Ryan laments what might have been

Longford manager Glenn Ryan was understandably dejected after he watched his side relinquish a four point lead against Wexford in the replay of the Leinster Championship quarter-final in Tullamore on Sunday.

Longford manager Glenn Ryan was understandably dejected after he watched his side relinquish a four point lead against Wexford in the replay of the Leinster Championship quarter-final in Tullamore on Sunday.

Ryan summed up his feelings in one sentence, “I’m devastated for the lads and very disappointed. What more can I say,” he told the Leader.

Longford dominated for most of the game but in the end were left to rue several missed goal opportunities. The Longford boss, although disappointed that his side didn’t get their goals, was delighted they created the chances. “All we can ask of the fellas is to put the work in and work hard and do their best to create opportunities. They did that. There is a fine line though between taking them and not taking them. That’s all that you can expect of them. We were a little bit unfortunate but they did really well to get in those positions. That’s the way football works out. We will take the rough with the smooth.”

The momentum was with Wexford when they began to cut into Longford’s lead in the closing stages of the game and Longford made a few uncustomary mistakes which were punished. Ryan said, “That happens in games when there is huge pressure on and there are tired legs too. It was just unfortunate the way it worked out and we were the wrong side of it. We had a couple of opportunities and we were still pushing forward. They hit us on the break once or twice and kicked some great scores and you have to give them credit for that.”

This was Longford’s first defeat in league and championship this year and the first time Wexford have beaten them in four meetings.

Ryan said they can take a lot of heart out of the defeat. “They will pick themselves up and they will go on again. They have responded to everything we have asked of them so far. No doubt they will be able to do that again. This defeat is a sickener and I’m sure when they look back on it, it will be with huge regret but the fact is they created a huge amount of chances and did very well to do that.”

Longford now have to prepare for the All-Ireland Qualifiers. Over the years they have put in tremendous performances and got some terrific wins through the back door.

Ryan is hoping for the same this year. “I would love to think the lads would put their heads down in the next couple of weeks to prepare for our next game. We will send them back to their clubs for a week and hopefully they will come back invigorated and ready to push on.”