A tough week off the field for Leitrim Ladies football was matched by a tough one on it as all three county underage teams suffered losses in provincial competition over the weekend.
After the confirmation last Thursday that Leitrim were officially relegated when they conceded their final Lidl Ladies NFL Division 3 clash against Longford, it didn’t get any better on the field with losses for the county U14, U16 & Minor teams.
Sligo were the victors in a double header in Collooney on the Bank Holiday Monday in two close games, the U14 team losing 4-9 to 4-7 while the Minor team lost by five points, 2-12 to 3-4. On Good Friday, Leitrim suffered a heavy defeat in the first round of the Connacht U16 Championship with Mayo winning 5-20 to 4-6 in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada.
However, the three losses were over-shadowed by the relegation of the Senior Ladies team when the failed to fulfill their final fixture against Longford, a game that would have been a relegation decider.
Victory would have preserved Leitrim’s Division 3 status but Leitrim Ladies County Board Secretary Pat Faughnan informed the Observer on Thursday morning "It’s with regret that Leitrim Ladies have to concede another game, this time against Longford this weekend."
Sunday's game was the fifth time in the League that Leitrim have conceded with their only two outings resulting in defeats against Meath (7-29 to 2-5) and Offaly (6-15 to 2-5).
It continues the turmoil for the Ladies Board as it took several attempts to constitute a new officer board while the Minor team recently suffered a mind-boggling 14-17 to 1-6 loss to Roscommon in the first round of the Connacht Minor Championship.
Leitrim were last in Division 4 in 2010 after the Leagues were reconstructed, winning the final against Limerick in Breffni Park. That came just three years after Leitrim had won the All-Ireland Intermediate title in Croke Park but they only fielded once in the following year's League and suffered a number of heavy defeats before they were relegated back to Intermediate level in 2011.
Leitrim Ladies may also be liable for heavy fines as the LGFA rules state "Any County team giving a walkover after the commencement of the National League or Championships, shall incur a fine up to €5,000. The governing body shall review their participation in that competition."
The worry for must now be for the Championship as, under LGFA rules, any team which fails to field for a Championship match will see the entire county suspended for 12 months. The rule states "County Boards must send forward a team for Inter-County Adult Championships. Failure to do so may result in the entire County being suspended for 12 months. The suspension shall start on the date on which the match should have been played."
Ironically, the turmoil comes at a time when St. Clare's CS Manorhamilton are preparing for an All-Ireland Final on Friday, April 13 so the talent is obviously there in the county.