GAA Connacht Gold Senior Championship

Five things we learned from round 5 of Connacht Gold Leitrim SFC - GALLERY

John Connolly

Reporter:

John Connolly

A little bit later than usual, we will take a quick look back at some of the talking points from the weekend’s action as we have reached the final round in the Group stages of this year's Connacht Gold Senior Championship.

Simply click on our photo gallery to follow our look back at round one or read below to see our views on an intriguing week two.

And look to www.leitrimobserver.ie on Tuesday evenings for our talking points from the Fox’s Monumentals Intermediate Championship.

CHAMPIONS ON THE RISE

Mohill and Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s may be the favourites, in whatever order you like, but you get the feeling that nervous glances are being thrown over their shoulders at the ominous presence of defending champions Aughawillan who have hit tallies of 4-13 and 2-18 in their last two games.

The Champions are coming to the boil nicely and no team will go into a game with them with any great degree of confidence. Glencar/Manorhamilton may be just the team to do that as they seek revenge for their County Final loss last year but Aughawillan look like the shark in Jaws - quietly and efficiently going about their business before striking in deadly fashion.

WILL GROUP ONE HAVE A CLEAN SWEEP?

It was called the Group of Death at the start of the campaign and looking at the match-ups in next Saturday’s Quarter-Finals, you can easily make a case for the top four teams in Group One emerging victorious.

Ballinamore, Mohill, Aughawillan and Melvin Gaels all have genuine shots at lifting the title and, from watching on intently, there definitely appeared to be a gap between the groups in terms of standard and pace displayed so. Group 2 pacesetters St. Mary’s Kiltoghert and Glencar/Manorhamilton will feel they are capable of upsetting the odds but they probably go into their games this weekend as underdogs!

DRUMREILLY DEFY THE ODDS ONCE MORE

How many years have Leitrim GAA fans expected Drumreilly to finally give up the ghost and lose their Senior status? They may have been helped in avoiding the Group of Death but there is no doubt that Drumreilly are more than worthy quarter-finals, producing some wonderful football and defiant displays.

Incredibly, one Drumreilly fan I spoke to wished they had faced neighbours Ballinamore instead of Mohill - it wasn’t that this fan thinks there is a greater chance of success against their neighbours but rather Drumreilly wanted the challenge of taking on their vaunted neighbours! It is that attitude that probably explains why Drumreilly are in the Quarter-Finals and much bigger and better resourced clubs are battling relegation.

ATTITUDE THE KEY FACTOR IN RELEGATION FIGHT

It is going to be so difficult for the footballers of Allen Gaels, Annaduff, Bornacoola and Gortletteragh to lift themselves for the relegation semi-finals this weekend and it may very well be that the team that accepts and reacts to their fate best will secure their Senior status for 2018 this weekend.

Annaduff probably have the most work to do as they were hot favourites to beat Dromahair and then lost out on head to head while Allen Gaels, who struggled all year, may be better prepared although their last two results against Aughawillan and Gortletteragh is a worry.

But when it comes down to it, attitude and playing with the right attitude is often the difference between survival and a relegation final.

GROUP STAGES A SUCCESS?

At a time when the new Club Players Association is campaigning for a better deal for club players, it is strange to write that the biggest complaint I’ve heard about the new Group stages this year is that there are too many games!!!

And while there may be concerns over squeezing five games into a six week time-spa, you cannot say that the Group stages haven’t brought excitement and drama right up to the last minute of the last game. Only four clubs were guaranteed their places in the final and Dromahair showed the value of timing your effort by pipping Annaduff while the Intermediate was even more dramatic.

There are concerns, rightly so, about the standard of games but the new format delivered games that meant something right up until the final whistle so well done Mohill and the Leitrim County Board on the new format.