Surrounded by a media scrum on the Pairc Sean sod last Sunday evening as Roscommon supporters milled around celebrations, a subdued manager Mickey Moran cited Donal Shine’s first half goal as the turning point in a comprehensive Roscommon victory but rejected suggestions that nerves may have played a role in Leitrim’s equally subdued performance last Sunday.
By John Connolly
Asked by the Leitrim Observer if nerves had played a part in the fact that a new look Leitrim failed to repeat their Markievicz Park heroics, Mickey said “No John, I have never seen any game repeated the next day, whether it was good or bad, things change. There was an awful breeze in the first half, it has calmed now but I thought we were doing rightly at four-one.
“We gave the ball away for the goal, which happened last year and it happened the previous year when the ball hit the top of the post and they got the break for the goal. It put us under severe pressure but I still thought we had a few chances. We lost a bit of heart at that stage, we had a few chances at that stage but we shot from too far out.
“We could have tried to buy, I doubt we would have got them, but we could have tried to buy a few frees but we were up against but as I said, we don’t have a wild lot of numbers.”
That first half goal was crucial is so many respects and the Letirim manager felt that it derailed Leitrim’s tactical decision to operate against the wind in the first half - “We started to get pressure on the ball and get into the game, it was 4-1 and we were happy enough.
“That breeze now isn’t as strong as it was in the first half and I thought we were well in the game but the goal just shattered the boy’s confidence a wee bit and we never recovered from it.
“We won the toss because the way we figured it, the weather was going to deteriorate during the day but as it turned out, there is the wind up again, it was very, very strong in the first half and they were 4-1 up in the first half, we were hanging in there and we got a wee bit of grip.
“The goal was the killer from the point of view that we were in possession and we gave away the ball.
“Their tails were up after they got the goal and they tagged on a few points after they got the goal. We knew we struggling in the middle of the park and it was going to be a big ask. So proud of the lads, when Ronan and Darren went in, we had plenty of opportunities to tap over, probably we could have tagged on four or five points and we didn’t.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.