Despite a late rally that briefly threatened to get Leitrim back into the Fr. Manning Shield Final last Wednesday evening in Michael Fay Park, Longford, the greater physical strength of Sligo proved too much of a barrier for the County’s U-16 footballers to overcome.
By John Connolly
Fr Manning Shield Final
The scoreline may suggest a close encounter but in a strange game that failed to yield a score for either team for the opening 20 minutes of a rain soaked contest, Sligo’s greater physical strength meant that they were always more comfortable than the score-line suggests.
A second Sligo goal midway through the second half meant that the Green & Gold trailed by nine points after they failed to score for the previous 14 minutes, despite having the wind at their backs. Bt the next generation of Leitrim stars showed a lot of determination and spirit to fight back and threaten Sligo’s dominance.
On a horrible night for football, it was hard to stand out with the driving rain, a strong wind down the centre of the field that held up Leitrim shots in the air but maddingly died down during the second half and a very slippery football, it was hard for anyone, but particularly forwards, to catch the eye.
Defenders naturally adapt better to such conditions so it was no surprise that Leitrim’s two best performers came in the full-back line where Dromahair duo Enda Fowley and Michael Clancy were simply outstanding, Fowley demonstrating all the classical skills of a full-back while Clancy’s ease on the ball, ability to recover and make interceptions mark him down as a real prospect.
Upfront, it was difficult to make any impression but Michael Lavin, Cathal McCauley and sub Shane Doonan did well.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.