Leitrim got their league campaign and hopes for promotion from the Allianz National Football League Division 4 back on track with a much needed win over Carlow on Sunday last. The two point winning margin was greeted warmly by the Leitrim players when the full time whistle sounded as they knew defeat to Carlow in Dr Cullen Park would effectively have ended their interest in the division after just two games.
By Philip Rooney
A week earlier Limerick manager Maurice Horan stated after his side’s win in Carrick-on-Shannon that the result and win was far more important than the performance and the same would certainly apply to how the Leitrim and Carlow camps would have felt approaching last Sunday’s game.
While there is still room for plenty of improvement from a Leitrim point of view, there were plenty of positives that can be taken from the performance.
The midfield, while certainly not having it all their own way, did assert themselves more on the game while the workrate of the half-back and half-forward lines laid the platform for victory.
Full-forward James Glancy had a significant contribution on proceedings, especially when operating from a deeper position as his vision helped carve open the Carlow defence on several occasions.
Adrian Croal was another who worked tirelessly but it was the other Leitrim corner forward, Annaduff’s Ray Cox who was rightly singled out for praise by joint manager Barney Breen after the game.
Similarly to a week previously against Limerick Cox saw a lot of the ball but in Dr Cullen Park what he did with the ball was a lot more telling and he more than made his mark on the game with a fine finish for the first goal and winning the penalty that led to the second goal.
Ultimately, Cox was the difference between the sides. He was brave in possession and his pace caused the fullback line numerous problems and crucially he was very accurate in front of goal.
Elsewhere the Lowe brothers, Robbie and Daniel along with Darren Sweeney put in a huge shift while the workrate throughout the team was typified by the sight of full-back Ciaran Egan advancing into opposition territory and wing forward Gerry Hickey helping out with defensive duties deep in his own half.
Once again the powerful running of Wayne McKeon and Paul Brennan were key to Leitrim but similarly to the opening game against Limerick there were plenty of mistakes made over the course of the game and that is something Barney Breen and George Dugdale will be looking to rectify.
Cheap fouls were given away too often and possession was given away needlessly on numerous occasions. However, the two point winning margin and the two league points that victory brought will give the team a significant injection of confidence for the forthcoming games and it would be perfectly understandable if that confidence was somewhat dented after the loss of so many players and then defeat against Limerick.
It is over three weeks until Leitrim’s next outing in the League when they host London in Pairc Sean MacDiarmada on March 11 and in that time the players and management will no doubt be working hard to ensure mistakes made on Sunday are identified and those aspects of their game are improved upon.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.