Speaking after watching his side slump to defeat in the All-Ireland quarter-final, it was understandable that Leitrim manager Pat Costello was bitterly disappointed but he was also proud of the effort put in by his players.
A four point victory for Kildare gives an indication of how competitive the encounter was but Pat was fair in his assessment when he acknowledged the better team had emerged victorious.
“We were beaten by a better team, they are division two, we are division 3. We will learn a lot from it and hopefully the girls will rally together again and stick with it.”
Reflecting on the game, Pat couldn't hide his disappointment but he was also very proud of the performance, particularly the manner in which his team responded to an incredibly slow start. After Leitrim scored the opening point of the game, Kildare then hit back with an unanswered 1-5 but Leitrim showed great character to keep battling.
“We had a tough challenge but we fought really hard and gave it our best shot. We conceded too many frees early on, it took the girls a while to settle down but once we got back into it I thought we did fairly well until the last five or six minutes.”
Reflecting on those opening stages Pat noted, “When we lost the 1-5 we could have put down our heads and walked off the pitch but we didn’t do that. We fought to the bitter end and got back into the game and the girls stood up the cause.”
Attempting to put his finger on where it went wrong from a Leitrim point of view Pat stated, “We thought we would be a bit more consistent and move on but we just weren’t today.
“A lot of our selection was poor and a lot of the ball that went in was a bit short or a bit long. It was hard for Aine and Michelle and Roisin to get their hands on it but they tried their best.
Leitrim's year may have come to an end and after three years in the hot seat Pat is stepping down from his role but he is doing so with many good memories.
“It’s been a very enjoyable year, we missed a few chances in the Connacht Final, we had two Connacht Championships before that.
“It was very enjoyable and it is hugely disappointing that it is over but we gave it a fairly good shot.”