League campaign begins with defeat

After the excitement of the first piece of silverware being claimed in 19 years and on the back of four successive wins in January, hopes were high that Leitrim would be able to continue that form as they began their Allianz National Football League Division 4 campaign with a trip to the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick yesterday (Sunday).

After the excitement of the first piece of silverware being claimed in 19 years and on the back of four successive wins in January, hopes were high that Leitrim would be able to continue that form as they began their Allianz National Football League Division 4 campaign with a trip to the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick yesterday (Sunday).

The feel good factor surrounding the county team at the moment meant the home supporters were outnumbered in the stands but on the pitch, even without the hugely influential Ian Ryan and Ger Collins who were forced out shortly before throw-in, Limerick bossed matters for much of the contest.

Playing against the wind in the opening half Limerick contained and frustrated Leitrim for much of the opening half hour and such was the strength of the wind a one point lead for Leitrim as the side’s left the pitch at half time would have been satisfactory for Limerick manager Maurice Horan.

During the second half Limerick used the wind to their advantage and opened up a four point lead before Leitrim showed the battling qualities that served them so well in the FBD League and reduced the deficit to the bare minimum as the game edged closer to full time.

Ultimately this was where Leitrim’s unbeaten start to 2013 came to an end as Limerick scored another point to seal a 0-11 to 0-9 victory. Next up for Barney Breen and George Dugdale’s troops is the visit of Mick O’Dwyer’s Clare to Pairc Sean MacDiarmada on Sunday next. With ‘The Banner’ county suffering defeat at the hands of Waterford in their opening Division 4 match, even at this early stage of the campaign, a victory is of vital importance to both sides.

There was better news from a Leitrim point of view in Wicklow yesterday as the Ladies got their Tesco Division 3 campaign off to a perfect start.

In Gerry Ballantine’s first match in charge Leitrim brushed aside the Wicklow challenge to record an impressive 4-17 to 0-3 win. Next up for the Ladies is a home match against Wexford on Sunday next.

For full reports on both games see Wednesday’s Leitrim Observer.