Déjà vu, back to the future, whatever you want to call it but for the first time in 21 years, the Leitrim Senior Championship Final will feature the same two teams for the second year in a row after champions Glencar/Manorhamilton and St. Mary’s Kiltoghert successfully came through the Connacht Gold sponsored semi-finals in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada last Saturday.
By John Connolly
Not since Aughawillan and Sean O’Heslin’s contested the 1989 and 1990 Finals have the same two teams made it back to County Final day for the Senior decider and for Annaduff in particular, it was an unwelcome piece of history as they again lost to St. Mary’s, suffering a heart-breaking one point loss in the process.
Glencar/Manorhamilton crushed the life out of a Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s team making their first semi-final appearance in 13 years and although many in Pairc Sean felt that the semi-final was of no use to the champions, manager Glen Young didn’t exactly agree.
“I think the challenge was hard enough,” remarked Glen, “You take every game as it comes. Other years, you could be meeting Carrick-on-Shannon, you could be meeting Annaduff, you could be meeting Mohill.
“We got a kick in the bum at the beginning against Bornacoola and I think it brought guys back down to earth. We got a kick in the bum before that in a League game against Mohill and we did react sort of positively enough in a League game against Glenfarne.
“But the Bornacoola game was just the kick in the arse we needed. But since then, the response has been phenomenal, there has been total focus and credit to the lads,” said the Manor man.
His St. Mary’s counter-part, Brendan Guckian, may have been happy with victory but relief was the over-riding emotion – “Delighted with that. Annaduff are an exceptional team, they proved that twice against Mohill, they just let it slip the first day.
“We knew they were never going to give up, that is just the nature of Annaduff as a team, they just keep battling and battling. But in fairness to our lads, they stood up to the battle and pushed forward when we needed to push forward. So I’m just happy, relieved.
“We were just lucky with the scores at the start but it was always the case that Annaduff were going to come back at us. We knew it was going to be a battle right to the end, which it was.”
Both victorious managers were more than happy with their team’s displays and Brendan felt that the addition of new players and strength in depth was a major factor in St. Mary’s win – “The strength of this team is the panel.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.