Crossmaglen Rangers will hit back: Joe Kernan
Joe Kernan has presided over some of the most momentous achievements in the history of Crossmaglen Rangers, but yesterday the first year of his second term as team manager ended in depressing defeat to Kilcoo in the Ulster club championship.
Yet far from garbing himself in sackcloth and ashes and wallowing in excuses, Kernan preferred to dwell on what he sees as the positives to emanate from a competition that has been of unusually short duration for a team that has dominated the provincial landscape since the mid-90's.
"I could not ask for more from the lads, they were out on their feet," said Kernan. "But make no mistake about it, this Rangers side will be back. They are hurting today and that's good because if they are not hurting then they should not be there.
"We will have players coming back from injury and there are other younger players coming through. As well as that, these players need a rest as they have been hard at it for four years without a break. You can go to the well too often, after all."
Kernan added: "Our use of the ball was very poor on occasions. We gave it away continuously and that was our fault.
"Kilcoo put it up to us and they were blowing us away at one stage but we came back and drew level.
"But when we got the chance to push on from there we were not able to take it."
And he acknowledged that Kilcoo's second and third goal had sounded the death knell for his side's hopes of a semi-final.
"There was no way back after that. We had nothing left to give," said Kernan.
* ARMAGH football selector Kieran McGeeney has accepted an invitation from Tipperary senior hurling manager Eamon O'Shea to join his backroom team for the 2014 campaign.
Former Kildare boss McGeeney will adopt a dual inter-county mandate next year.
It is understood that O'Shea will ask McGeeney to work on the mental aspects of preparation with Tipp.