Allianz NFL Division 4

Leitrim in need of a lift ahead of Limerick encounter

John Connolly


John Connolly

Leitrim in need of a lift ahead of Limerick encounter

Amidst the gloom, Leitrim will be looking for a much needed boost when Limerick visit Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada next Sunday for the fourth round of the Allianz League Division 4 campaign.

A tough and demoralising start to the 2018 League campaign has seen defeats against the three teams admittedly favoured for promotion at the start of the year.

The three defeats have sparked a torrent of criticism on social media and online platforms, creating something of a siege mentality around the County team as they look for their first win of the year.

Abuse has poured down from on-high for the management team and the County Board, the players less so but strangely clubs, who voted against efforts to reform the Leagues and raise standards, have escaped all the criticism!

Certainly the mood among fans around the county is not good but the situation Leitrim are in now hasn't arived out of the blue - it is the result of years of neglect and poor decisions at all levels and unfortunately the current Leitrim team is reaping the whirlwind.

And even though we've stated in almost every match report and preview this year, it can't be stated enough - this Leitrim team are giving everything they've got. The fact remains that this is an incredibly young Leitrim side, shorn of some key experienced players, learning some very harsh lessons on the job!

Lots of young players and teams have been undone by unrealistic expectations over the years and while Galway can blood three or four players from a team that reached last year's U21 All-Ireland Final, Leitrim must use eight or nine players from a team that was comprehensively beaten by the Tribesmen, no matter the final scoreline.

Limerick's visit on Sunday (2pm throw-in) gives Brendan Guckian's side the perfect opportunity to break their duck but the Treaty county are also looking for their first win of the League. Limerick do have a point on the board as they were caught desperately late in injury time by London but their performances have been quite competitive so far.

The Munster men held Laois for a long time before succumbing to a 2-12 to 0-9 defeat away from home and pushed Carlow to four points a week later, losing 2-11 to 0-13 so Limerick may feel they are closer to a first win than Leitrim.

In the meeting last year, Limerick scored a fortunate 2-11 to 0-15 win over Leitrim in Newcastlewest, a result that officially ended all hope of promotion and a loss next Sunday will theoretically do the same for either team.

With Antrim, Carlow and Laois all yet to meet each other, the big clashes all coming in the final three games, a win here could, in theory, open the door to either team for a promotion push but the odds are astronomical to be honest.
What Leitrim need is a competitive performance first and foremost and if it brings a win, we're in bonus territory.

Even if our lot is defeat next Sunday, and a victory over Limerick is achieveable but far from certain either, Leitrim's players need to be competitive and capable of building some momentum, particularly with the game against New York only 10 weeks away now.

And a bit of genuine and vocal support from the stands wouldn't go amiss either!