Vice-captains don’t usually get pressed into talking with the media but with captain Darren Duignan absent, Mark Mitchell stepped into the fray to speak on behalf of Gortletteragh and he admits he is looking forward to Saturday’s Intermediate Final.
“Yeah, looking forward to the final,” said Mark, when asked if he was looking forward to the big day, “Glad to be back in a final and hopefully, we can pull it off this time.”
This time refers to last year’s loss to Melvin Gaels and Mark predicts Dromahair will be just as difficult opposition on Saturday - “I suppose last year, we knew it would be a tough game, we were against Melvin Gaels who we knew were a good team and we think the same against Dromahair, they’re playing Division One League and we know it is going to be a tough game. I played Dromahair earlier in the year, a good tough game and we know that they have a lot of good players.
“They have good experienced lads and boys who can cause a lot of harm on the day if they are let play so we’ll have to make sure that we give it all.”
Gortletteragh gave it their all in the semi-final and Mark believes that the replay will stand to his team-mates - “We were lucky against Glenfarne the first day, lucky to get a draw and some people would say we were lucky to come out at all and that Glenfarne should have took it. We won’t take anything for granted and we won’t going into this.”
Making up for last year is one motivation but so is ensuring that a lot of players who have soldiered through the years with Gortletteragh can finally win a medal - “Last year, Melvin Gaels, for a long time, we were there with them and it was only near the end that they pulled away from us.
“We still have a few of the older lads there and it would be good for them to finally win something, they’ve been a long time at it, being close and have nothing at the end of the day. For them lads to finally get something after all the effort they’ve put in down through the years.”
And Mark paid particular tribute to the leadership of Cathal McCrann and Seamus Quinn - “Cathal McCrann has carried us through a lot of games this year. A man was talking to me at the weekend, he was home from London, and he was asking why do Leitrim have that man playing in goals when you see what he can do out the field.
“That’ll tell you, he is a great part of our team so he is and he has really been driving us on as has Seamus Quinn. Seamus has been unlucky with injury the last day but he has great expereince and is a great man to have at training, to tell you and to keep you going, to tell you maybe what you are doing wrong and what you can do better.”
Mark, who has been playing on the Gortletteragh Senior team for six years, agrees that the future looks bright with an influx of new talent - “There are a good few young lads coming through and we have our Minors in the Final with Fenagh and it is good to see them lads coming through.
“They have won down at underage and know what it takes to win and it is great to see them lads coming on. Maybe we could get back up to Senior and have them playing at the top level.”
The Gortletteragh corner-back admits that his position is a stressful one but has grown used to the role - “It can be very stressful at times, there is not too much sympathy if a goal gets in by you and you’d be disappointed. I’ve always been playing there so I used to it.”
As for a verdict on the final, Mark says “You always have to expect to win but it is all on the day. A goal one way or the other can make a big difference early on in a game and they say it is all who wants it more, can drive on, have belief in yourself and that is the difference.
“We know last year the feeling after we were standing there watching the Melvin Gaels man lifting the Cup so I suppose that has been driving us on all year. Hopefully, we can push that bit further and bring the Cup back this time.”
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