Louth 'keeper Una Pearson during Saturday's Lidl NFL Division Four semi-final at St. Tiernach's Park, Clones. (Pic: Warren Matthews)
Louth manager Darren Bishop referred to his side’s league semi-final mugging by Antrim as “a lesson learned”, but remains hopeful of a long summer as the Reds bid to finally make it across the winning line.
The Cremartin man watched his team offer up a four-point lead in added time at St. Tiernach’s Park to eventually lose by six after extra-time.
However, Bishop commended his players’ efforts in a high-scoring affair, which saw Antrim qualify for next month’s Division Four decider against Fermangh.
“It’s a lesson learned. You look at it and say that you can never switch off against any team in any grade. We switched off for a second and they got a goal,” Bishop told The Democrat.
“Without the couple of key girls that were missing, it does make it that bit more difficult, but the couple of girls that came in really did try their best and as I said to them in the huddle, you can’t ask more of a team after 80 minutes, you can’t criticise a team after playing in that type of heat. They tried their very, very best. Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on our side.”
The Wee County were minus Sarah Quinn, Deirbhile Osborne and Aoife Byrne through varying reasons and upon their return, Louth will undoubtedly be stronger by the time the Leinster Championship begins in June.
Indeed, Bishop is optimistic about the year ahead, insisting Saturday’s defeat won’t define his charges’ campaign.
“It’s difficult at this stage to think about it (the championship), but we’ll sit down and chat about our training schedule; the girls have club games now to play which are very important.
“We’ve to manage the couple of injuries we had coming into the game and chat during the week about our plans for the championship, which does come quick enough.
“You want to have a similar sort of team, definitely. Those couple of girls who were out, they’ll hopefully have their injuries cleared up by then and we’ll have them back involved which would be a big plus.”