Domhnaill Flynn solos clear with the ball during last Sunday's Allianz League Division 4 victory over Antrim last Sunday in Avantcard Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada picture: Willie Donnellan
The fans are talking about it, the press are talking about it and while Leitrim players may be adhering to the mantra of one game at a time, match winner Domhnaill Flynn admitted that Leitrim’s players may be thinking about promotion.
The match winner in Sunday’s dramatic 0-14 to 1-10 victory over Antrim in Avantcard Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada, Domhnaill agrees there is no point in avoiding talk of promotion given Leitrim’s unbeaten start to the Division 4 campaign.
“There is no denying it, we targeted the first game and then we targeted the second, we were taking it in steps because the first three games are huge because they are three promotion contenders so they were huge.
“We’ve got them in the bank now and we’ll look at the next two games. We’ve a week break and I know if we beat Limerick, they are another team looking for promotion so if we beat them, we’ll be in great shape.”
Yet even then caution is understandable as his response to a blunt question about promotion is greeted with “We’re not going to say the words yet but we’re thinking about it.”
Thinking about it had to be big in his mind as the Mohill man lined up to take the match winning free with almost four minutes of added time elapsed and we come back again to mindset and what Domhnaill was thinking about as he lined up the kick.
It’s pretty matter of fact to be honest: “Just to settle down and kick it, use the wind to judge it to come in. Yeah, there was a lot of pressure, I was confident stepping up.
“We all have our roles - myself and Ryan are splitting frees, we’re splitting so I’m on the right, he’s on the left. I suppose Terry is happy that we’re doing alright but whoever comes in to kick the frees, it is their job to kick them and that’s just the way it is.”
Neither did the enormity of the kick intrude on his thoughts. “No, no, it is just another free, you have to put that out of your head. There are a lot of lads in your ear and you have to put it out of your head, just settle down, compose yourself and it’s just another free.”
Domhnaill’s attitude is mirrored in his team-mates and the Mohill man puts it down squarely to the influence of coach Terry Hyland. “A lot of lads have been saying about it, and I’ve seen a few interviews where they are saying about belief but we are all just so comfortable now.
“We’ve kept most of the lads from last year and added a few more, we’ve full commitment and full belief in what we’re doing.
“We’re confident, there is so much competition for places - we’re not reinventing the wheel as Terry keeps says, we just pushing on, everyone is pushing each other and the belief that we can actually go on and push on, win a few games in a row, try and get promoted - it is there this year whereas the last couple of years, we were probably going through the motions.”
In a tense and tight game, Domhnaill claimed he was never worried that Leitrim wouldn’t get the result but admitted it was tight. “No I was never worried. It was very scrappy at times and there was lots of turnovers, lots of physicality around the middle but I felt we showed good composure especially when we missing a lot of shots in the second half.
“We knew if we stuck to the game-plan, we knew we had it in the legs. It was a very scrappy game, we felt we couldn’t get going and use our counter-attacking game. Their runners from deep surprised us a little bit, we thought they were going to sit back a lot more and they can pierced us a few times.
“But once we corrected that, I think we shut them out and we knew that if we were within one or two points at halftime, we have done that for the last two games we were always behind but once we knew we were within a couple of points, we could push on.”
Leitrim have now snatched victories in injury time in their last two games and it is something the manager is preaching and the players are listening. “Terry is really reiterating this to us,” revealed Domhnaill, “it doesn’t matter how long it takes, keep plugging away and keep to our game plan.
“We’ve done an enormous amount of training so we know that we’re fit and we know that we’ve lads off the bench. Lads off the bench have been huge for us the last two games to come on and push us on.”