In a corridor close to the Roscommon dressing-room at Croke Park, a lone figure stands. It's Roscommon minor football manager Garreth Carroll trying to collect his thoughts, having watched his side lose an All-Ireland quarter-final (1-9 to 0-11 to Kerry) that they should have won.
"It's very difficult. I haven't been faced with losing a game all year. I'm very, very proud of our players. We got a great start but missed goals and that was probably the difference between the teams. We opened them up so many times but, in fairness to Kerry, they kept at it and kept at it," said Carroll.
"With about four minutes to go we were three points down but, typical of our players all year, they have character in abundance basically, they came back and came back. It just wasn't meant to be. Just one of those days, sport is funny. I wish Kerry all the best for the remainder of the competition."
Carroll acknowledged the missed goal chances in the first ten minutes came back to haunt Roscommon.
"There is no question or doubt in my mind, the better team today was Roscommon, without a shadow of a doubt. Kerry know that. I'm not belittling their victory; I wish them only the best of luck. Roscommon was the best team but at, the end of the day, the scoreboard is what matters and it didn't reflect for us today. Goals win games and they got the goal," he remarked.
The Roscommon manager didn't feel that the withdrawal of full-back Declan Barron through injury was a factor in the concession of the game's only goal.
"Our underage set-up is structured in a way that we provide a panel of players at minor level. The under-17 work that is going on in Roscommon basically ensures that we have 33 or 34 players that are all capable of starting for Roscommon. So if anyone comes off the field, I'm more than confident about the player that comes on. I haven't mentioned any single player all year and I won't start now," he said.
The Kilmore native admitted composure was an ingredient his team lacked on the day when it came to taking their chances, but he described his charges as "fantastic players" and said he was "very proud" of them.
"The main thing is that we have players who care and they want to play for the jersey. That dressing room in there; it will be a while before I forget it," he said ruefully.
"I think you'd have to be inside our set-up to understand the amount of work that these players have put in. There have been many times when Roscommon have been in the newspapers for the wrong reasons. We never once had to question these guys about their social activity. They performed impeccably on the field and off the field, and they are an example to any young player who wants to play football for Roscommon what's required to do it."
Carroll had no issue with the sending-off of Roscommon corner-back Philip Neilan. "I thought David Gough had a very good game to be honest. He let the game flow and he was consistent throughout the game. You often hear people criticise referees, we always coach and train on the basis that the referee does what he does and we respond to that. I thought the referee was very good; the GAA in Croke Park had a fantastic referee there today."
Carroll, his backroom team and the players have put a huge amount of work into the season, and their bitter disappointment was palpable after last Sunday's defeat.
When asked if he had enjoyed the campaign, Carroll became somewhat emotional. "Enjoyment ..." he wondered and, after pause for several moments, he continued: "It just consumes me. I've certainly enjoyed working with these players, not only working with these players but cobbling together a backroom team who have shown great loyalty to the players and to me.
"It's hard to enjoy it Ö the day in Tuam (the Connacht semi-final), I enjoyed that a little bit. When the game was over today, I was thinking how can I find an edge somewhere else and who can get that for me. But I enjoyed working with those players, they're savage players."
Carroll acknowledged that having won tangible silverware in the form of a Connacht title will provide some consolation when the players reflect on the campaign in the weeks and months ahead. However, he quickly added: "I think, being true, those players definitely wanted more and we realised that as the year went on and we tried to create an environment for them to do that. It just didn't happen today."
"There were set-ups there before - Fergie (O'Donnell) started it, Gary Wynne continued it on and Ross (Shannon). Our set-up maintained that template, we tweaked it a bit; we added our own bit of juice to it if you like. When Roscommon players go to (third level) colleges, people will look up to them and look after them which is different than the way it was before, and it's great to be part of that."
Given the fine minor teams Roscommon have produced in recent years - and with the county reaching this year's All-Ireland U21 final - the future looks bright.
"I think there are a lot of people inside Roscommon who are very, very hungry to bring this to another level. That day will come; I think we need to do a few basic things to ensure that happens. I'd be very hopeful of our future," said Carroll, who is affiliated to the Roscommon Gaels club.