Micheal McWeeney pictured with Cillian McGloin and Noel Plunkett at Leitrim training. Photo by Willie Donnellan
As heart-stopping and draining as it was on and off the pitch, Leitrim’s extra-time win over New York could be the very making of a young team according to Micheal McWeeney.
The St. Mary’s Kiltoghert clubman, something of a veteran at just 25 years of age, recalled the drama and excitement of Gaelic Park ahead of next Saturday’s Connacht Senior Championship Semi-Final clash with Roscommon in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada.
And Micheal believes that the entire experience was invaluable - “Training camps, anything you could do couldn’t do what New York has done for these lads, for us as a team. It was very tough. I don’t think I got a proper night’s sleep, waking up at 3, 4, 5 o’clock, different time zones but just the different stuff we got to do out there, talking about tactics in the hotel, getting to know different players.
“You can do anything you want, you can do all these training sessions but that trip there has done the world of good for these young players.”
Looking back to Gaelic Park, Micheal says he wasn’t nervous in those nerve-wracking final minutes but the prospect of a New York victory was in the back of his mind - “I wasn’t very nervous but it was in the back of my mind.
“At the same time, I looked over at the bench and saw the players ready to come on and the players that did come on made the difference at the end of the day. Aidan, Darragh who came back on, got the scores at the end of the day.”
And Micheal was amazed at the fearlessness of Shane Quinn whose driving run and saved shot led to the equaliser - “We’d always say we give the ball to the shooters, so I’d always try to give it off to the shooters but in fairness, Shane Quinn went for the jugular.
“I don’t know if I would have but that’s just Shane, balls of steel. We were just lucky, we haven’t got much look this year so we’re delighted the ball went over the bar.”
He also paid tribute to the match winner Noel Plunkett for his calmness under pressure - “Super sub Noel came up with the point, the ball went over the bar, that man could take a shot from anywhere, fair play to him. It doesn’t matter if it is a National League match or out here at training, he still takes on the shot. Fair play to Noel, he did very well.”
SEE THIS WEEK'S LEITRIM OBSERVER FOR MORE FROM MICHEAL AND KEEP AN EYE OUT ON WWW.LEITRIMOBSERVER.IE FOR MORE NEWS AHEAD OF SATURDAY'S CONNACHT SEMI-FINAL