Leitrim’s Allianz League Division Four hopes may have been long extinguished but as thoughts turn to the championship clash with London in just over six week’s time, Leitrim suffered a chastening afternoon in Brewster Park Enniskillen at the hands of a rampant Fermanagh.
It is hard to believe that this was the same Fermanagh who lost in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada just over a year ago but the arrival of Peter Canavan in the Erne county has transformed the fortunes of the Ulster who delivered a performance every bit as convincing as the score-line suggests.
Apart from the opening ten minutes, Leitrim were out-classed in almost every department as an eager Fermanagh could have had much, much more on the score-board by the time Seamus Quigley grabbed his first goal after 19 minutes.
It might be clutching at straws to claim that luck didn’t shine on Leitrim in Brewster Park, Fermanagh were just too good on the day but luck certainly wasn’t on Leitrim’s side as shots hit the post or dropped short, none more amazing that when Paddy McGowan’s shot incredible hit both uprights and rebounded clear.
But that would simply be denying the obvious, Fermanagh were a huge step-up in class and power and nowhere was it more obvious than in the full-forward line where the towering Seamus Quigley tore Leitrim asunder.
Time and time again, Leitrim players lost the ball in contact with Fermanagh opponents or soloed into trouble, losing the ball in traffic and suffering as Fermanagh varied the long ball approach to Quigley with quick hand-passes over the cover to players running through in space.
Perhaps with nothing to play for, the motivation simply wasn’t there for Leitrim but the manner of the loss will surely have worried joint manager Brian Breen and George Dugdale, the lack of work-rate and cohesion not something you would like to see so near to the championship.
With Adrian Croal recovering from illness and Paddy Maguire undergoing a minor operation last week, playing resources remain a problem for Leitrim but they will need to put in some serious work over the next six weeks to avoid an ignominious defeat in Ruislip.
The spectre of London looms large over this team and the Exiles draw against Waterford in Dungarvan serves only to heighten the tension ahead of the championship and many Leitrim fans will be praying for a return of injured players as quickly as possible.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.