Standing with his elbows on the advertising hoarding at the side of the Croke Park pitch, Louth captain Shane Callan had a few words for each of the Wee County fans that came down from the Hogan Stand to commiserate with him.
A smile and a shrug of the shoulders was the order of the day unfortunately. But Callan was feeling the hurt of his fourth defeat at the final stage all the same.
“I’m absolutely gutted. We thought this was going to be the year. But unfortunately it’s the same scenario again.”
For Louth it was the same problem which has occurred on numerous occasions this season – not putting in a 70 minute performance.
“You don’t make rash decisions at this stage, but if you look back at the first half. They came and they got the goals.
“We said we were going to stop them. But we weren’t able to.”
Yet the second half should be commended, as Louth came out and battled bravely to restore some pride.
For Callan it was the only silver lining on a very disappointing day, but the Louth captain was certain that this side will be back to compete at this level again and hopefully lift the cup.
“We can be proud of the second half though. We gave it everything and I’m proud of all the lads and it’s been a great year for me as captain. I couldn’t ask for anymore commitment, but we’ll be back.”
The inability of the Wee County to compete for a full 70 minutes had Callan puzzled.
“I can’t put my finger on it. It’s one of those things. We were lacklustre and we were second to every ball.
“It’s not a lack of hunger, because the lads wanted it and I know they wanted it. We were all in the same boat. We were all a yard off the pace in the first half.”
But even the second half performance wasn’t enough to undo the earlier damage
“We upped it in the second half, but it was too late,” shrugged the Pearse Og man.
Looking ahead to next season and how to pick up the team after their second final defeat in a row, Callan is looking at getting more lads involved in Louth hurling and growing the sport in the county.
“We’ve six long months now. We’ll go back to the clubs and reignite old rivalries again and we’ll give it a good go but we want to see more people coming into the squad.”
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