One of the game’s most positive and upbeat managers, even Niall Kilcrann was left deflated by Leitrim’s Ladies shattering 13 point loss to Waterford last Sunday in Birr.
“Totally disappointed,” Niall told the Observer, “We knew we’d have to up our game big time, we watched these guys on Tuesday night play Armagh. We knew we’d have to up our game but they upped their game even more and we weren’t allowed play.
“The girls tried their hardest but it just wasn’t good enough. I’m disappointed for the girls because it is not a true reflection of what the team is and what they’re about. Unfortunately, this is where the train stops, this is where we finish up.”
Agreeing that Waterford had done a good job in negating the influence of Aine Tighe, Niall felt that Waterford’s two goals were the key - “I don’t think too many managers are going to leave Aine Tighe unmarked in there. They did have their home work done.
“We were six points down at halftime, we started off well in the second half but they hit us with a few sucker punches. From there on in, as hard as we tried, we just could not get our heads around it.
“It is hard to watch your team for the last seven, eight, nine minutes of that game and know that we are out of our depth. At no times during the year has that happened but unfortunately today, that was the case.
“They’re playing Division 2 and it is going to be more competitive but at the end of the day, they were stronger than us, played better football and the scoreboard doesn’t lie.”
No more than the Senior Men’s team, Leitrim have suffered badly through emigration and Niall felt it played a part this year - “We’ve been hit very hard, Anna Conlan, Sarah McLoughlin, Michelle Glancy to name but a few and unfortunately, there are probably a few more to go. You can’t afford this big turn-over of players.
“There is a good youth system in Leitrim, there are good underage players but the work situation, if they have to go, they have to go. It is hard to take, there are a whole lot of factors at play today but emigration is one thing you can put your finger on.”
Niall, however, is not sure whether he will be involved in plotting that future - “I don’t personally know because it is not something I thought about because I hoped to be back out training on Tuesday in Ballinamore.
“Whatever decision I make, I’ll be letting the girls know first. I’ve given it my all and the girls have given their all back. I can’t ask for anything more, they are an absolutely incredible bunch of players. They given Leitrim a great boost, they got to a national final this year.
“As regards my own future, I honestly don’t know, I’ll have to talk to the lads and see but work has a big part to play in it. The future of Leitrim football is the girls who are on the field there today, it is not Niall Kilcrann.”