Captain Liam Moreton reflects on a great year with the County hurlers Picture: Willie Donnellan
Highlight of the year
The highlight of the year for me was reaching the league final as this was something that we had all set out to do at the start of the year. Unfortunately Sligo got the upperhand on us in the last 10 minutes of the game. However the performance put in by the team that day was unbelievable to watch. Everyone gave it their all and played hurling the way it should be played. The game had everything , goals, big hits, intensity and speed. It's a pity supporters didn't make it to this one.
Lowlight of the year
I suppose losing the league final in the last few minutes of the game was a huge disappointment but the performance that day gave every player a huge confidence boost. Losing to Mayo in Castlebar heavily in the second half was probably the biggest low light of the year. However I feel the score line did not reflect the performance we did put in. We met a better side on the day and Mayo’s experience overpowered us in the second half. We will learn from this and be back bigger and stronger next year without a shadow of a doubt.
How did the impact of covid-19 affect you?
I struggled with my own personal training during lockdown. I found it very hard to get out training on my own at the early stages of the lockdown. Not knowing if the championship and league final were going to be played was what held me back I feel. Personally if I don't have a set goal or something to work towards I struggle to train hard. Getting the news that games would go ahead again was great news and it got me back on track.
What was it like participating in sport at a time when the country was locked down?
At the beginning it was strange. At times heading to training you would start questioning yourself ‘should I be going training?’ I was a little worried at the beginning about joining in big numbers and that but to be honest the way the management team and the county board ran the whole operation of training and games was an absolute credit to them all. Everything was run professionally and players safety was put to the forefront of everything.
Coming to training and games togged and having to go home in wet gear was a huge change for everyone but we got used to it. Seeing Zak Moradi togging out in the boot of a car is a sight none of us might see again! So we will definitely cherish some of these memories this year.
Did the covid-19 lockdown change your attitude to sport?
The lockdown opened my eyes to the importance of sport in my life and every GAA fan's life in the world I'm sure. When we had no games to play or no training to go to I missed it. Even though I was busy doing my own things I still did miss the craic at training with the lads and the drive to win.
The past few weekends I have really enjoyed watching the hurling and football games and this for me has just hit home the importance of sport in my life. I suppose you don't miss something you love doing until it's taken away from you. So overall covid-19 has really made me appreciate sport that little bit more.
Personality of the year
It's got to be Clive Beattie (inset), one of our team selectors this year with the Leitrim hurlers. The man is never in bad humour. He's always joking and having the craic and he can put a smile on anyone's face when you meet him.
He has a way about him. He gets on with everyone, has the craic at training or when travelling to a game and at the same time adds a huge amount to every training and game set up. He is a fantastic addition to the new management team and loves the game of hurling. This man will die in his boots for Leitrim hurling!
Team of the year
Team of the year has to be Limerick hurlers. They are just sheer class to watch. The fitness levels and strength of their team is something else. I really enjoy watching their style of play and the way they run at teams. They are the team everyone is looking up to at the moment. Someday Leitrim hurlers will be up beating them in the All Ireland Final!
One to watch in 2021
Leitrim hurlers. We as a team now believe we are good enough to compete at a much higher level than we have done in the past. This is all down to the work of management teams and trainers down through the last few years and of course the commitment and effort being put in by the players.
There were ups and downs this year. We may not have won any silverware but we as a team made huge progress in the right direction. A National League title and a Nicky Rackard Championship is by no means out of our reach for 2021.