One of the great joys of sport is not just in the winning of medals and titles, it is the nurturing and development of new talents and Leitrim sport is certainly excelling on that front if the emerging talent in a variety of sports is anything to go by.
Now you can get yourself into trouble with who you pick out and sometimes who you don’t and there is the question of raising expectations on young sportspeople no older than 17 years of age.
We’ve picked out a few names to watch in the coming years - the list is by no means extensive or exclusive, there are many more young sports stars out there who will grab headlines in the years ahead. But these seven young Leitrim sports people caught our eye and we eagerly look forward to seeing how they get on in the coming years.
DILLON BEIRNE - GOLF
Golf may be an unexpected inclusion on a list of Leitrim sport stars to watch but Ballinamore's Dillon Beirne is well worth it. Anyone reading the Ballinamore Club notes will see his name winning competitions and prizes week in, week out against adults and the young golfer capped another success laden year off by winning the Connacht U16 title. A talented footballer with Sean O'Heslin's too, Dillon's talent with the small white ball makes him very definitely one to watch for the future!
TOYOSI FAGBO - ATHLETICS
With a rich athletics tradition in athletics in Leitrim and some very talented sprinters in Ella McDaid, Alannah McGuinness, Gerard Murtagh and Diarmuid Giblin, picking just one is a tough task. But Carrick's Toyosi Fagbo has made a big impact in his brief time in the sport, already on the podium at the National Community Games and regularly contesting National Finals. A raw talent with huge potential, Toyosi could follow in the footsteps of Eanna Madden and Gerard O'Donnell.
SIOMHA QUINN- GAELIC FOOTBALL
If Muireann Devaney was the star of the Leitrim Ladies U14 team, then Aughawillan's Siomha Quinn was a close second. Her impact on the Division One League Final against Kiltubrid illustrates a talent beyond her years and with her drive and determination, expect a long and illustrious career for an incredibly talented young woman.
PETER MAGUIRE - SOCCER
Peter Maguire made the switch from Manor Rangers to Sligo Rovers as he joined the League of Ireland club for the inaugural season of the national U15 league. Prior to making the switch to the Bit O'Red Peter was instrumental for Manor Rangers as they claimed the -15 Sligo/Leitrim league title following a thrilling final against Ballisodare United.
MUIREANN DEVANEY - SOCCER & GAELIC FOOTBALL
A star in two codes, Muireann Devaney has to rate as one of the most exciting footballing talents to emerge in years. A strong and fiercely determined player, what sets Muireann apart is her mastery of the ball, superb skills and an innate ability to influence any game she plays marking her as a potential superstar for Leitrim in whatever sport she chooses.
NIAMH CAROLAN - ATHLETICS
Kinlough's Niamh Carolan didn't win any National medals in 2017 but that didn't stop her making a huge impression, her fearless front running style marking her out as a special talent. Fourth in the 1,500m in the National Championships, Niamh's rate of improvement marks her genuinely out as one to watch in the years ahead.
OISIN MCLOUGHLIN - GAELIC FOOTBALL
You want an indication of the growing buzz about Oisin McLoughlin. Consider the noise that arose any time a clearly hampered McLoughlin generated whenever he got the ball in the recent U17 Championship 15-a-side Final. That Fenagh lost doesn't diminish the anticipation that was a visible mummer any time he got the ball. His pace, accuracy and vision sets him apart from his peers and the task for Leitrim football is to ensure that McLoughlin's ability is able to flourish for the Green & Gold in the years ahead.