Leitrim manager Brendan Guckian discusses the FBD Insurance Connacht League clash with trainer Michael Moyles and selectors Seamus Quinn & John O'Mahony at halftime. Photo Willie Donnellan
Leitrim focus is purely on the first round of the Allianz League Division 4 campaign according to manager Brendan Guckian as the FBD Insurance Connacht League comes to an end tonight.
Cloone will host the rearranged game against Sligo tonight (Wednesday, January 17), with a 7 pm throw-in and while jousts against Sligo are always keenly fought, it is the thought of Antrim and an Allianz League Division 4 clash on Sunday week that occupies the mind of Brendan Guckian.
Speaking after a draining game in Clonbur, Brendan said “Our aim is this day two weeks against Antrim and from day one, since we got together in October, that was our number one target.”
And the Leitrim manager has been keen to give his 36 strong squad the chance to impress with 28 players already seeing action over the three games - “The FBD has been very beneficial in getting a look at guys and getting a look at guys in very competitive games against Roscommon, Mayo and Galway, three massively competitive games.”
Key for anyone trying to impress the Leitrim manager and survive the impending cut to the squad that will see the Leitrim panel reduced to 30 players is workrate if the words of their manager are anything to go by - “I’ve said it all along about the effort and the workrate they are putting in and I think today more so than last Wednesday, highlighted that.
“We’re improving in the last two games, we’re standing up to teams better and I can’t fault the workrate. That is down to the work they’ve put in over the last eight or nine weeks, they are working extremely hard.”
And the Leitrim manager reiterated his call after the Mayo game for supporters to get behind the County Senior side - “I keep saying it, I hope people realise the lads want to do well, they want to make Leitrim people proud. I think they are going in the right direction to make that happen.”
With players like Ryan O'Rourke, Conor Cullen and Dean McGovern recovering from injuries and a few knocks from two hard games against Galway and Mayo in the space of four days, there aren't too many players who haven't got a run-out with almost ten players making their first Senior team appearance.
Neither Leitrim or Sligo have anything really to play for other than pride but tonight's game is the final chance for some fringe players to impress their respective managers.
SEE THIS WEEK'S LEITRIM OBSERVER, ON SALE NOW, FOR MORE REACTION AND ANALYSIS FROM CLONBUR