HomeFootballJohnny Clerkin vows to ‘regroup’ his ‘devastated’ Louth minors for All-Ireland B...

Johnny Clerkin vows to ‘regroup’ his ‘devastated’ Louth minors for All-Ireland B championship


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The O Raghallaighs clubman watched his side lose their slender advantage, having led by four points midway through the second half, in injury-time to be denied a provincial decider berth by the minimum of margins at Pearse Park.

It was a cruel way for the Reds to go under having progressed from complete outsiders at the start of the campaign all the way to the last four, accounting for Westmeath, Meath and Wicklow along the way.

“They’re devastated,” said Clerkin.

“What you say to lads after something like that probably doesn’t resonate but there’s bigger days ahead for a lot of these lads and this is all part of playing on teams.

“You’ll generally lose more than you’ll win, unfortunately, but they’re a great bunch of lads and everything we asked of them, we got in spades. A couple of months ago, maybe we weren’t expected to be where we are but the games kept coming and the expectation of ourselves and around the team grew. Then we’re in a Leinster semi-final and just pipped at the death.

“You win or learn and, unfortunately, everyone involved will have to learn. I think one of the big advantages of being at home is when the momentum is swinging and you have the home crowd being you, it can sway it.

“The great thing about sport is the journey it brings you on and there are highs but, with the highs, there are lows and we’re all around long enough to know, in Gaelic football, there are many more lows. Last year was something similar in Offaly where they scored the winner with the last kick but we wish Longford the best.”

In both of Louth’s defeats – against Kildare and Longford – they lost influential midfielder Tom Maguire. His black card in the midlands came just past the hour, with the Reds up by a point.

Ultimately, though, failure to score after the 12th minute of the second half was what cost the Wee county victory.

“Going down to 14 and scrambling, you’re looking to plug holes and momentum is very hard to stop,” he added. They had the momentum at that stage, unfortunately.

“It’s hard to put your finger on why our scoring fell off. We maybe started to play the clock instead of the game and going from not making a mistake to making a mistake. There was a lot of pressure on young lads and nine of the team can feature again next year, so maybe there was a bit of naivety.”

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