It is a brave man that will face the media and try to put words to his pain after last Sunday’s shattering loss in McHale Park but George Dugdale, never known for shirking a challenge during his playing career, didn’t flinch from facing the media.
True to nature, George felt that the final score-line did little justice to the effort a young Leitrim team had put in this year – “As they say, goals win games. The final margin didn’t reflect the effort we put in.
“For large parts of that first half, we competed really well, two or three lapses in concentration where they had overlaps and they ended up with goals, it killed us. Going in eight points down at halftime was a tough station.
“Even with the first goal, we had a man down injured but we recovered from that to a large extent but the second goal was a killer blow and it was very hard to lift things.
“We tried hard but the boys there never gave up, but we were always fighting a losing battle and when things like that happen, the last two goals put a bad reflection on the game.”
Not one to offer excuses, George wasn’t seeking solace or offering false comfort – “Shane Moran was injured and Wayne McKeon was injured, they were two further set-backs but hold on, that is the difference between division one and division four.
“If you make mistakes you get punished and we got punished badly today for moments of indecision and over-laps that they created.
“We were under no illusions as to the difficult task we had today, they have huge strength in depth in their panel, they’re playing from Division One. Their aspirations are All-Ireland Finals, our are Connacht Finals but it is hard to compete.
“I’m disappointed and devastated for the boys because they have put in a huge effort since last January, they worked really diligently and its disappointing the margin because it doesn’t reflect all the huge effort they have put in.”
Picking the Leitrim lads up for the Qualifiers is not going to be easy but the Mohill man believes that there are targets for the Green & Gold to aim for.
Asked about the difficulty in picking up his troops in the next week or two, George said “That’s out jobs as managers. We hadn’t thought about the Qualifiers, we were looking to get today over first and then plan from here.
“That’s our next task, to regroup, refocus and see where we can go from in the Qualifiers. It is a very young team so I suppose a decent run in the qualifiers would help us. I don’t think Leitrim have ever won a game in the Qualifiers so it is another step forward if we can win a game.
“It is a young team, there were positives out of the game and the final score-line doesn’t read well. There were some fine performances and obviously when we got so far behind, we were chasing the game and the final score-line made it look a lot worse than they actually are.”