GAA Connacht Gold Senior Championship

Five things we learned from round one of the Leitrim Senior Championship

Leitrim Sport

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Leitrim Sport

Every Monday, we will take a quick look back at some of the talking points from the weekend’s action in the Connacht Gold Senior Championship.

Simply click on our photo gallery, the images from last weekend's matches from our photographer Willie Donnellan, to follow our review of the weekend's action or read below.

And look to www.leitrimobserver.ie on Tuesday evenings for our talking points from the Fox’s Monumentals Intermediate Championship while on Wednesday, check out our previews for round two of the club championships.

WHO CAN STOP MOHILL?

The 2015 champions laid down a marker on the opening night of Championship action when they comprehensively saw off the challenge of Aughawillan.

Mohill were resolute and well organised in defence and clinical up front. The full-back line was rarely threatened while the half-back line of Ciaran Kennedy, Ronan Gallagher and Oisin Madden is as potent in attack as it is dogged in defence. Up front Keith Beirne and Ronan Kennedy will pose problems for any defence they come up against.

As the summer progresses they will expect to face tougher challenges but will anyone be able to stop a team that look very strong in all areas of the pitch and have a substitutes bench the envy of most clubs in the county.

HEAVY DEFEATS A WORRYING SIGN

Results over the first weekend of the Connacht Gold Senior Championship would seem to back up calls that reform of the adult club game in the county is urgently needed.

The closest game over the weekend was Annaduff’s win over their neighbours Bornacoola but that featured a nine point winning margin for Annaduff while Mohill and Sean O’Heslin’s both had 11 point winning margins.

Melvin Gaels defeated Gortletteragh by 12 points while St. Mary’s ran up a 13 point win over Drumreilly while another derby saw Glencar/Manor hit 2-22 against St. Patrick’s Dromahair on Sunday - hardly a competitive game over the weekend.

Clearly the gulf in standards is growing and while the dominant clubs will be happy with their victories, maybe clubs will realise the seriousness of the situation, bite the bullet and back the calls to completely revamp the structures for the Club game in the county.

DON'T WRITE OFF AUGHAWILLAN YET!

On the back of a heavy opening night defeat for Aughawillan, it would be easy to write off the challenge of the defending champions but seasoned observers around the county will be reluctant to dismiss the challenge of a team who were also crowned champions in 2014.

The fact that Aughawillan were forced to reintroduce Michael Prior two minutes after he was withdrawn when Barry Prior picked up an injury suggests the panel on Friday night was light on bodies. Should Mark Plunkett, Pearce Dolan and Sean Quinn return to their best and the addition of Christy Prior, Aughawillan could yet have a significant to say in the destination of the Fenagh Cup.

INTERMEDIATE HEROES FACE A BIG STEP-UP

Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s performances last year in winning the Intermediate Championship and reaching the Connacht Final suggested they would be one of the favourites for this year’s Senior crown but their form seems to have dropped in recent weeks.

The Ballinamore men secured what looks like a comfortable win over Allen Gaels in Cloone but they struggled for a long time, the Drumshanbo men belying their poor League form to lead at the halftime break.

The Gaels couldn’t sustain the effort in the second half but it still took O’Heslin’s a lot of time to put the game to bed, goals from Paddy Connaughton and Liam Ferguson giving them a degree of comfort their performance didn’t warrant.

It is very early days yet and Paul Prior’s men have a valuable win under the belts but if they are to challenge the likes of Mohill, Aughawillan, Glencar/Manorhamilton and Melvin Gaels, improvement is a must.

LEAGUE FORM REFLECTED IN CHAMPIONSHIP

They say the League doesn’t have any bearing on the championship but the teams performing well in the League performed well in the opening round with Melvin Gaels, St. Mary’s Kiltoghert and Mohill standing out.

The Kinlough men faced what looked like a potentially tricky tie against Gortletteragh but even without talisman Emlyn Mulligan, they made light work of the south Leitrim side to reinforce their position as League finalists.

The Carrick men went into the first round as one of the form teams after eight unbeaten matches. Granted they were facing Drumreilly, a number of Division 2 teams in the Senior grade, but they did the job with a minimum of fuss and already look odds on to advance to the quarter-finals.

Mohill and Glencar/Manorhamilton were also convincing winners, further boosting the argument that strong League performances will lead to strong championship displays.