At half time in the Leitrim v London replay in Hyde Park, the stands and terraces and the radio listeners scattered around the country and overseas had surely been surmising just what the final score would be. Would Leitrim be absolutely whitewashed as never before? Surely there could be no way back, being fourteen points down, this was surely a bridge too far.
There would have been talk in the Leitrim dressing room too, but just what could anyone say by way of motivation?
Well, whatever was said surely brought a different team on to the field for the second half. From the throw-in there was a different attitude, a different spirit in those green and gold jerseys. The lead was chipped away and everyone played their hearts out. Now it was London who were on the ropes. Watches were checked over and over again. Would there be time? A golden chance of a LondonÓgoal went screaming wide, maybe this was more than a miss, maybe it meant our luck was in. The gap narrowed, few could believe their eyes. London had scored freely in the first half, but now were on the back foot, desperately seeking a few more points that would clinch it and knock the heart out of a battling Leitrim.
The excitement of the previous week in Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada paled in comparison to the tension filled seconds in the Hyde. A Leitrim goal ignited the Lei-trim Lei-trim chant that could be heard halfway to Athlone. There was still time, we could sense it would end in a draw. And extra time would surely be the opportunity Leitrim wanted. Please God, let us get a draw, just a draw, that’s all we’re asking for.
The final whistle ended our dreams of a Connacht Final appearance, but sent London players and supporters into ecstasy. They became history makers and who could begrudge them their glory?
Leitrim hearts were heavy, but the players could walk off the pitch with dignity.
02-Jul-13 by Leitrim GAA