Emlyn Mulligan scoring a point against Louth. Photo by Willie Donnellan
As Leitrim fans everywhere are preparing to crowd around radios on Monday morning, Leitrim players don’t care who they get as long as it is at home in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada next weekend.
Leitrim’s 0-25 to 1-12 victory over Louth (report here) sees the Green & Gold into the third round of the All-Ireland Senior Championship Qualifiers for only the third time ever and once today’s clash between Clare and Offaly, is decided, they have a clearer idea of who they will be facing.
All-Ireland finalists Mayo and semi-finalists Tyrone from last year as well as Monaghan, Cavan, Kildare and Armagh make up an imposing line-up with Leitrim enjoying home advantage against all teams with the exception of Armagh and Offaly who are Division 3 teams.
If Leitrim are drawn to face either Armagh or Offaly and they are drawn out first, Brendan Guckian’s team will be on the road but the Leitrim manager wasn't too worried - "Not overly, I’d like to get a home draw and I’d like for the people to come out and support us again and I’d just like for the lads to showcase their talents again.
“We’re in bonus territory - are we going to sit back, no we’re not and we’re want to give the next match a real good shot, the same as we gave todays.” (See more from Brendan here).
But that is a thought fare from the minds of Leitrim players on Saturday evening with captain Donal Wrynn commenting “The positive thing about it is the likelihood we could be back here in Pairc Sean and probably the Saturday evening again.
“We’d be looking to repeat that performance again and no matter who we get, we’re going to give it our best shot and try and keep the season going for as long as we can.”
It was a point of view echoed by Damian Moran who had a career highlight day with six points from play and was refreshingly honest in his assessment - “I don’t really care who we get, we’re here on merit, it doesn’t bother me who we get, we’ll just welcome the challenge.”
But for Emlyn Mulligan, there was an appreciation for what the game will do for Leitrim football in the long term - “It is great to be in the draw and regardless of who we get, there is a lot of strong teams there, it is what it is.
“But I think the huge thing is that it is another game for these young lads to progress and it is looking at keeping them together for Division 4 again next year again. I think that’s the long term aim but whatever happens next week, whether we get bet by 20 points or we win, it is another championship game with a crowd at home, it’ll be great.”
SEE THIS WEEK’S LEITRIM OBSERVER FOR MORE ANALYSIS & REACTION TO SATURDAY’S QUALIFIER VICTORY