Agony in the Garden?
“Come on Liam, do us a favour” we roared at Uachtarán Liam O’ Neill as he began the draw for the Qualifiers, “pull Leitrim out first”. He did and then we held our breath as Liam Hayes opened the second slip of paper. “Hurry up Liam”. We could hardly wait. “Cill Mantáin” We prayed for the two Liams, we knew there is a God.
The whole of Leitrim must have been tuned into TV3 on Monday morning, with at least half predicting another away game against some of the big hitters in the second bowl. Sometimes we need a bit of positive thinking! Others were confused about the system and wondering if we would draw Kerry or Tyrone. We couldn’t, they were in our side. Our choices were Antrim, Wicklow, Westmeath, Laois, Tipperary, Galway and our neighbours Cavan, Longford and Roscommon. Any of the latter three would have created some buzz around Páirc Seán! The Rossies had given a shot in the arm to Connacht football in general and to their own county in particular with a rip-roaring victory over hot favourites Armagh in the Hyde on Sunday, while Longford and Cavan again proved the bookies can often make a wrong call. Pride and passion and self-belief go a long way and can’t be predicted like a racehorse. Racehorses don’t get pep-talks in a dressing room. At least I don’t think so.
It’s Wicklow, The Garden County. Down there they were probably happy enough after the draw. “Sure poor Leitrim were lucky to get out of London and they got hockeyed in Castlebar. Carrick on Shannon might be their Aughrim, but we’ll take them alright, we’re coming in on the back of a win, the extra time against Waterford will have brought us on a lot”. Mind games will have begun already.
Leitrim followers need to stick out their chest a bit and stop worrying about Wicklow. If it were an Allianz League game, we’d be hopeful enough of a win, why not now? A home venue against another Division IV team – what more could we want? Playing at home, of course, is only an advantage when your county comes out to a man behind you. So, we can all do our bit.
Since Castlebar, George and Barney and the players and the Board and the backroom team have been working away quietly, but with the same sense of purpose as before the Championship started. There has been no let up. Training, travelling, focussing, injury treatments, laps and drills. All in Winter conditions as well.
The least the rest of us can do is mark our calendar for Saturday July 14th. Turn up in Carrick, no matter what else is on. Let’s show everyone what Leitrim supporters can do. The lads in the green and gold are just longing to get the chance to show what they can do too.
Together we can cause another Agony in the Garden.
Venue: Páirc Seán, Saturday 14th July – Throw in 6pm – Referee Barry Cassidy (Derry)
Nothing beats being there
03-Jul-12 by Tommy Moran