The senior county footballers had a hard fought five point victory on Sunday when they defeated London 1-10 to 0-8. While the performance may not have been overly impressive, the victory keeps Leitrim very much in contention for a much sought after promotion place.
After a four week lay-off from competitive action it was understandable that Leitrim were rusty while London gave further evidence that the Connacht Championship clash between the sides on June 3 is shaping up to be an ultra competitive encounter.
The crucial score of the game was Ray Cox’s 33rd minute goal that helped steady the nerves of the Leitrim players and supporters and ensured the home side had a three point lead at the break.
Leitrim improved in the second half but found it difficult to shake off the London challenge. It wasn’t until the latter stages of the game that a lead that could be called comfortable was established. Approaching the 70 minute mark Leitrim led by seven points but it was the exiles who finished strongly with points from Eoin Mageean and Sean Kelly. The fact that London also had clear sights of the Leitrim goal over the course of the game is a further reminder, as if one was needed, that after giving Mayo an almighty scare in last year’s championship, they will be very difficult opponents when the sides meet in just over 11 weeks.
Of more immediate concern for the Leitrim team will be a visit to Cusack Park, Ennis for a clash with Clare. A win would leave Leitrim in an excellent position to challenge the teams at the top of Division 4 as Sunday’s game is followed a week later by the visit of Kilkenny.
In Ballinamore the Leitrim Ladies ensured they remain very much in the hunt for a semi-final place in the Bord Gais Energy National Football League Division 3 when they beat Wicklow 6-10 to 2-3.
The win leaves Leitrim second in the division, with the four top teams only separated by scoring difference. With their last two games in the division against Wexford and Roscommon, the bottom teams in the group, it is hard to envisage Leitrim not securing their place in the semi-finals but team manager Niall Kilcrann, will no doubt ensure the team do not let their standards slip in the remaining games.
For full reports and reaction from both games make sure to see tomorrow’s Leitrim Observer.