Delighted Leitrim fans react in Avantcard Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada last Sunday as the final whistle sounds to signal Leitrim's Allianz NFL Division 4 victory over Antrim Picture: Willie Donnellan
The bandwagon is starting to pick up speed as a noticeably larger crowd in Avantcard Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada helped carry Leitrim across the line against Antrim last Sunday.
With the crowds following the green & gold dwindling for some years, last Sunday was the first time in a long time where the home fans outnumbered the opposition considerably in Ardan Mac Samhrain and it made a huge difference in a game Leitrim won 0-14 to 1-10.
The value of the Leitrim roar was most profound as Antrim lost a free in the first half after the home crowd bellowed its frustration at the time taken over the kick, not withstanding the fact that barely 20 seconds had passed!
The partisan support got louder and louder as the game went on, chants of “three, three, three” when Antrim's Ricky Johnston was fortunate not to pick up a second yellow card and the roars that greeted every turnover and score had to be inspirational in a match where it literally came down to inches at the final whistle.
Certainly the players took note as match winner Domhnaill Flynn admitted that the vocal Leitrim crowd did make a difference. “It is a cliche but it is an extra man and it is great when you have that home support, everyone encouraging you on.
“Crowds are getting bigger, you do notice it - every time you get a turnover, any time you kick a point, anything like that, any bit of aggro going on, the crowd will be behind you and it is great to see it and great to hear the Leitrim chant going on.
“They will start travelling now and it is huge for the lads. When you hear that roar, when you hear them roaring you off at halftime and roaring you on after halftime, it is huge.”
Manager Terry Hyland, perhaps trying to keep a lid on growing expectations, was a bit more low-key as he commented “ It’s good for the supporters. As I said previously, we are here only for one job and that is to ensure Leitrim can progress.
“We are here to please the crowd in one sense but we are here to work as a group to make sure that Leitrim move forward.”
l See this week's Leitrim Observer for reaction & analysis.