As the Leitrim supporters drifted away from Pairc Sean MacDiarmada on Sunday last, after what was a very frustrating afternoon, the players who had been so positive in the build-up to the game were left to contemplate where it all went wrong.
By Philip Rooney & John Connolly
Understandably the players were shell-shocked and no more than the supporters were struggling to put their finger on just what had gone wrong.
Although he was ruled out with injury for the last two championship encounters with Roscommon, Emlyn Mulligan felt Leitrim were in good shape coming into the game but was quick to acknowledge Roscommon were by far the better team.
“It’s a hard one to put your finger on to be honest,” said a clearly deflated Emlyn, “Obviously it’s awful disappointing, this year above any year we thought we had enough in us to beat Roscommon. I thought we were more prepared than the last two years and the last two years were a closer result than today but we just didn’t turn up at all today.”
Played in front of a crowd of over 13,000 was a new experience for many of the Leitrim players and with expectations so high among the home supporters, Emlyn acknowledged the occasion may have got to some of the players, but was quick to add their were other factors that led to Leitrim’s downfall.
“I don’t know whether the big occasion got the better of a couple of us but our own mistakes, our own ball handling, we gave them a sight of scores in the first half and we handed them a goal. Maybe if we’d cut that out we could have gone in at half-time and it would have been a closer score, but listen, they are a good team.
“They have good forwards and in terms of physicality they are a lot bigger than us and it showed in breaking the tackle.
“It’s disappointing but we have to move on and take the positives out of Sligo. We’ve a very young team and strength wise Roscommon were far superior to us. We’re only young, we take every game as it comes.
“Maybe the hype about the Sligo win got to a lot of our younger lads and they didn’t know how to hack it and maybe that was one reason why we performed so badly.”
While he and his team mates were visibly upset with the result and performance, Emlyn was gracious in defeat and was quick to pay tribute to Roscommon.
“It’s very disappointing we trained very hard for it but we came up against a far superior team, a very well organised and I honestly wish them the best of luck and I’m sure they can go on and retain their title.”