Aughrim has never been a happy hunting ground for Leitrim and it was no different last Sunday in the Allianz NFL Division 4 when Wicklow turned on the style in the first half to formally kill off Leitrim’s faint promotion hopes.
By John Connolly
Without the entire full-forward line of Adrian Croal, Ray Cox and James Glancy, who failed a fitness test in Aughrim, Leitrim’s task was always a tough one in Wicklow’s renowned fortress but the home side were far more comfortable winner than even the six point final margin suggests.
Joint manager Brian Breen was the first to admit that Wicklow took their foot off the pedal quite substantially in the second half, their nine point halftime lead virtually assuring themselves of victory despite the undoubted efforts of the Leitrim players.
It might seem condescending at times but you couldn’t fault the sheer effort and commitment of the Leitrim players as they threw themselves.
Early on, a 13-man defensive strategy had Wicklow struggling to find the way through a massed Leitrim but as they gained a stranglehold on the middle of the field, Wicklow started to expose frailties in the Green & Gold full-back line as Tony Hannon and Sean Furlong did awful damage.
Quicker ball from the Wicklow midfield meant that the defence was far more exposed and the nine point gap was a fair reflection of the gulf between the teams, perhaps the most comfortable Wicklow have ever been against Leitrim.
An injury to Darren Sweeney compounded the damage but Leitrim’s players refused to lie down, working incredibly hard to close down a clearly lack-lustre Wicklow in the second half and actually out-scoring the home team by 1-6 to 0-6.
For full report, see this week’s Leitrim Observer.