Ken Furlong watching Offaly and Meath on Wednesday night.
Offaly manager Ken Furlong was devastated but proud after watching his side go agonisingly close to a famous victory over Meath in the 2020 Leinster Minor Football Championship final in Mullingar on Wednesday night.
The Tullamore man was still coming to terms with a heartbreaking 1-7 to 1-6 defeat when he spoke half an hour after the final whistle. He was honestly philosophical, admitting that Meath were just marginally the better team but pointing out to missed Offaly chances and stating that they could have won.
“It was going to be devastation or elation tonight. I am hugely proud of all these lads. They gave it everything they had. You could say they made a lot of mistakes but they left their heart on the pitch and you couldn't ask for more than that.”
Furlong spoke about the guts that Offaly displayed and rued a few missed chances. ““They had chances. They hit the outside of the post there at one stage and they hit the side netting. There are fine margins and football and you have to take the good with the bad,” he said.
He agreed that Meath might have been just that bit stronger over the 60 minutes. “They are a good side and they had two strong men at midfield. We didn't play quite as well as we can but we gave it everything and I am so proud of the players. I would have been proud of them no matter what the result but they really gave it their all. I am bitterly disappointed for the lads. They gave their heart and soul. We have thirty lads on the panel and they put in a massive effort. It is just sickening that they came up that little bit short but that's football.”
Now Furlong has to regroup this year's minor football squad for the 2021 championship. A number of this year's squad are still underage and they play Dublin in O'Connor Park on July 10. The respect between management and players was obvious as players went out of their way to thank Furlong as they made their way out of the dressing rooms. “We will regroup now. We had been focused on this. We had the two groups (2020 and 2021 panels) working separately and we will now focus on this year's one,” he concluded.
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