In the end it proved to be something of a formality but in the build up to Leitrim’s third Championship visit to the Big Apple there were questions raised about whether this would be the year New York claimed a famous scalp. Would former Monaghan star Rory Woods be able to inspire the exiles or perhaps Carrigallen’s Eoin Ward & Dromahair’s Sean Kelly would be able to plot the downfall of former team mates and opponents.
For those not lucky enough to be basking in the New York sunshine the next best thing was to listen to either Colin Regan and PJ Leddy on Ocean FM or Willie Hegarty on Shannonside FM. Approaching 8pm radios up and down the county were tuned to the correct frequency hoping to hear of Leitrim’s safe progression to a Connacht semi-final clash with either Sligo or London in Carrick-on-Shannon on June 23.
Ultimately the challenge from the exiles never really materialised although the opening exchanges did see the hosts take the lead and from several thousand miles away Cathal McCrann’s praises were being sung after he made a top save to deny Jason Kelly. Having weathered the early storm, Leitrim took complete control and Colin Regan’s description of Robbie Lowe’s goal was only bettered by seeing the St Mary’s man lunge towards the ball the following evening when TG4 showed the highlights.
As the game progressed and the result became even more inevitable the lack of pictures became less of an issue. Twitter was expertly used by the County Board to update the Leitrim faithful around the world.
When TG4 aired the hghlights they proved to be condensed to say the least but it did give an indication of just how dominant Leitrim were as time and space were afforded to Emlyn Mulligan and Wayne McKeon while man of the match Tomas Beirne was another who looked sharp.
For the green and gold faithful attention now turns to a June 23 Connacht semi-final in Pairc Sean MacDiarmada. At this very early stage of the Championship Leitrim are the first team to have registered a win and while tougher challenges will arrive George Dugdale and Barney Breen will certainly be pleased to have overcome the first hurdle.
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