Leitrim U17 manager Gene Bohan has hit out at the refusal of Mayo and the Connacht Council to grant his team a postponement of Wednesday night's Connacht U17 Championship encounter in Elverys MacHale Park.
Leitrim suffered a heavy 4-20 to 1-8 defeat in Castlebar but only trailed by six points early in the second half before Mayo turned the screw with an avalanche of scores to secure a 21 point victory.
Leitrim had sought a postponement of the game on the grounds that five Leitrim players would miss the game as they were travelling to New York with their families to support the County Senior team against New York next Sunday. But all appeals for a new date were rejected by Mayo.
And there was no mistaking the annoyance of the former Leitrim and St. Mary's Kiltoghert star when quizzed about the subject after the match with Bohan insistent that his team were not making excuses after a defeat - "We’re not looking for excuses but in fairness when you are missing five lads, four of which would have started tonight, it doesn’t make it easy. We have a panel of 27 and, out of that, we have four injuries as well as the five lads who are in America."
Giving some of the background to the issue, Gene revealed that Leitrim had requested a postponement of the game as far back as January - "We flagged the fixture we thought was a problem in January, Connacht Council were let know in January and the vibe we got at that stage was there would be no issue, it will be sorted, it will be changed. As it progressed, there didn’t seem to be anything happened."
And the Leitrim manager was particularly annoyed with a reported remark from the Mayo management team when they were approached to see if an accommodation could be reached - "Then Mayo were approached to see if they would do us a favour and seemingly the comment that came back from the Mayo management was that they were just using it as a training session, a warm-up to the Roscommon game next week.
"We didn’t take kindly to that comment either and listen, I think Connacht Council could have been a bit more accommodating as well. The game was originally fixed for Friday the 4th. From Friday, there is seven weeks until we play Roscommon. I think the game could have been fitted somewhere in those seven weeks.
"We gave them two options where we thought it was an option to play the game. Even with the second option, there was still a week and a half, two weeks before the Leaving Cert started which they claim the Leaving Cert starting was an issue in it.
"The whole age group was changed from U18 to U17 to take the whole Leaving Cert out of the equation so we don’t understand why we couldn’t have been accommodated somewhere in between."
And Bohan feels that Leitrim may have to change their attitude towards accommodating other counties in the future - "Maybe that is part of our problem, maybe we are too accommodating, maybe we have to learn from this and dig our heels in in the future.
"We’re not looking for favours, we’re not looking for anything like that. We’re just looking for a little bit of fair play as well and it just reeks a little bit of the wee county over there in the east of the Province which doesn’t really matter. That’s what we take away from it."