Mayo v Leitrim
Â Into the West from Largy
Largy National School pupils were the delighted winners of the Leitrim Jersey Day, a Championship promotional competition, sponsored by Connacht Council GAA. There was a big welcome for the officials who called to the school with the prizes on Friday last, but the warmest CÃÂ©ad MÃÂle Failte was for Leitrim corner forward Adrian Croal and his team mate, who had been coaching in the school for a number of weeks, Brian McDonald.
The delight in the young faces to see two of their idols in their midst, chatting, giving advice and posing with them for photographer James Molloy, surely was proof positive that the young people of the county are fully behind this Leitrim team. It would have been a similar scenario in any school in the county.
The parting shot from the pupils to Adrian Croal was to Ã¢Åscore at least six pointsÃ¢Â against Mayo. That might be considered a tall order, but Adrian is well used to splitting the posts, whether in a Glencar-Manorhamilton or Leitrim jersey, so who knows!
What we do know is that Adrian and all the county players have given of their all in preparing for the Championship, working themselves to the bone for joint team Managers Brian Breen and George Dugdale, as well as meeting the demands and heeding the advice of team Medical Officer Dr. Declan Loftus and all the other members of the backroom team. Nothing is being left undone.
The players had their minds right in the run up to the London game, when the pundits and the papers said a win for London was on the cards. It’s the same story again, Mayo are odds on favourites.
Of course, none of those making the predictions will actually be playing, none of them will be able to get inside the psyche of the men in the green and gold, none of them can be sure of the real story. The game is far from over yet.
We certainly won’t be lacking in support, as Leitrim followers will be in Castlebar early to cheer on the Ladies Intermediate team in the Connacht Semi-final against Sligo, which gets proceedings underway at noon. Later in the day Leitrim teams, selected from schools throughout the county, will take to the field in the boys’ and girls’ Cumann na m-Bunscol ExhibitionÓgames against Mayo.
There will probably be a lot of hoarse voices cheering on Leitrim, as supporters will have been in Pairc Sean on Saturday evening, urging on the county Minors in their big game against our friends and rivals from across the bridge. Roscommon always bring out the best in us!
So a busy weekend lies ahead. Pride of place will, of course, be given to the Senior Semi-final, when we have about seventy minutes to produce a very unique Connacht Final for 2012.
As Adrian Croal and Brian McDonald bounded down the steps from Largy school, one could detect a glint in their eyes. They and their fellow Leitrim players could have something up their sleeve!
As we all head west on Sunday we will know that nothing beats being there.
20-Jun-12 by Colette Fox – PRO