The Day After

 

Pairc Sean is quiet. It’s just the tidying up to be done, after the visit of over 13,000 spectators, the TV cameras, journalists, commentators and analysts, video operators, photographers, officials, stewards and all those who make up the framework of big match day. We have all left with our own thoughts of what happened and of what might have been.

 

For Leitrim supporters there was the contrast of emotions with the unbridled joy of the win in Markievicz Park, when we all hugged and kissed and licked our lips with the thoughts of having the Rossies come to Carrick.

We owed them one and would take great delight in seeing them scampering back across the bridge, while we geared up for a Connacht Final.

 

There was work to be done first, of course. While most of us focussed on another championship day out, planned for the weekend, arranged to hook up with the gang before the match, sorted the tickets, hung out the flags and joined in the razzmatazz, another group was really rolling up its sleeves and getting dug in.

 

This group was made up of the Leitrim panel, team management, County Board officers, backroom assistants, medical and physio advisers â€â€œ a combination of dedicated, committed, loyal and trusted souls who were determined to give of their all for the Green and Gold, just as they have been doing year after year, proud to be our representatives, whether in the FBD, the Allianz National League, a tournament, a challenge game, but especially in the Championship.

 

Only those close to the scene can fully comprehend the effort made and rather than be critical of players, we should acknowledge that each of them gave of their very best. As the pre-match parade was ending, team captain James Glancy summoned the full panel on to the pitch, so that every player, irrespective of the number on their jersey, could link arms for Amhrán na bhFiann to show they were all very much part of the team. This was a nice gesture, a sign of the solidarity that exists in the squad.

 

The game did not go well, the spark that was there against Sligo somehow failed to ignite, the plans to contain Roscommon against the wind and then turn up the tempo in the second half just never materialised. Even the woodwork went against us, when Cathal McCrann’s brilliant save from Donie Shine crashed off the post and into the net. On another day it would have rebounded elsewhere. Such is your sporting luck.

We were well beaten by a stronger side, by a team that definitely looks capable of retaining the Connacht title. To be fair, there was no taunting or triumphalism by the Rossies, but they certainly deserved any bragging rights. Next time we meet, Sunday will be forgotten and all will be back in the melting pot in the Hyde â€â€œ a much happier hunting ground for Leitrim than Pairc Sean is turning out to be!

 

There were others who worked hard to have everything right for Sunday and special praise must go to those who had the pitch and grounds in such peak condition, despite the most awful weather conditions. Many were busy preparing the Development Squads and Cumann na m-Bunscol teams. Kathy McLoughlin of the Leitrim Gaels Club had her own practicing to do, to be ready to lead the spectators in the singing of the National Anthem, a task she performed to perfection. The Glencar Manorhamilton Rince Fóirne group put in busy hours also and demonstrated just why they are All Ireland Scór Champions. There were preparations in Kiltubrid also, as the members of St. Brigid’s Pipe Band honed their musical and marching skills.

 

Remember too the concerted efforts of the County Board officers, so ably led by Cathaoirleach Joe Flynn and Runaí Diarmuid Sweeney â€â€œ so much unseen work has to be done and will continue to have to be done day after day, week after week, irrespective of wins or losses.

 

Yes, Pairc Sean will be quiet for a day or two, but then the markers and the bollards and the water bottles and the footballs will be back again. As will the players, as they try to put the RoscommonÓgame behind them and set their sights on the Qualifiers. There is an incentive in that too. You never know, we might draw the winners of the Longford-Cavan clash and then the local rivalry would be as strong as ever.

 

Some Leitrim followers could be heard muttering as they left in the rain on Sunday â€Å“Never againâ€Â. They don’t mean a bit of it. Come the Qualifiers, their Green and Gold blood will have them on the road once more â€â€œ sure the players never needed support more than they do now,

 

 

13-Jun-11 by Tommy Moran