Leitrim Ladies finally made it to the field of play last Sunday as they suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Offaly in Mullingar.
A new look Leitrim Ladies team were back in competitive action for the first time in 2018 on Sunday afternoon, taking on Offaly in Division 3 of the Lidl National League in St. Loman's GAA grounds.
Just seven of the team saw action with the County Senior Ladies last year, giving some indication of the size of the task facing Leitrim with a lot of new players making debuts.
It was the Leinster side who started quickest with the impressive Mairead Daly opening the scoring inside two minutes, driving through the defence before showing great composure to slot the ball into the back of the net.
Leitrim responded well and got their opening point a couple of minutes later courtesy of Laura O'Dowd, who capped off a great counter attack.
Offaly upped the ante afterwards to get the next three scores, Mairead Daly and Ellee McEvoy pointing before Meabh Coleman got the Faithful County's second goal of the game on 17 minutes.
Laura O'Dowd again was at the heart of the action to finish a wonderful team move in style, blasting the ball into the back of the net to get her second score of the game. That was followed up a minute later by a Michelle Heslin point from play and all that separated the sides after 20 minutes was a solitary goal.
In the closing stages of the first half, Aoife Norris, moved from midfield to full forward after suffering a heavy knock, scored a couple of points from play whilst Carla Le Guen registered Leitrim's final score of the half with a free entering the final minute.
The teams emerged for the second period with Offaly ahead by 2-5 to 1-3 and they got the opening score three minutes in with Mairead Daly pointing. Leitrim introduced senior debutantes Edel Shanley and Roisin McGrenaghan to the fray and not long after they were right back in the picture thanks to Carla Le Guen's second pointed free of the afternoon.
That was followed up from the resulting kickout with another goal, Le Guen expertly finding the bottom corner from 14 yards before Michelle Heslin again raised a white flag to leave just one point between the two sides with 20 minutes remaining on the clock.
Not long after Leitrim had brilliantly fought themselves right back into the thick of the action, Éimhín Quinn was substituted after suffering a bad injury to her shoulder and that proved to be the turning point with momentum swinging completely in the favour of Offaly.
Despite the best efforts of the defence and Michelle Hackett, who made some excellent saves over the course of the hour, the opposition were rampant in the final stages as the benefit of already having a few competitive games under their belt began to show.
Leitrim kept battling until the final whistle and will undoubtedly improve after what was their first game of the new season.
Scorers: Carla LeGuen 1-2; Laura O'Dowd 1-1; Michelle Heslin 0-2
Team: Michelle Hackett, Sarah Quinn, Éimhín Quinn, Patricia Forde, Aine Heslin, Clare Owens, Melissa Hewitt, Aisling Quinn, Laura O'Dowd (1-1), Michelle Heslin (0-2), Emma Quinn, Carla LeGuen (1-2), Sorcha Flanagan, Caoimhe Quinn, Alison McKeon. Subs: Ciara McLoughlin, Edel Shanley, Roisin McGrenaghan.