Leitrim keeper Diarmuid McKiernan is beaten by Mayo's Fergal Boland during the penalty shootout. Photo by Willie Donnellan
If the fans were surprised by the penalty shootout at the end of last Sunday’s drawn FBD League encounter, it was nothing compared to the shock felt by Leitrim keeper Diarmuid McKiernan!
Admitting that he was caught off-guard by the match regulations, Diarmuid didn’t seemed too bothered by taking part in the first ever official penalty shootout in gaelic football - “To be honest, I got a bit of a land when we levelled and the umpire went are you ready for penalties and I thought he was messing.”
And what was it like to be the first keeper to ever face a penalty shootout in Gaelic football? “It is a tough way to lose a game but it is one way of deciding how a game will go. There was a huge crowd down there, there was a bit of jeering and stuff but it is great for them to see something like that.
“It was my first time to be involved in something like that with so much pressure on a couple of kicks so fair play to the lads who stood up to take a penalty, it took great courage to do, I’m sure they want to do well for the team so fair play to them.”
Looking back on the game, Diarmuid was pleased with Leitrim’s resilience - “Overall, I thought we played well, at times we were a bit sloppy. To come from eight points down to come back and level the game, and fair play to Damien Moran for slotting the last kick.
“There are a lot, a lot of positives to take from that and it is great to get such a high quality game in before the league and I’m sure it will drive us on.”
And the Allen Gaels netminder was delighted with the great support from the terraces - “Brilliant atmosphere, it was great. Mayo always travel in numbers and in fairness, the Leitrim supporters came out too and we thank them for that. It is a nice and a bad way to start the season, we showed great character and fair plays to the boys for digging deep and grinding out the result in the end.”