Despite losing the Lory Meagher Cup Final, Longford captain Joe O’Brien is hopeful that the squad can stay together and mount a strong challenge in the competition and also the league next year.
“I said to the lads afterwards in the dressing room that we have had a great year, no one knows what happened today. We need to stick together because I think we can go on and win the tournament (Lory Meagher Cup) and step up in the league again next year,” he told the Leader.
O’Brien just couldn’t put his finger on what happened Longford against Warwickshire at Croke Park on Saturday last after coming into the final on the back of two excellent performances against Leitrim and Fermanagh: “We thought we put the defeat against Warwickshire earlier in the championship behind us and that we improved in the last two matches. Maybe we didn’t get hard enough games and I don’t know what happened with us. Hopefully it does bring us together and we will improve and step up for next year.”
Although disappointed to lose the final the Clonguish clubman admitted that it has been a good year for Longford hurling: “It has been a good year when you consider last season we struggled to field a team and were hammered in every game; at least we have a trophy now after winning the Division 3B league title.”
Joe is delighted that hurling in the county is starting to get the support and help that it needs to bring on the next generation: “It is supported very well now. Brendan Gilmore has come in as County Board Chairman and has done everything he can for us this year along with Hurling Board Chairman Michael Carrigy and both have been very good to us.”
O’Brien scored two points from play in the first half of the Lory Meagher Cup Final but was very tightly marked by the Warwickshire defenders who worked extremely hard to deny the Longford dangerman and he was closed down at almost every opportunity.
Even when Joe was switched out to the half-forward-line he continued to receive very close attention and thus Longford lacked any real penetration in attack.