Leitrim manager Brendan Guckian. Photo by Willie Donnellan
Eradicating mistakes is the message Brendan Guckian and his management team will be hammering home this week ahead of Saturday’s trip to Carlow.
Leitrim suffered a 3-16 to 3-10 loss to Laois last Sunday and the Leitrim manager saw enough in the performance to give him home. But Brendan Guckian also stressed that his team must cut out on their own mistakes.
“The first ten minutes of the first half, the first ten minutes of the second half, that was effectively what killed us,” remarked Brendan, adding “I suppose for 60% of the game, we played good football, created chances. Missing the penalty in the first half wasn’t ideal obviously but we kicked 3-10 which has to be a positive. The other side is what we conceded, it is a problem.”
Errors and turnovers are killing Leitrim as Brendan revealed “It is our own mistakes. We highlighted it after the Antrim game, I think overall we gave away 44 possessions in the Antrim game and I think it would have been pretty high today, up around the 30 mark.
“Even if we could halve our own mistakes because when we make our own mistakes, we are literally handing scores to the opposition. So a lot of it is in our own control and it is something we have to work on again on Tuesday night to limit our own mistakes.”
And Brendan firmly believes that the talent is there in the Leitrim ranks - “It is there, it is in them, I keep saying the football is in them, it is just to get it more consistent because we obviously can’t keep conceding what we are conceding.
“Because that is a major problem, we are giving teams the advantage straight away. That was evident today, letting Laois run at us and literally stream-rolling us through the middle again and we need to stop teams doing that.”
And the Leitrim manager paid tribute to the impact the home team’s supporters had on the game - “I spoke to them about the reaction of the Leitrim supporters, particularly in the second half when our backs were to the wall, the supporters got behind them and gave us a lift.
“That was great and very encouraging and what I want to do is to give supporters more reason to be cheering and supporting us.
“For 60% of the game, we went toe to toe with Laois and I thought we challenged them very well, we created another couple of goal chances and maybe if we had got one or two of them, the scoreline would obviously have been different.”
Contrary to what many might think, Leitrim’s players viewed the game as an opportunity lost according to their manager - “We targeted Laois today and we came with the intent of winning today and we didn’t do that.
“They are disappointed and rightly so, they should be disappointed. And they are hurting and rightly so, they should be hurting but having said that, we have to collect ourselves again, dust ourselves down, go at it Tuesday night and prepare for Carlow.”
With the games coming quick and fast, Brendan was pleased with the depth his panel showed as they suffered the blow of losing Mohill’s Shane Quinn due to injury in the lead-up to the game - “Shane Quinn unfortunately was injured, that obviously wasn’t through choice.
“There are a lot of lads pushing hard for places and I thought everybody that came in today worked hard, did a job. Dean McGovern didn’t start the last day, he did today and I thought he did very well.”
Next up is Carlow and Brendan hopes his team go for it - “The last two games have obviously been difficult and we played the best two teams in the Division. We improved from the Antrim game to today and obviously we’d be hoping that we improve again for next Saturday. We obviously have to go at Carlow, again maybe throw off the shackles and go at them and see what happens.”