They may have slumped to their second successive defeat of the Hastings Cup but Leitrim’s four point loss at the hands of Cavan under lights in Cloone on Friday night last was a much tighter affair than the scoreline would suggest.
By Philip Rooney
On reflection Leitrim will feel they could in fact have won the game but were let down over the course of the game by a failure to convert possession into scores. Leitrim were confident in possession throughout the pitch, tackled well and were full of running but they struggled badly when it came to the most important aspect of the game - taking scores.
Only one point was scored from play during the game by a Leitrim player and that is something that will need to be addressed. If that is remedied, then there is no reason to suggest this Leitrim side cannot develop into a very good team.
Throughout the pitch there were some excellent displays from Leitrim players. Although on the losing team full-back James O’Brien was the best player on the pitch while the half-back line were highly effective. Sean McWeeney read the game very well while wing-backs Thomas Cornyn and Mark McGourty both produced solid displays.
The midfield pairing of Aaron Hickey and Conor Guckian had a mixed evening. Both saw plenty of the ball in the opening half and were instrumental to their sides incisive passing moves but their influence waned in the second period.
As a whole the forward lines failed to make the sort of impact that would have been expected of players of undoubted ability. With the exception of Shane Moran they will know more will be expected in future games. Moran saw more of the ball than any of the other forwards and was a constant threat but others were not as prominent.
Leitrim were much the better side during the opening half and should have had a healthy lead established but led by just a solitary point when the half time whistle sounded.
Although they were second best during the opening half it was Cavan who opened the scoring within 30 seconds courtesy of a fine score from Simon Kavanagh.
Leitrim were level in the fourth minute when Shane Moran converted a free before Longford regained the lead with a Turlough Mooney point.
Although they were trailing as the game reached the 10 minute mark, Leitrim were beginning to dominate proceedings and a move that began with goalkeeper Killian Torsney a minute later gave a perfect example of what they are capable of.
The ball was quickly and precisely played out of defence before Aaron Hickey and Shane Moran combined to present Morgan Quinn with a scoring opportunity. Unfortunately Quinn was off target with his effort but the signs were encouraging for Leitrim.
Shane Moran levelled matters when he converted a 13th minute free and after spurning further opportunities to take the lead Leitrim’s dominance was finally reflected on the scoreboard when Shane Moran converted his third free of the game.
That lead was extended to two points when Aaron Hickey scored a fine individual point eight minutes prior to the interval, but the fact that was Leitrim’s only score from play in the game will be a cause for concern.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.