After watching his side lose a Leinster semi-final that was there for the winning, Laois U-21 manager Pat Roe was understandably disappointed that their campaign had ended without ever really taking flight.
Adam Ryan’s unfortunate sending off was a massive turning point in the game but Roe also pointed to a wastefulness in front of goal as a major factor in Laois’ defeat.
“We kicked six balls into the goalkeeper’s arms and the players know that that’s not good enough,” insisted Roe afterwards. “I think the sending off did have a huge part to play. What happened was unfortunate for him and it was unfortunate for the team. I have no doubt he was provoked in some way but it’s up to him not to react and he did react.”
Yet despite Ryan’s dismissal, Roe felt that his side still could have won the game.
“We still had a chances. I certainly wouldn’t fault our lads for effort because they worked really hard. Unfortunately we had to take Donie Kingston out of midfield because he was very dominant there but we had to try and manufacture a goal. In the last five minutes we started trying to go for goals when points would have done because we still had time.”
As for his own position, Roe made no commitment as to whether he’d like to be in charge again next year. “I’ll see - I just take it year by year. Maybe people will have their own idea of what I want to do. It’s up to the county board. It’s disappointing but that’s championship football. Every day could be your last day. We didn’t expect today to be our last day - we prepared very well.
“I really feel for the players. From my own experience of intercounty football, for a lot of the players it’s the last time they’ll play for Laois. That’s the nature of it - not everyone comes through to senior.”
By Steven Miller, Leinster Express