Enda set to meet the challenge head on

“Any championship games I have played in, you meet head on and look forward to the challenge. There is no point in being fearful or anything like that, you accept the challenge, you look forward to it and hopefully get the job done.”

“Any championship games I have played in, you meet head on and look forward to the challenge. There is no point in being fearful or anything like that, you accept the challenge, you look forward to it and hopefully get the job done.”

Enda Williams might be talking of his switch from native county Longford but the new Leitrim recruit is talking about facing the challenge of the championship.

The 27-year-old was a surprise transfer to Leitrim in late March but the desire to play championship football drove Enda to cross the border.

Explaining his switch to Leitrim, Enda said “The way I looked at it, I’m 27 years of age and there are only so many years you can have in inter-county football and I’d like to think that I have put a lot of work into inter-county football. I just want to play football.

“The opportunity came up to come down here to Leitrim. I’m not saying anything is guaranteed but I’m going to get a shot at it and see how I get on but the most important objective of the whole lot is to play inter-county football.

“My late father is from Aughavas, my uncles are from Aughavas, so there is enough Leitrim blood in me.”

Changing counties is no easy matter but Enda jokes that the recruitment process had begun over ten years ago when Leitrim and Longford clashed in an All-Ireland Minor Quarter-Final in 2002!

“Martin McGowan was the Leitrim manager and I remember Martin coming over to me after the match and he said to me ‘congratulations but you should be playing for Leitrim!’ Even then it was going on, here it is ten years on and I’m here now.”

The switch was tough but a warm welcome made it much easier for Enda - “There is no point in saying anything different, at the start it is a bit difficult but in fairness to all the lads here, they’ve all made me very welcome, all the team management, everybody involved with the set up have made my transition easier to Leitrim.”

And Enda believes that Leitrim can achieve what his native county have done - “It is hard to say what the differences are. Longford are flying high now but a couple of years ago, there were only two teams below us in Division 4 and that was London and Kilkenny.

“In the years afterwards, Longford got a bit of luck and we built a bit of momentum and I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t do the same here in Leitrim, if we get a bit of luck and build a bit of momentum, sure anything is possible.”

Sunday will also see Enda make his Connacht Championship debut but the Clonguish clubman is looking forward to the challenge - “I remember playing them in a League game a couple of years ago but this is the first time going to Ruislip for a championship match and the first time in a Connacht Championship match.

Neither is he underestimating the challenge - “All you have to do is look at last year. Mayo are the Connacht Champions and Mayo got the full of themselves to come out of there. With the way things are going with emigration and everything, make no bones about it, if we get a result over in London, we’re going to have to work damn hard for it and I don’t think anybody in the country is in a position to underestimate London in Ruislip anymore.”

“They are saying to themselves, if they have any chance of winning a championship match this year, you can be sure they are gunning for us.

“That is the long and the short of it, they see this as their best chance of winning a Connacht Championship match and that is just the challenge that faces us and it is one that I am very much looking forward to and I’m sure everyone else is looking forward to as well.”