He may be only just turned 24 but Carrigallen’s Gary Reynolds is already one of the senior men of the Leitrim team and it’s fair to say he is looking forward to Sunday’s game against local rivals Roscommon as much as anyone declaring, “We can’t wait to get in to them.”
Gary spoke of the belief within the camp prior to victory over Sligo that if they all played to their full potential for 70 minutes they were certain they would emerge victorious and ahead of the encounter with Roscommon Gary insisted the players and management are taking the same approach ahead of Sunday’s game.
“No more than before the Sligo game, we’re raring to go, it’s more the waiting that’s the problem. You’re sitting around drinking water, going to work, coming home, going to training doing bits and pieces but it’s just a matter of looking after the bodies, drinking right and eating right and we believe if we do that we’ll be raring to go, we can’t wait to get at them.”
Although the win against Sligo was a much needed boost for all associated with the county team. The majority of the team had never experienced championship victory against a ‘home’ team with Gary recalling his only pervious taste of championship victory was when Leitrim travelled to New York in 2008.
“We haven’t won anything yet but it was a new thing all the same. I haven’t had an experience like that for as long as I’ve been playing for Leitrim. The euphoria of the Sunday evening when the people were on the pitch, it was a massive occasion, great for the county and on Monday you could enjoy it a bit but on Tuesday, it was heads back on. Mickey wanted us to forget about Sligo, it’s in the past, Roscommon is what is hanging in front of you and that’s the carrot and you must grasp it.
“The only other win I ever had was against New York and even then coming home you had to concentrate on Galway. It’s very hard to get your head zoned in and reiterate the joy and try and get the second win. When I played against New York, it was the perfect debut, I got my first win but I hadn’t had one since.
“We came to training on the Tuesday and everybody was happy out and giddy, slagging each other about things that happened during the game but after Tuesday night that was it, forget about it.”
The slagging that Gary refers gives an insight to the camaraderie within the camp and he acknowledged it is a particularly tight knit group of players that will be doing battle against Roscommon on Sunday.
“We are as tight know as I have seen in a long time. I am on the panel since the Donegal game (2007 qualifier), that was my first game togging out, it was tight back then but I was an outside man coming in. I was a young fella and I didn’t really know what was there, but I’m watching players coming and going the last couple of years and I know now from looking at it that this is the tightest I have seen in a long time.
“The young lads coming in get on as well with the older lads on the team. We’re all young, I think the average is 24/25. Myself and Emyln are probably regarded as older players and I’m only just 24 and he’s 23.”
Gary believes the mixture of youth and experience is a key component in any team noting, “That’s what you need a blend of experience and a bit of talent coming in with Adrian Croal, Conor Beirne and Paddy Maguire, these guys are awesome. It’s the first time we’ve had a really good balance in a long time and please God we can deliver on the day.”
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.