No lucky 13 for Barden after replay heartache
THIRTEEN seasons into a lauded inter-county career and still no Leinster semi-final appearance, Longford's Paul Barden could be forgiven for being a little despondent yesterday.
With Longford having relinquished a three-point lead in the dying embers of their Leinster championship quarter-final replay with Wexford, Barden had a head full of regrets as he collected his Opel GAA/GPA Player of the Month award for May at Croke Park yesterday.
"This is 13 seasons. I've played three Leinster championship games for the first time but never have reached a semi-final, so that's really disappointing.
"We were expecting to give it a good run this year but we just left it behind us," said the Clonguish man.
"We had chances on both days against Wexford. The goal chances were really the killer. We were three points up and had a great chance to kill the game and just didn't take it.
"Wexford held their nerve fierce well, especially when four points down with seven or eight minutes to go.
"They kept chipping away and showed great composure. You have to hand it to them."
Longford have shown some solid qualifier form under Glenn Ryan -- most notably beating Mayo in the back door in 2010, while they pushed mighty Kerry hard in 2009.
That gives Barden reason to be hopeful, but he pointed out: "Those games came at home and we could get a real tough draw next week.
"Armagh are in the hat, you'll have Donegal or Derry coming into it as well. They will be the two toughest teams in it but, other than them, we won't fear anyone.
"I suppose when you're beaten in the championship you want to get a home draw to get the thing up and running again. We have to regroup. We have no other option. We've put in a big effort this year and we'll carry on doing that."