Many would have taken solace from the seven point loss against Fermanagh last Saturday, considering the hammering the Ernemen inflicted on Leitrim in the League but hurling boss Martin Cunniffe was disappointed with the result.
“We’re disappointed,” Martin told the Observer, “We came to win, we knew we could do it. They got a soft goal in the first half and we found it hard to pull it back after that, going in five points down.”
And Martin predicted a bright future for Leitrim hurling in the years ahead – “I am proud of the lads, the 26 lads, they gave it their all here today and as I told them today, if they stay together, glory is not too far away. A few of them like Clement and Vinny McDermott, they are in their 30s alright but the majority of the lads are 22 or 23.”
Neither did Martin make any excuses by pointing to absent players. When asked about the fact that County Champions Gortletteragh had just four representatives on the panel, Martin said “You could point to the Beirnes but they didn’t train, they came to once or twice but lads like that, you have to do without them, it is no help if they don’t train.”
Analysing the game, Martin felt the Fermanagh goals cost Leitrim – “They began to get on top after 20 minutes and then there was a free for us that went into their hands, a short free and they got a goal and that was a definite turning point as far as I could see.
“They got that goal about ten minutes before halftime and our heads went down a small bit. We came here to win but still I’m proud of the lads, they did it all.
“We were happy enough with our first half performance against Tyrone, they are a division three team and we went in only four points down against Tyrone. And they got a soft goal before halftime as well. We knew that after playing Tyrone that we could take tea with the rest of them.”