After the disappointment of the late postponement against Mayo, Leitrim's FBD campaign got underway at the second time of asking at Elphin's Orchard Park on Sunday last when they faced Connacht Champions Roscommon, eventually succumbing to a two point loss in their first official competitive game of 2011.
FBD CONNACHT LEAGUE
As is generally the case with games at this time of year, there were plenty of mistakes evident from both sets of players but it was the opportunity to get 60 minutes of competitive football that was the key to last Sunday's assignment.
While victory against your fiercest rivals would have made the outing more enjoyable for all in Elphin who were supporting the Green & Gold, they can take comfort from the fact that were it not for some wayward frees and the post denying Brian McDonald a game winning goal in injury time, Leitrim could well have been celebrating victory at the end of the game.
Although they only managed one point in the second half, there will be plenty of positives that Leitrim manager Mickey Moran can take from the game. Despite the imposed winter training ban fitness levels appeared to be good and the midfield pairing of Eslin's Tomas Beirne and Ballinamore's Wayne McKeon looked particularly impressive.
As is generally the case with the FBD League, managers are looking at new players with the aim of building an established panel in time for the National League. There were several new faces in the Leitrim from last year as well as the return of some who had been absent in the past.
Gortletteragh's Cathal McCrann returned in goal after an absence of several years while in front of him, Mohill's Ronan Gallagher and Aughnasheelin's Barry McWeeney also returned to the County Senior team and the full-back line alongside Daniel Beck.
From throughout the county new faces were called upon and given the opportunity to make an impression. Melvin Gaels' Conor Sheridan lined out at centre-forward while Fergal Clancy from Glenfarne/Kiltyclogher started at wing-forward.
Dromahair's Conor Kelly began at corner-forward but spent much of the game operating at full-forward and while he found it difficult to escape the attention of the Roscommon defence, Mickey Moran was quick to praise his efforts after the game.
Leitrim were undoubtedly the better team in the opening half. Playing with a strong wind at their backs they were calm in possession and clever with their use of ball up until the final third of the pitch.
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