Some may say it is only a meaningless competition but if you want to know just how much last Sunday’s FBD Connacht League Final victory means to Leitrim’s footballers, spend a few minutes talking with Man of the Match Wayne McKeon.
Wayne, who won his second Man of the Match gong in Markievicz against Sligo, had no doubt what the victory will mean to Leitrim - “I’m absolutely delighted, to win something is absolutely massive.
“To just get a trophy, to win four games in a row, it is just massive going into the National League and will give the team loads of confidence.”
The deliberate targetting of the FBD competition can pay huge dividends in the months ahead according to the Ballinamore clubman - “That has given us lots of confidence going into the National League.
“There is a savage bench this year, everybody coming on knows exactly what to do and the win gives us loads of confidence going down to Limerick, which is a hard place to get a win so hopefully, we’ll be able to get two points.”
Wayne also paid tribute to his defensive colleagues and stressed that the sub-par performance against GMIT was just the wake-up call Leitrim needed - “The defence was absolutely massive, they have been for the four games.
“Fitness is unbelieveable, everyone is training hard and everyone is reading off the same hymn sheet so everything is going well. We made it hard for ourselves in the second half but I think we were always in control but still.
“The three games have fairly stood to us but I think it was the GMIT game that gave us that little kick, a good kick in the backside that we weren’t going to cruise straight through.
“To come down here to Sligo, we were cautious but we were also quietly confident,” said Wayne who added that the work is only just beginning.
“Straight back to work now, see if we can get a good start to the League now. There is no point in throwing it all away now when we have a good start to the League.”
Sunday’s victory also had a special, if somewhat sad, significance for Wayne as he dedicated his man of the match award to his close friend Eugene McDermott who died tragically in Ballinamore earlier this month.
Wayne revealed that Eugene had placed a bet on Leitrim to win the FBD League in 2013 and he wanted to honour and pay tribute to Eugene’s support and belief in the team.