MARTIN Horgan's disappointment was palpable but his message was clear.
"There is no 'can we be come back'; we will be back next year, let me make that very clear. We are going to give fellas six weeks off and then bring fellas back together and start maybe a month earlier for next year. We will be back, mark my words," was the defiant parting shot from the St Kierans manager as he say his team exit the county championship in somewhat inexplicable circumstances. As ever, though, Horgan analysed the scene and came up with clear answers.
"We can't concede four goals and expect to win a county semi-final," Horgan conceded, but he struggled with fact that his side outscored the opposition on points by almost three to one and still lost.
"4-5 to 0-14, in my eyes that's fourteen scores to nine scores. We set ourselves up to stop Dingle. We have worked so hard over the last couple of weeks and we genuinely knew that Dingle would not beat us by kicking points. They didn't beat us kicking points, they didn't even kick half of what we kicked in points, but they scored four goals. We worked hard to stop them scoring goals but it didn't happen. We never once underestimated Dingle but I think what today proved is how good a side they really are. We knew they were exceptional but I think they rose above that today.
"The dressing room (after the game) was really like a funeral today, that's really how tough things are in here at the moment. We came in, we sat together and we said that nobody was at fault. We started out together on January 28, it was initially a three-year plan. To get to a county semi-final in our first year, we didn't expect it. We didn't let it daunt us, to us it was just another step on the learning curve," the Castleisland man said.
But the goal? How could a team with so much preparatory work done, and with some pretty talented defenders in there, leak four goals, some of which were schoolboyish in their concession?
"The goals we conceded were sloppy. For me, watching in from the sideline, it was down to a lack of communication. It wasn't our collective defensive unit, that was working, it was just a lack of communication at certain times.
"It was still just five scores to four at half time (3-1 to 05) and we came in at half time very confident. We said if they didn't score a goal in the second half then we would win that game. We missed a penalty ourselves, and again you can't miss penalties and expect to go on to a county final."