A second defeat in four games means Leitrim’s promotion hopes are now very much hanging by a thread but there could be no complaints with the final score in Cusack Park on Sunday last as Clare made Leitrim pay for a horribly slow start and emerged deserving winners.
By Philip Rooney
Clare full-forward David Tubridy and corner forward Rory Donnelly caused Leitrim problems all afternoon while the Leitrim full-froward line weren’t able to impose themselves on the game as much as they would have liked.
Looking for positives from the game, the performances of Wayne McKeon, Daniel Beck and James Glancy were encouraging as they tried to lift their team after a disastrous start. While there were occasions that Leitrim looked to have got to grips with their opponents and enjoyed prolonged periods of possession, they found it very difficult to trouble Clare’s disciplined and organised defence and a tally of just four points from play gives an indication of the problems Leitrim faced.
Playing against a strong wind in the opening half Leitrim would have hoped to have been able to build from the back with the quick passing game that proved so effective in Carlow but against a physically imposing team that task proved to be quiet difficult.
From a scoring point of view the opening 10 minutes were completely dominated by the home side with Clare racing into an eight point lead before Leitrim registered their first point of the game in the 14th minute from a James Glancy free.
After a frenetic opening three minutes in which both sides saw plenty of the ball but failed to create any chances of note Clare registered the game’s opening point through Rory Donnelly and having notched the first score of the game, Clare proceeded to take complete control and all but end the game as a contest within the opening quarter.
When Donnelly was fouled by Alan Wynne a minute later, the deadly accurate David Tubridy converted the resulting free to double Clare’s lead but it was to get significantly worse from a Leitrim point of view.
The subsequent kick out saw Clare regain possession and as Leitrim tried to organise themselves defensively nobody closed down Shane McGrath who was given the freedom of Cusack Park to advance from a seemingly harmless position to what rapidly proved to be a very dangerous situation. By the time the danger was realised it was too late and McGrath shot from 13 metres low to Cathal McCrann’s left for what would prove to be the game’s only goal.
Two further David Tubridy pointed frees were followed by an Alan Clohessy to give Clare a comprehensive 1-5 to 0-0 lead after just 12 minutes of play.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Oberver