Mayo hoodoo continues as Leitrim blow first half lead

Leitrim’s long suffering and all too familiar Mayo hoodoo came back to haunt the County Junior side last Friday evening in Aughamore as a strong Leitrim selection threw away a seven point first half lead to again suffer defeat at the hands of the home side in the preliminary round of the Connacht Junior Championship.

Leitrim’s long suffering and all too familiar Mayo hoodoo came back to haunt the County Junior side last Friday evening in Aughamore as a strong Leitrim selection threw away a seven point first half lead to again suffer defeat at the hands of the home side in the preliminary round of the Connacht Junior Championship.

Leitrim’s long suffering and all too familiar Mayo hoodoo came back to haunt the County Junior side last Friday evening in Aughamore as a strong Leitrim selection threw away a seven point first half lead to again suffer defeat at the hands of the home side in the preliminary round of the Connacht Junior Championship.

CONNACHT JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP

LEITRIM 0-15

MAYO 1-14

By PJ Leddy

After dominating a competitive encounter until almost the three-quarter way mark, Leitrim allowed Mayo to come from behind and grab a victory that seemed an almost impossible after 23 minutes, at which point the visitors led by seven points and controlled the exchanges in every sector of the field.

With Mayo seemingly in deep trouble, the home side staged a late rally to cut the deficit to four points at the break and they continued their surge after the restart, a 43rd minute goal by Colin Dempsey put them ahead for the first time in the game, a lead they never subsequently surrendered.

The defeat is reminiscent of the loss in Charlestown four years ago in the same competition when Leitrim, inspired by the late Philly McGuinness, completely dominated the first half but suffered a second half meltdown and ended up losing after extra-time, the 1-21 to 3-8 scoreline indicative of a pulsating encounter.

Last Friday’s encounter was just as high scoring and the fact that Leitrim scored 15 points for the second time in an adult encounter shows that the county’s forwards are now probably carrying the team.

But what will concern supporters and made the defeat all the more disappointing is the fact that Leitrim started last Friday’s first round game with 13 players who saw action during the recent National League campaign, 12 of whom started games.

Leitrim even brought on Emlyn Mulligan as a second half substitute only serving to highlight just how devastating a loss last Friday’s defeat against a Mayo team drawn exclusively from the ranks of Junior clubs is from the point of view of morale and team spirit.

With so many of this team fighting for places for the Senior team against Sligo in just over two weeks time, it is the sort of result that Mickey Moran could do without and not the best way to start off a team building weekend in Mayo for the County Senior team.

However, Moran will draw some solace from the display of Adrian Croal who scored eight points on the evening and was a real handful for the Mayo defence, leading the line with real aplomb and certainly showing that he is a man in form ahead of the meeting with Mayo on May 22.

To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.