At the end of the opening verse of The Saw Doctors song, ‘To Win Just Once’, there is a line that could easily have been written for the Leitrim footballers in their quest for a first ever victory in the qualifiers.
“To claim one victory inspired, to win just once is their desire” sang the Tuam band and only for the fact that they are known to be Galway supporters it could have been felt that they too were feeling the pain of the Leitrim footballers.
Last Saturday’s win against Wicklow put an end to a record that was in danger of becoming a burden. While it is easy to say that it is a new team and a new managerial regime, the fact remains that before Leitrim took to the field against Wicklow the supporters and players were constantly reminded of the statistic - played 10, lost 10.
After the bitter disappointment of the heavy defeat in Castlebar only those with real loyalty to the county believed Leitrim had any sort of a chance and the fact that Wicklow brought nearly as many supporters to Pairc Sean as the home side illustrated that many in Leitrim were not overly confident.
However, on a day that was perfect for championship football those loyal fans that enjoyed the unexpected win in Markievicz Park last year as much as they despaired at the beating this year in McHale Park played their part when they were needed in the closing stages. The chant of Leitrim and the roars of approval with every tackle, block, clearance and point can only have inspired the players who had already put so much into the game.
Days of despair after defeats to the likes of Meath, Sligo and Donegal were forgotten in the blink of an eye as referee Barry Cassidy sounded the full time whistle. The Leitrim supporters were in no rush to leave Pairc Sean and made their way on the pitch to share the moment with the players.
After a sharing the moment with friends, family and clubmates the players began a warm down by the scoreboard end and a spontaneous round of applause gave an indication of the appreciation the supporters had for the players.
Laois arrive next weekend with Leitrim’s dream to “win just once” having already been realised but after waiting 10 years for one win, it’s not really too much to be hoping for another win so soon is it?