Daniel Beck summed up the emotions of the entire Leitrim team perfectly on Saturday evening last. When asked how he was feeling after the defeat to Laois, the Mohill clubman replied simply, “Tired and heartbroke.”
Having led for so much of the game and having come so close to recording a second shock victory in the All-Ireland Championship Daniel felt it was mistakes that cost Leitrim an historic victory.
“It’s heartbreaking stuff, to be so close. We were caught out by our own mistakes, a stupid goal. It seems to always happen but at least it shows we can put it up to the Division 1 and Division 2 teams when we really focus on it.”
Elaborating on why he feels Leitrim Leitrim were so competitive against Laois after already seeing off the challenge of Wicklow but were just a month ago beaten heavily by Mayo, the Mohill wing back commented frankly - “There’s no mental barrier with Laois.
“I think it’s definitely a mental barrier with the likes of Mayo or Galway. We seem to be able to match the Sligos and Roscommons. I don’t know, it’s heartbreaking stuff, but Carrick was an awful boost to us. It’s an extra man really.”
Praising the Leitrim support who turned Pairc Sean MacDiarmada into a fortress Daniel explained, “You’re feeling tired but your getting this roar from behind and you get an extra burst of energy.”
Enjoying a three point lead at half time Leitrim supporters were beginning to dare to dream of a place against either Meath or Dublin in the next round but while Daniel acknowledged it was a good lead he felt the concession of the goal shortly before the break was a real blow.
“It was a great lead but it was a killer, from our own mistake they got a goal. Cathal came out dropped it but there was no one sweeping underneath Cathal. It was one of those things but there’s nothing you can do about it now.”
Reflecting on the game Daniel felt a combination of the quality in the Laois ranks and the efforts of the previous week ultimately took their toll on the Leitrim team.
“We put it up to them but the bit of class came through in the end. They were able to kick points under pressure and we started getting tired. The game last week would have taken a good bit out of us.”
Reflecting on Leitrim’s Championship year Daniel agreed the county team is in a much better place than it was a month ago and if they can build on that next year with the return of some players and ensuring none of the current crop there is much to look forward to for the Leitrim supporters.
“Four games for Leitrim in the Championship is a good start and we can build on it next year and hopefully go further.
“It is definitely in a better place and hopefully there is no one emigrating. Hopefully we can get a few lads back, a few lads maybe coming home. There is a panel there but get a real strong panel, lads that have played inter-county football through underage and get a group with a winning feeling together.
“That was the problem in the past, it’s mental more than anything. We were far too used to losing but hopefully this year we’ve changed that and get a good run next year again.”