'Things didn't run for us on the day'
Wicklow Minor manager Kevin O'Brien probably summed up the mood in Aughrim last Saturday afternoon when he gave his reaction in the days that followed the defeat to Dublin.
'Very disappointing, very disappointing for the players, they put an awful lot into it. We came across a good Dublin team and we knew that coming into the game. I thought their touch was good, their skill was good, and their kicking was good.
'It's a bit of a compliment to Wicklow that they came down with an exceptional attitude, they weren't taking Wicklow lightly. Look, a few things didn't run for us on the day and you get matches like that, you know,' he said.
The Baltinglass and Wicklow legend said that the Dublin defence were sent out there to limit the effectiveness of Eoin Doyle and Matthew Ging and that they did that very well.
'They played a sweeper; I knew that their two corner backs were very good. They made a couple of changes before the game. Their sweeper wasn't the sweeper we anticipated; it was another guy who came back from injury. They were very strong, and they weren't going to let our guys up front, like we had three marking two at certain stages. Eoin (Doyle) and Matthew (Ging) were going to find it difficult at times because they were outnumbered at times.
'There was a bit of a breeze in the first half which we were playing into and at times we kicked when we shouldn't have had when it was three on two, but, look, they battled back well in the second half and they tried to the very end and we needed to get the penalty and we needed to get another goal chance; you have to take those goal chances against the likes of Dublin if you are to go anywhere. It didn't happen on the day but no blame to anyone, it was a huge effort from everyone, both parents and kids,' he added.
O'Brien has lots of hopes for the future with the players who will carry over to be Minor next season.
'There's eight under-16s there and six of them played. You go through any panel in the country and you probably won't have that amount. These young lads, the experience of this year will help them going forward next year. Yes, there's a good bit of talent there, they now know what is required to be an inter-county player and they are inter-county players. The commitment level is superb. Lads want to wear the Wickow jersey. Everyone gave their very, very best and there's a bit of consolation in that,' he said.
Regarding his own future, Kevin O'Brien said that discussion was for another day but that the job has never felt like work up to this point and that the management team is a very good one to be a part of.
'That's for another day. It's always enjoyable when there's 100 per cent effort. As I said last year it never felt like work. We have a very good management team there and we're the best of friends. It was always a positive dressing room and a happy dressing room. It's just devastating when you see young lads in tears when they lose, but they've nothing to be ashamed of. They're proud Wicklow men and it's good to see that people care again,' he added.