No excuses, no wallowing in pity, no blaming the referee and no feeling sorry for themselves, that is the blunt message joint manager George Dugdale delivered to his troops and the Leitrim public after last Sunday’s two point loss to Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds.
The bottom line is victory and George was in no mood for any platitudes – “I suppose there are positives but the bottom line is winning and two points and this is not the start we wanted for the National League.“
Before he spoke to the Observer, George delivered a blunt message to the players still gathered on the field – “Losers look for excuses, winners look for solutions” and it was plain to see that George believed that Leitrim had the chances to win last Sunday.
“We got back to within one with six to go,” said George, “and we made some very bad passes, very bad decisions on the ball, didn’t get back level but ultimately we paid the price for a very poor first half performance were our work-rate was non-existent to a large extent.
“If we had worked as hard in the first half as we did in the second, I have no doubt that the result would have been different. It is a learning curve, the boys have to put in 70 minutes of huge work-rate and for some reason, I don’t know why we didn’t work as hard in the first half but ultimately we paid for it in the end.”
The Mohill man agreed that Limerick’s first half tactics had made Leitrim work very hard but still pointed to poor work-rate on the Leitrim end – “That’s true but when we put pressure on the second half, we turned them over a number of times. The quality of ball going in at times was very poor, basically we were only in second gear and as I’ve said before, we have to play for a full 70 minutes and we didn’t.”
Nevertheless, George says that Leitrim have to put the defeat behind them and insists that all is not lost in the League campaign – “It is disappointing but we’ll regroup now in the dressing room, we’ll regroup at training this week. Our whole focus is on Clare, it is a new story, it’s a new day.
“We’ll be ready for Clare next Sunday because promotion is still in our hands, I don’t think any team is going to win seven games in the national league. It is in our own hands. There are some positive aspects, we have to build on them, rectify our mistakes, work hard this week and see if we can get the two points next Sunday.”