In the build-up to last Sunday’s County Senior Final Longford Slashers manager Denis Connerton worried about how his side would perform after a four-week gap between their semi-final and final.
He did feel after the game on Sunday that the break did affect his side but admitted he couldn’t take anything away from Killoe and was full of praise for them. “I thought that in all sincerity Killoe were the better team but the four week break didn’t do us any favours at all. I felt they were a lot sharper, hungrier around the field, they won the midfield battle and I felt that they kicked some simple enough opportunities wide. We are delighted to be still in contention for the championship title. The way we played, we possibly should have been beaten,” he told the Leader.
Slashers did have a chance of claiming a dramatic late winner right at the end. Stephen Phillips was on the attack but referee Derek Fahy blew up before the third minute of additional time was up. It angered the Slashers players and supporters but Connerton didn’t make too much of that decision. He said: “I wasn’t aware of that. I wasn’t looking at the time to be honest with you. To be fair it would be very silly of me to blame a referee for the manner in which we played. I’m more responsible for the way we played than what the referee done. I’m training the team and coaching them. I felt we didn’t play well. We weren’t allowed to play and we must give Killoe great credit for the manner in which they played.”
Connerton was well aware of the threat that Killoe posed for his side before the game and knew if Slashers were to claim their third title in a row they would have to play well. “I said it numerous times before the final that they are the only unbeaten team in the championship. This is a Killoe team that will win so many championships. We started well but as the game progressed Killoe got into it. Five minutes from half-time we were leading by three points but then Killoe kicked three points to make it four points apiece. Then we got the last score before the break. In general we were outplayed by a better team and we have to accept it. Sometimes it isn’t what you want to accept but today Killoe were a better team than Slashers.”
Although disappointed about his side’s performance the Slashers boss took one huge positive out of the game: “We are still there in the battle for championship honours,” he said. “We are delighted with that. Maybe that was as good as we are able to play at the moment. A better team stopped us playing and really deserved to win. We got to hold our hands up and give them praise where it’s due. They nearly pulled off the double; winning minor and the senior final draw. Killoe have got a terrific underage system and some very good players coming through.”