
“I thought GMIT showed some great battling features today, they got hammered in their previous two games which is hard to see after that performance there today. We kind of fell into the trap of saying do we stay with the same team or try out different fellas.
“We had fellas like Paddy Maguire who was working nights this week so that gave Sean McWeeney an opportunity. We wanted look at Cian Reynolds today and there were others we wanted to have a look at so we achieved that today, it disturbed the pattern today, it possibly did but we learned a lot today.
“ We showed great battling qualities, we didn’t look like we were going to lose today but the Rolls Royce performance we were looking for didn’t happen. If we want to call it a wake-up call, it doesn’t matter but the worst possible scenario was to win by 20 points today and go into the Final.”
As for next Sunday’s Final and a possible preview of a Connacht Semi-Final in the Summer, Brian was non-committal – “Of course, it is a long way off and whatever team both of us put out on the day, there is a lot of football to be kicked between now and June. We’ll see how it goes.”