Personal plaudits meant little to Kevin Conlan last Saturday evening as despite hitting a superb 1-2 against Laois, the St. Patrick’s Dromahair clubman stressed that Leitrim would learn from the heart-break of their Qualifier loss in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada.
“I’m gutted to be honest,” said Kevin when asked for his reaction, “We really put it up them but if we are to be critical, we had them on the rack and they got a goal just before halftime which was a killer. You can’t really blame anyone, they got the luck of the break.
“We were still in front and in control and we had a good chat at halftime, we said we need to stop an onslaught early in the second half but they seemed to win every ball at midfield and came slowly back into it.
“I think we nearly got the game back under control but they went ahead and we struggled to come back. We really felt that there was nothing special about Laois, we had no baggage about them, we’ve never played against them, never had hard defeats so we just took the game as another game.
“That is what is disappointing, another year over when we really should be looking forward to watching the Leinster Final tomorrow, meeting Dublin or Meath.”
For Kevin, his tally was 1-2 from play was a stunning contribution but the Dromahair man rejected any talk of personal accolades – “The goal just opened up, the scores are a bonus, we were working hard as a team, we had a system in place and the scores are a bonus.
“I don’t really care who gets them as long as the team gets them. That’s great but to be honest, it is all about the result.”
Neither was Kevin too pleased with the decision of the referee to award a late free in favour of Laois – “I think a little decision at the end, a turnover for a free-kick, really went against us. We within a kick of the ball but when they were two points ahead with a minute to go, we couldn’t get a break.”
Kevin was bizarrely substituted and then reintroduced after a mix-up on the sideline and while it had unfortunate echoes of two years ago when the Dromahair man was brought on as a sub and brought off, Kevin feels that the experience of Hyde Park and over-coming injury is all a learning experience.
“You learn and to be honest, you’re learning every game and I’ll learn from the experience. Days like last week against Wicklow are what you play for, why you train pre-season, why I played during the winter with the college.
“It is a pity we couldn’t go an extra step but we’ll learn from it, we have to close these games out. They are a Division One team, I know they were relegated, but they’ve been playing quality opposition all year. At the end of the day, they’re nothing special and we need to learn from it.
“It is a very young team, we’re close knit and we’ll be back and like I said, we’ll learn from it and we’ll be back next year.”