Leitrim manager Brendan Guckian (second from left) pictured with Michael Moyles, John O'Mahony and Seamus Quinn at halftime in Annaduff. Photo by Willie Donnellan
A sobering 14 point defeat for Leitrim in the opening round of the FBD Insurance Connacht League left fans deflated but a positive Brendan Guckian insists that the Green & Gold will get there.
Roscommon’s 2-14 to 1-3 win in the Leitrim GAA Centre of Excellence on Wednesday evening was a disappointing start to the year but as Leitrim prepare to take on Sligo tomorrow (Sunday) in Ballinamore, Guckian insists that the county senior team are on the right road.
Speaking of Roscommon, Guckian said “They are a physical team and I suppose the two goals killed us because it is very hard to come back. The flip side of it is that when we were breaking up the field, we were giving away possession and we weren’t getting bodies up quick enough.
“Having said that, they are Connacht Champions, they are physically strong, we’re playing catch-up but I think the lads have worked hard the last two months and the scoreline mightn’t have reflected that. I thought the second half, we worked harder and we made it more difficult for them.”
And the Leitrim manager sees plenty of positive signs for the future - “The most positive thing for me is that we have 36 guys there today that want to be there and they want to wear the Leitrim jersey and they are working extremely hard, regardless of what people might think.
“Those guys are working very, very hard and they will get there. That is the difference there between ourselves and Roscommon. Roscommon have pretty much the same panel over the last couple of years and it is a lot easier to work with that.
“I think the most important thing is that we keep the group together and we have a group there that want to continue on, to push on. We have to work with what we have and the guys that are there are putting in the work and that is a positive sign of things.”
Looking back on the Roscommon game, Brendan felt that the goals killed off Leitrim’s challenge and there were some positive points - “I thought we stood up to them physically better than we did before, we weren’t bullied off the ball as much as we were previously.
“In saying that, we conceded 2-6 in the first half and obviously that’s a huge disappointment. Our own scoreline is disappointing but we were working to try and hold up Roscommon, we had a lot of bodies in our own half and I suppose we suffered on the other side of the pitch because we weren’t getting the ball up quick enough up the pitch and we weren’t getting scores.”
Leitrim take on Sligo in Pairc Sheain Ui Eslin Ballinamore on Sunday, January 7, in the second FBD Insurance Connacht League game, throw-in at 2 pm.