Just a matter of months into his job as Leitrim manager Sean Hagan has already laid his stamp on the team as he guided them to the FBD title.
Since his appointment Sean has stressed his focus was the opening round of the League but he has been pleased with how the FBD League has developed in terms of preparation.
“The FBD League was about getting competitive games ahead of the National League but the further you go in any competition you like to push on and win them.”
Reflecting on the game Sean was particularly satisfied with how Leitrim played in the opening half, against a strong wind.
“The most pleasing aspect for me was the way the guys played in the first half. You can have all the game plans you like but you need to have the characters to implement them on the field, when he pressure is on to dig out the win.
“Our lads in the first half played tremendous, economical football with a very heavy breeze against us.”
Leitrim were dealt a blow in the 22nd minute when Paul Brennan was issued with a black card but Sean insisted a strong panel is the key to overcoming such challenges.
“The whole idea is to have a squad so that when we do pick up black cards guys come in that are equally as good as the lads after coming off the field and that’s the competition that is within the squad. Leitrim football is in a very healthy place at the moment.”
Returning his attention to next Sunday and the challenge that will be come from Antrim, Sean insisted the players will have learned from the experiences of previous years.
“The older you get the wiser you get and they’ve learned from last year’s campaign as well.
“Our focus remains on Antrim and hopefully we can push on. This gives us extra confidence and more belief in our ability.”
One challenge for Sean will be naming a starting 15 for Sunday but he insisted those who are introduced from the bench will as important as those who start the game.
“Guys will be disappointed but there were 20 used again today and the lads that came in off bench played a tremendous part. That is the way modern football is gone, we need 20 or 21 men per game.”
Sean hails panel for FBD success
Having seen his Leitrim team claim the FBD League title Sean was quick to pay tribute to the players within the Leitrim panel.
“The guys are wiling to learn and we’re developing as a unit all the time. We changed our tactics two or three times during the course of the game.”
With the celebrations underway on the pitch Sean added, “We’re delighted, we have a tremendous bunch of lads and I think everyone on the squad has contributed to this victory. Other lads didn’t get a run out today but they played tremendously against Galway and other teams.”
After praising their footballing abilities Sean added, “The three things that stand out in any group of men is honesty, respect and commitment and we are getting those three things and I can’t speak highly enough of the lads.”