His first year on the Leitrim panel has had its fair share of ups and downs but on Saturday evening last, Drumshanb’s Alan Wynne made up for the disappointment of missing out on the games in Ruislip in Castlebar as he played a crucial role in Leitrim’s first ever qualifier victory over Wicklow.
While the result may have been seen by many as a shock, Alan was not surprised by Leitrim’s historic breakthrough.
“We focused coming in to the game, we all said there was that statistic of Leitrim playing 10 qualifying matches and losing 10. We said, ‘why not today, why can’t we win it.’ I was totally focused coming in along with the rest of the team, we had a mission. We kept believing and now we’re looking forward to next week.”
One added reason for Alan’s optimism was the manner in which his side coped when they came under severe pressure in the second half. On other occasions the pressure may have put an end to the Leitrim challenge but on Saturday Alan noted his team mates stood tall and there was no sign of any doubt coming into their play.
“I knew we were going to win today because Wicklow missed a lot of shots and Leitrim, whenever we come in to that position, doubt comes in to our mind but today was different. There was no doubt, PMA - Positive, Mental, Attitude - we went out, pushed on and it’s a great feeling. I think the fans really pushed us on in the last few minutes. Hopefully we get a home game next week and they can drive us on again. I’m just happy enough to break that duck.”
One of the reasons that Leitrim did break their duck was the workrate all over the pitch and Alan singled out on of the substitutes as an example of the team ethic.
“A prime example of the workrate in the team was Adrian Croal in the second half. I think Adrian, when he came, on spent more time in defence than he did in attack. One of the most potent attackers in Leitrim football playing in defence and that just sums it up really, the workrate.”
Having had so many wet days throughout the summer it can’t have been easy to put so much effort in to the game on a warm evening but Alan insisted the conditions were ideal - “They were perfect championship conditions, this is kind of weather you want to be playing in. They were perfect conditions, perfect day, perfect result.”
While we now know that Laois will be Leitrim’s next opponents, speaking shortly after Saturday evening’s match Alan had his eyes set one of the traditional superpowers of Gaelic Football. “Hopefully Kerry next week marking the Gooch or Kieran Donaghy! I don’t know, as George said the longer you’re in it the better it is, it’s more of an adventure that’s just starting and we want to keep going.
“We’ll take tonight off, swimming tomorrow morning, training on Tuesday and Thursday and get focused again. We haven’t won anything yet.”