For a man who used to hop-scotch the puddles as he played in underage blitzes as a boy at O’Donnell Park Rory Kavanagh would’ve felt the pain of defeat on his local patch more than most.
Although the St Eunan’s centre-fielder popped over a couple of nice scores against Laois in Donegal’s 2-9 to 2-6 National Football League Division One loss on Sunday, 29-year-old Kavanagh could barely hide his disappointment by the conclusion.
At one stage Laois led by 11 points and people started making their way out of the ground midway through the second half. Donegal were surprisingly lethargic and looked a little heavy-legged, although they did at least finish with something of an improvement.
“It was a poor performance and we’re very disappointed with it,” he said afterwards. “I don’t really know why but we’re not as fit as we were last year at the same stage of the season. We’ve a lot of work to do but at least now we have three weeks off before Cork come to Ballybofey and we’ll be putting in the work on the training field between now and then. We’ll not panic.”
Donegal at least showed a little face when late goals from Anthony Thompson temporarily stopped the surge toward the exits, it was Justin McNulty’s Laois that left with the points after essentially doing a Donegal on Donegal.
The Leinster side played a high octane game, based on fitness, physique and diligence at the back, while not being afraid to put the ball in long to their full-forward, Padraig Clancy. Donegal are missing a couple of key players, particularly in attack right now but Kavanagh was not using that as an excuse.
“We miss like likes of Colm McFadden and Michael Murphy of course, any team would but today we didn’t play like we could. The two goals at the end put a bit of a better gloss on things from our point of view and although the scoreline might suggest we weren’t too far off we know we have to improve a lot. Division One is a tough division and Laois proved that here today.”