Having spoken in last week’s Leitrim Observer about his hopes for the Leitrim U-21 team, manager Brendan Guckian was somewhat deflated when giving his post-match reaction shortly after the final whistle in Kiltoom that signalled the end of Leitrim’s interest in this year’s Cadbury’s Connacht U-21 Championship.
While the second half may helped raise Leitrim spirits, there was no doubt where the damage was done as Brendan said, “I’m very disappointed with the first half, we just didn’t compete.
“I said to the lads before that when they compete they can compete with anybody but in the first half we didn’t compete and we were badly caught out for the goals and the goals destroyed us and left us with an awful uphill task at half time.
“There was an onslaught from Roscommon for 10 or 12 minutes and we weren’t working hard enough out the field and they were getting easy ball into their forwards and their forward line destroyed us.”
Trailing by 13 points at the interval and with the game all but over as a contest, it can’t have been easy for Brendan to rally the troops and when asked what he said to the Leitrim players during the break, he stressed “Pride, just restoring pride in to the jersey. Restoring pride in themselves and restoring pride in the supporters who came to look at them and I think they did that in the second half.
“They outscored Roscommon 2-4 to 0-5 in the second half. As I already said when they compete as a team they are good enough to compete with the best.”
Such was the transformation in Leitrim’s performance after the break that they deficit was reduced to five points and Brendan felt that was a decisive part of the game. “We were running at Roscommon and had one or two chances go abegging to pull it back to four points and then Roscommon went down the field and scored again and that’s football.”