Niall Kilcrann may have calmed down by the time he talked to the Observer following last Sunday’s Connacht Ladies Intermediate Championship Semi-Final loss but there was no doubting the Leitrim manager’s anger at the final whistle.
Kilcrann confronted referee Seamus Regan to complain about his time-keeping while many Leitrim fans felt that the Green & Gold Ladies were denied a penalty but by the time he talked to the Observer, Niall expressed only disappointment.
“It is very disappointing,” said Niall, “I’m gutted for the girls. We were winning the game, we were out of the game, a draw would have been a fair result but look, we didn’t get it. I’m gutted for the girls, unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of time to dwell on this.
“We have Wicklow next week in the first round of the championship. The least these girls deserve is a Connacht Final but unfortunately that’s not going to be the case.”
Niall did, however, feel that not enough added time had been played after a long stoppage for an injury to Sligo keeper Emma Cullen – “There was a lot of injury time there. We were told there was 19 minutes when play resumed and I have it here on the stop-watch, 17 and a half minutes were played.
“There is no point in saying anything different, the watch doesn’t lie and the referee just didn’t play it. When players are having a bad day, players are having a bad day. When referees are having a bad day, referees will have a bad day.
“He was very quick to blow in the first half for a penalty, he didn’t blow in the second half. That’s just the luck of the draw, some days referee decisions will go with you and other days they won’t but we cannot blame the referee here today or say the referee is at fault today.
“We didn’t go and win the game and each and every single of one contributed to us not winning the game. We just have to pick up and carry on, we have Wicklow this day week in Arklow and that is what the attention turns to now.”
Niall also felt that Leitrim had cope well with losing Shauna Clancy to a yellow card in the first half – “The team had to work hard when you lose a player. You can go three or four points down which can happen the best team in the country, the girls will always fight back.
“That is one thing about this Leitrim team, they have serious fighting spirit which is wanted in a lot of teams but you don’t see. After halftime, we knew Sligo were going to come back at us and chip in with a few scores.
“I’m absolutely gutted for the girls, it is heart-ache for them because they deserve to be in a Connacht Final, they’re working hard. They have the All-Ireland championship but everyone wants to be in a Connacht Final.”