Although they played well for large parts of the opening round FBD game against Mayo in Ballyhaunis last Sunday the Leitrim team that took to the field in the opening round was ultimately unrewarded in terms of the scoreline, but there were plenty of positives the new managerial team of Barney Breen and George Dugdale could take from the encounter.
By Philip Rooney
Much of the talk during the winter months focused on who would not be available for the coming year while there was also the shock news that the man who led the team for the last three years, Mickey Moran, would have to step aside due to health reasons. However, on Sunday last it was all about who was available as a team that contained some experienced campaigners, others who were previously on the fringes of the team and several new recruits gave a very encouraging opening day performance.
The Leitrim full-back line was not that long ago regarded as one of, if not the best in the country when Michael McGuinness, John McKeon and Dermot Reynolds lined up alongside one another.
On Sunday last the contrast in terms of experience was vastly different but nevertheless they performed very well. Corner-back Paddy Maguire, who despite his young age is now a senior figure on the team looks completely at ease whether patrolling the defence or launching counter-attacks. In the other corner Allen Gaels’ Alan Wynne, lining out for Leitrim for the first time gave an assured performance which augurs well for the future.
Another encouraging performance came from full-back Ciaran Egan whose inter-county career has been somewhat curtailed due to injury but he gave an assured performance and if he can remain fully fit his return to the county set-up will be a big addition.
Throughout the pitch there were encouraging signs for those who had perhaps travelled fearing the worst. The forwards did not have a significant amount of chances but they did look sharp in front of goal. Gerry Hickey looked particularly lively, while James Glancy put in his usual tireless shift while Ray Cox created trouble for the Mayo defence in the opening half and won several frees.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.