Manager Niall Kilcrann may have felt that his team needed a bigger lead at halftime of last Saturday’s TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Semi-Final but there was no doubting his pride in the effort that Leitrim delivered in Leahy Park, Cashel.
By John Connolly
“It was always going to a titanic battle,” Niall told the Observer, “We got a good lead at halftime, we didn’t underestimate it at all at halftime, we knew that nine points wouldn’t be sufficient. We knew that for every point or two that Cavan got, we were going to have to get another one or two.
“We did well to level the game and then in extra-time, they went four points ahead. We were happy enough they were only four points ahead but then they drove on, they made one or two runs through our defence and that it. It was the little things in extra-time that got them over the line.”
The Leitrim manager refused to indulge in any questions of “what if”, particularly in relation to Leitrim hitting the post in the last minute of normal time – “If that had gone over, if the game wasn’t in Cashel, if it was a little bit closer to home, you have all these things you can look back at and say that they were things you can look at.
“The game is really what mattered and I’m proud of the girls, I’m proud of the way they’ve conducted themselves, not only here today but since January, they’re a very united bunch of girls.
“Justice hasn’t been done here today, they’re not getting the right result. Cavan, fair dues to them, they got the little breaks today and that is what has them going on to the All-Ireland Final.
“No score-line would do justice to this Leitrim team here today, no score-line will show the work and commitment that has been put in January, February and March, all the strength and conditioning, all the runs, all the hard nights down in Annaduff, all the League games, no score-line will ever do justice to this Leitrim team here today.”
As for playing with the wind, Niall revealed that Leitrim planned to take the wind in the first half – “Cavan decided to play with the wind in the first half so we had no option but to play with it but we were going to play with the wind in the first half so it worked out in our favour.
“Nine points up, we would have liked to been more, definitely four or five wasn’t going to be enough but we set a target of ten points ahead at halftime and we were very close to it. We knew at halftime it wasn’t going to be enough, we knew we had to drive on and get scores.
“We brought it to extra-time but Cavan shone in extra-time and that was the difference.”
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.