Definance may not have come naturally to most Leitrim people last Sunday evening but joint manager Brian Breen set the tone for his team ahead of this year’s Qualifiers, stating that now was the time for Leitrim to stand up and be counted.
Leitrim may not have ever won a Qualifier game but Breen is determined to pick his team up and regroup for a real crack at the Qualifiers - “We will regroup, take the week off and we will have a chat about the game amongst ourselves.
“It is up to the lads themselves whether they want to drag themselves back up after this defeat and I’m sure they will.
“The result is gutting at this time, but how and ever we are built of tough stuff and I’ve no doubt we will bounce back. We could play the poor old Leitrim card again, but we won’t and we need to stand up and be counted. I have no doubt that with the character that is in these players, that is exactly what they will do.
“This is something that we will just have to take on the chin and hopefully learn and move on from these mistakes.”
The former Leitrim star was keen to portray a positive attitude but admitted that the Green & Gold never receovered from the two goals Mayo scored before halftime - “Even at half-time coming in with an eight point deficit (2-9 to 0-7) was just something we could not recover from, mentally as well as physically.
“We were still in the game for the first 25 minutes and the plan was to keep us in the game for as long as we could an maybe ask questions of Mayo the longer the game went on, but that did not happen. We could not cope with them, we were not good enough on the day and it is simple as that.”
If the task that faced the Green and Gold wasn’t tough enough, Breen and fellow manager George Dugdale were dealt two more harsh blows when Wayne McKeon and Shane Moran were forced off through injuries.
Mayo, and in particular midfielders Barry Moran and Danny Geraghty took full advantage and found plenty of space through the spine of the Leitrim side after both players were forced off.
“They were coming at us in droves through the middle and we couldn’t deal with them especially after losing Wanye and Shane. Their second goal was a critical blow and along with losing key men at crucial times, who we couldn’t replace with players of equal quality.”