Judge hoping Reds can learn from debacle
IT was no time for spin, or rhetoric, or excuses, and as is his wont, Eugene Judge wasn't offering any.
The dust had barely settled on Louth's embarrassing 13-point defeat to Wexford, and while it was a death by a thousand cuts over 60 agonising minutes, the result still came as a shock to the Newtown Blues man.
'To be honest with you we have no excuses,' he told reporters after a lengthy post-match team huddle. 'We always felt coming into today that we would find out what we are made of and to be honest and truthful we got a bit of a lesson overall.'
Wexford were the better team. Hungrier, stronger, fitter, more organised and thoroughly deserved thier victory. The final margin might even have been greater.
'We were cleaned out in the middle of the field. Their touch was first class and they were winning the breaks, they were probably more committed than us. You could sit here and nit-pick all you want, but we struggled in nearly every area.
'At this level when you fall behind heads start to drop and lads start doing their own thing and everything goes out the window and that's what happened. I thought Wexford played really well and they made us look poor to be fair.'
Luckily, minor football is a notoriously volatile environment.
No-one is expecting Louth to bounce back and win a Leinster title, but nor should we be too surprised to see the same fifteen players turn up at the same venue next Wednesday night and send Longford packing.
Judge, Eamonn Dunne and Ken Rooney will have their work cut out to lift morale, but no-one is doubting the talent at their disposal.
'The problem in this county is that we hype up players and at this level you get found out. We were found out today and we paid the price for every mistake.
'But we're still in it and we won't have too much to say to them in that dressing room, the lads know themselves. We're a team and it's what we do next that counts. Hopefully we can rectify it. The managament have a bit of soul-searching to do as well - I probably won't sleep for a week after that!
'Look, I would have expected more from the lads today, but I believe there is more in them, they are a talented bunch. But you have to show heart at this level and you cannot afford to make the mistakes we made today. We tried to get that across to them, but you have to live it, and hopefully now that they have lived it they will come back better players.'
While he was clearly reluctant to make excuses, Judge hinted that Louth football is falling behind the pack - and not just the Dublin's of the GAA world.
'We knew coming in here that the standard is extremely high. I think that at this stage, in football terms, Wexford are ahead of us now.
These guys are the future of Louth football, whether we like it or not. We need them to learn from this and take it to the next level, because as a county we are a long way behind in terms of preparation and all that.
'We had lads put under pressure to play for their clubs last Sunday, six days before the game. We can't stop that, but clubs have to realise that you have to look at the bigger picture or we will never go anywhere as a county or make and impact at any level.
'This is light years ahead of even going out to play with your club at senior league level, because the guy that's on you is just as good as you and he thinks just as fast as you.
'But look I'm an optimist and I think anything can happen. It went wrong for us early on today and we were cleaned out and there was no way back.
'But we are where we are now and we have to move on.'