As if wondering about the challenge of London isn’t enough to deal with, keeper Cathal McCrann has an added worry that his team-mates don’t – how to deal with the new square ball rule that has already caused its fair share of controversy.
Asked by the Observer was he looking forward to the challenge, Cathal joked “No, I’m too small, I’m going to be destroyed!” But in case any Leitrim supporter is getting worried, once the laughter subsided, Cathal added “It is going to be part and parcel of the game.
“We’re training already for it, you’re just going to have to go up and smash and clear the ball every time. There is going to be no catching because there is no doubt that they’re going to put big men in there.”
Even before the square ball rule changed, Leitrim suffered badly against the high ball in the Fermanagh game but Cathal believes that defending is a whole team effort, not just something the full-back line and keeper must worry about!
“I know that people have been complaining that we’ve been beat for high balls but the pressure has to be put on out the field. If the pressure is put on, they won’t get that high ball in, that the back will be able to get his hand on it. I don’t think London will get that time on the ball, we’ll be focussed in and putting pressure on out the field.”
Cathal retains a confidence that he says is essential to any team -“Training has picked up since that Fermanagh game. We know that it is going to be a tough challenge, we do know that but we’re well focussed. We know we’re going to be met by a strong London team, the strongest team they have had in a long time.
“You have to be confident, you have to be positive. If you are not positive, you are going nowhere. We’re here as a group and we try to keep as positive as possible. I know people are giving out and they’re right too, we haven’t performed.
“We’re a good team if we can get going. I know the last few games, we did give in and we were listening a bit too much to the criticism. But we did refocus after that and I think that we’ll be giving them something to shout about when we go over to London.”
The Gortletteragh clubman is not underestimating the London challenge - “We’re losing players and they’re gaining players so they’re going to be a totally different team to the team we played in the League.
“London are going to be very strong. Mayo really did struggle to get out of there and Mayo are a good team and you can see how far they went. London didn’t bring over their full-strength team for the league game here and it is going to be a tricky one. We’re looking forward to the challenge, we’re well aware of it.”