Fans may not be looking forward to Saturday’s All-Ireland Qualifier but Leitrim footballers are looking for a chance for redemption.
Saturday’s All-Ireland Football Championship Qualifier against Armagh may be regarded as an almost impossible proposition by pundits and fans alike for an injury hit Leitrim but joint manager Brian Breen sees Saturday’s second round encounter as a chance to set the record straight.
“We didn’t do ourselves justice,” Brian told the Observer on Monday evening, “and we have a point to prove next Saturday but all we are really aiming to do against Armagh is put in a solid performance.”
The trauma of the loss in Hyde Park is obviously deep but like his fellow joint manager George Dugdale, Breen refuses to seek solace in excuses for the loss against London, down-playing the effect the wind had on the game.
“I said after the game that our first half performance was totally unacceptable and it was. People may have said the wind was a big factor but it was not a 2-10 to 0-2 wind, it obviously had a bit of an effect on the game but it wasn’t the main factor in our first half display.
“We didn’t do ourselves justice, we had the opportunity of a Connacht Final and we didn’t take it,” added the Ballinamore man, the pain of missng out on a first Provincial Final appearance since 2000 still raw.
Yet despite a severe injury list, the Leitrim manager still sees hope for next Saturday’s clash with a rejuvenated Armagh side despite everything and the 1994 Connacht Championship medalist points to last year’s first ever Qualifier victory against Wicklow in Carrick-on-Shannon as proof that what seems like the impossible is still impossible.
“It reminds me a lot of this time last year after we were beaten by Mayo in the Connacht Semi-Final,” recalls Breen, “At the time, I thought it was the end of the world and I couldn’t see how we would recover but we managed to put together a good solid campaign in the Qualifiers against Wicklow and Laois.
“Hopefully, on Saturday, if we can get the supporters out and get them behind us, we can put in a solid perofrmance.”
Leitrim have injury worries ahead of Saturday’s game with Emlyn Mulligan, Darren Sweeney and Enda Williams all battling to be fit.
• For more on Saturday’s All-Ireland Qualifier against Armagh, see pages 78 & 79.