Every Tuesday, we will take a quick look back at some of the talking points from the weekend’s action in the Fox Monumentals Intermediate Championship.
Simply click on our photo gallery to follow our look back at round one or read below to see our views on an intriguing week two.
And look to www.leitrimobserver.ie on Monday evenings for our talking points from the Connacht Gold Senior Championship while on Wednesday, check out our previews for round three of the club championships.
EVEN STANDARD MAKES FOR BETTER CHAMPIONSHIP
The debate over the standard of Club football in the county continues with the focus heavily on the Senior Championship with competitive games few and far between. But if we want to see what the Senior grade might be like with a few adjustments, just look at the Intermediate Championship.
At least six teams can consider themselves as genuine contenders for the crown with Fenagh St. Caillin’s, Aughnasheelin, Leitrim Gaels and Cloone setting the pace while Drumkeerin, Kiltubrid, Eslin and Carrigallen will all fancy their chances given the right opportunity.
But what stood out last weekend was the entertainment level was far better when teams were pitched against opposition of similar level - the same can’t be said for the Senior competition and perhaps it will hasten much needed reform.
WORRYING TIMES FOR GLENFARNE/KILTYCLOGHER
It's not that long since Glenfarne/Kiltyclogher seemed to be a permanent fixture in the semi-finals of the Intermediate Championship with the ultimate winners often having their most difficult games against the men in black and white.
How times have changed. The team that took to the field last Saturday in Ballinamore was a shadow of its former self - not just in personnel but equally as crucially in confidence. Glenfarne/Kiltyclogher had just 15 players available to them against Leitrim Gaels and when Ryan Gilligan was forced off injured the services of spectator Joe Cullen, who had been following the action from the comfort of the stand were called upon.
It was a tough day for a proud club and perhaps a worrying sign of things to come.
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL A SUCCESS
It mightn’t have been the biggest crowd of the weekend but the historic first ever Thursday night Leitrim Club Championship game in Cloone was a roaring success with two teams willing to think outside the box and arrange a game that best suits the needs of players and clubs alike.
Midweek games have attracted quite a good deal of controversy this year with many clubs unhappy that they feel are being forced to play without a full hand for midweek fixtures when players are unable to get off work or make the long journey home to Leitrim.
It is a thorny issue but last Thursday’s game, despite the disappointingly one-sided nature of the result, was a great success. And if clubs keep an open mind, it can be a success in the future because there is always an appetite for fans to go and watch football - even on a Thursday night!
RYAN O’ROURKE JOINS THE LIST OF HOTSHOTS
One of the most encouraging features of this year’s Championship, at both Senior and Intermediate level, has been the impact of young footballers. Darragh Rooney, Niall McGovern, Conor Cullen and a few others have shone but Ryan O’Rourke really stood out for Fenagh last Thursday night.
Granted Aughavas are struggling but they tried several different markers on the County Senior & U21 players but it mattered little as he scored 2-8 and had a hand in Fenagh’s other two goals in his 51 minutes on the field.
Given that another young Fenagh hotshot in Riordan O’Rourke was missing through injury and Alan Doonan showed a real eye for a score as well, Fenagh definitely have the scoring power to finally land an Intermediate title - provided that Ryan O’Rourke remains healthy and the focal point of their attack.
WILL BALLINAGLERA RUE MISSED CHANCES?
The talk might have been all about another Conor Beirne show in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada last Sunday morning but one discerning Eslin fan, thrilled with his team’s victory, was quick to concede that this was a game Ballinaglera had thrown away.
Seventeen missed scoring opportunities to just five for Eslin accurately reflects a devastating afternoon for the north Leitrim men and given how tough Group 1 is, the one point that separated them from Eslin at the final whistle may just be the one point that denies them a place in the Quarter-Finals.
They have a derby against Drumkeerin to come along with ties against the top two teams in Fenagh St. Caillin’s and Aughnasheelin. A win would have left them four points clear of both Eslin and Aughavas with three games to play so it was easy to understand the devastation in the Ballinaglera camp last Sunday afternoon.