Leitrim manager Brendan Guckian with trainer Michael Moyles. Photo by Willie Donnellan
What a difference a week makes as just seven days on from a dispiriting loss to Roscommon, Leitrim manager Brendan Guckian was actually professing disappointment that his team hadn’t beaten Mayo in the fortress of Elvery’s MacHale Park!
On a night you wouldn’t put a dog out in and on a pitch that was heavy and slippery, Leitrim produced a much improved display in the second round of the FBD Insurance Connacht League as Brendan Gallagher’s late late fisted goal snatched a deserved 1-10 to 0-13 draw (Match report here).
Yet it was telling that the Leitrim manager’s first emotion was not of elation or satisfaction at the only the second ever draw for a Leitrim Men's team in Castlebar but disappointment as when asked of his feelings after the game, Brendan replied “Disappointed to be honest, we targeted a win tonight, we didn’t get it.
“I thought the lads went about their business in the manner of getting a win. Mayo got that eight or nine minute patch where they got scores and I suppose in the end, we had to fight to get a draw out of it.”
Looking at the game and Leitrim’s remarkable six unanswered points before halftime, taking them from four points down to two in front, Brendan felt that confidence is the issue - “I think again it comes back to confidence.
“I think the lads were a bit wary the first ten or 15 minutes, we sat back and we defended in numbers and in the last ten or 12 minutes, we decided to run at them and go at them.
“Our shot selection in the first half wasn’t good enough but it was definitely an improvement. In saying that, I suppose going back to last week, we need to get more scores on the board.”
Neither did the fact that it was a substantially understrength Mayo side diminish Leitrim’s performance with players of the calibre of Barry Moran, Neil Douglas, Alan Feeman, Jason Gibbons and Kevin McLoughlin all seeing some action on the night.
And Brendan felt Mayo were definitely not taking the game lightly - “At the end of the day, it is Mayo you are playing and they didn’t want to lose that game today. Regardless of what personnel they had out, they didn’t want to lose today and I thought our lads performed very well, I thought our workrate today was very good.”
Check out our match report from Castlebar here