GAA Connacht Gold Senior Championship

Five things we learned from week 2 of the Connacht Gold Leitrim SFC

John Connolly

Reporter:

John Connolly

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 to follow our look back at round one 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.

BALLINAMORE LAY OUT CHAMPIONSHIP CREDENTIALS

There was some chatter that Ballinamore were finding it difficult to replicate their form of 2016 but those fears were well and truly smashed last Friday night when they demolished a woefully out of touch Gortletteragh with a display that seemed in direct response to a lacklustre first outing against Allen Gaels.

Ballinamore will get much tougher tests in the weeks ahead but the way the likes of James Hamill, Paddy Connaughton, Shane McWeeney and Brian Leydon have stuck their hands up for a place on the team bodes well and there are few clubs who can have genuine options among 15 or more subs on the bench.

O’Heslin’s face a huge test this Friday against the reigning champions Aughawillan under lights in Cloone but if they can deliver a big performance against their old rivals, who beat them well in the League just a few weeks ago, you can start counting Paul Prior’s outfit as genuine contenders for the Fenagh Cup in 2017.

ALLEN GAELS & GORTLETTERAGH IN DROP FIGHT

They face extremely difficult games next weekend but both Allen Gaels and Gortletteragh are deep in the relegation battle of Group 1. In what was quickly termed the Group of Death, Allen Gaels were tagged early in the year as potential strugglers but Gortletteragh’s demoralising form has come as a major surprise.

Strangely, the Drumshanbo men have put up defiant first half displays in both their heavy defeats at the hands of Ballinamore and Aughawillan but they have fallen away badly in both games. The prospect of getting something out of Melvin Gaels is a daunting one, particularly as the Kinlough men want to get back to winning ways straight away.

Gortletteragh’s poor form has been a shock and against Sean O’Heslin’s last Friday, they looked devoid of confidence and the sort of defiance and fight that we have come to expect from Gortletteragh. A head injury may rob them of Cathal McCrann for a few weeks and that is something they cannot afford.

It is early days yet but the portents are not good for Allen Gaels or Gortletteragh.

BIG NIALL MAKES A BIG STATEMENT

When it comes to talking about big full-forwards in Leitrim club football, the talk usually starts and ends with the latest exploits of Eslin’s Conor Beirne. But the former county man may be about to get a new rival as Niall McGovern stamped his authority all over Ballinamore’s destruction of Gortletteragh.

Great in the air, mobile and able to roam, McGovern displayed everything you want from a good full-forward as he created chances, took scores from play and frees and managed to find himself in the right place to finish off two gifts from Wayne McKeon and his brother Dean.

Given how young he is, the Leitrim player has the potential to be a focal point and match winner for O’Heslin’s and is a huge asset as they attempt to go deep into this year’s Championship.

BORNACOOLA & DROMAHAIR CUT ADRIFT IN GROUP 2

If Gortletteragh and Allen Gaels are in trouble in Group 1, you have to say the same for Bornacoola and Dromahair in Group 2 as both have suffered two losses from two games and are now needing points in a hurry in the coming games.

Bornacoola have put up defiant displays against Annaduff and St. Mary’s and the scale of the loss to the Carrick men is somewhat misleading. But they have to be worried at the way they have faded out of games and it doesn’t get any easier this weekend as they take on Glencar/Manorhamilton.

Dromahair face an unbeaten St. Mary’s at the weekend and although they took put up a reasonable performance, they definitely needed to beat Drumreilly last weekend to avoid getting caught up in the relegation.

It may come that if both teams suffer defeats this weekend, focus will have to turn to the relegation semi-finals and Bornacoola’s form so far suggests they may be better equipped for that battle.

MOHILL LAY DOWN BIG MARKER

Last week we asked who can stop Mohill? And even with the building pressure of favouritism well and truly bestowed upon them by the county’s fans, Mohill seem to be dealing quite ably with the tag as they saw off a tough and persistent challenge from Melvin Gaels last Saturday.

The top two teams in the League, Mohill absorbed everything the Kinlough men had to throw against them and even though Darragh Rooney missed a glorious goal chance and cause their defence no end of problems, Mohill passed a severe test with flying colours.

Mohill face a struggling Gortletteragh next Saturday and a victory would book their place in the Quarter-Finals. You sense that Mohill won’t be happy with just that and a mouth-watering game against Ballinamore still awaits them.