Longford senior football manager Billy O'Loughlin pictured at the Tailteann Cup Round 1 North game against Fermanagh on Saturday last Photo: Syl Healy
In the aftermath of his side’s defeat to Fermanagh at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday evening last in the first round of the Tailteann Cup, which ended their season, Longford manager Billy O’Loughlin was not making any excuses.
“We had goal chances and didn’t take them, whereas Fermanagh took their goal chance,” the Laois native stated.
However, O’Loughlin was quick to point out the difference in the physicality of the two teams and the implications of that for Longford.
“When it comes to football, we will beat most teams in Division Three. However, I have been crying out for lads to focus more on the extra-curricular activity, such as strength and conditioning and nutrition.
“The counties in the higher divisions have been focusing on gym work for years.
“Sometimes the smaller counties can be behind the curve with regards to that. Fermanagh had too much power for us today,” the manager explained.
With Longford now finished their season at the end of May, the O’Byrne Cup next January seems a long way off. How will this time be used?
“The players will be getting programmes in strength and conditioning from Daniel Doherty (part of the backroom team) and will be tested regularly from October,” O’Loughlin explained.
The manager has pledged that the management will watch every club team in the county in action during the summer.
“We were relying on Eugene McCormack (selector) this season, as he knows all the players in the county. However, myself and Michael Hannon (coach) will get out to see a lot of teams during the summer,” he stated.
O’Loughlin made an appeal to players around the county to make themselves available for next season.
“I would be hoping that more players would put their shoulders to the wheel with the county. It isn’t a five-or six-day training schedule, we have given lads a lot of leeway,” he commented.
However, he was also keen to praise the players who did commit this season.
“I am absolutely delighted with the efforts of the players who committed. I have said this a few times, but we had a lot of 19 and 20-year-olds this year.
“We had Jordan Shiels coming in against Fermanagh, he has done a lot of work in the gym,” O’Loughlin remarked.
“The player pool is small in Longford, and it is difficult to compete sometimes,” the manager added.
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