The Connacht Under 21 Football Championship semi finals are down for decision this weekend. The defending all Champions Galway will be the guests in Carrick–on-Shannon when they will face Shane Ward’s Leitrim. The winners will take on either Sligo or Roscommon in the final. nÓgel Dineen’s men will be looking to build on their successful quarter final victory over Mayo when they play Sligo on Saturday
Galway will enter Saturday’s match as hot favourites to advance to the final. Shane Ward is the manger of the Leitrim side and the Manorhamilton based teacher has enjoyed success at club under 21 with Aodh Ruadh in Donegal and Glencar Manorhamilton in Leitrim.
There’s no doubt that his men will face a massive test on Sunday but Ward is confident in his own side’s ability and is happy that the game will be played in Carrick-on-Shannon. Ward also expects the tribesmen to be hell bent on retaining their Provincial title and maybe even looking further than the championship in the West.
Donal Wrynn is perhaps the best know of the Leitrim team after producing a number of superb performances for the senior side. The Fenagh man has also played at full forward and full back for Sean Hagan’s side but it is expected that for under 21 duty he could be deployed to Midfield. Leitrim are far from a one man band according to their Manager and in the future he expects more players to advance to the senior ranks. The team selection won’t be announced until later in the week due to some players carrying minor knocks into the weekend, but regardless who takes to the field Ward is expecting that they will represent the county well. In the Hastings cup Leitrim lost to Tipperary a side back boned by the All Winning Team from 2011, they were unlucky to loose to Meath, before ending the campaign with a big win over Wicklow. Apart from those results the competition served Ward well as regards seeing players in a competitive environment. In total the management team used thirty one different players. Ward feels that the new rules has also altered the way that under age sides will be setting up their teams for different competitions. Leitrim will have to be aware of the threat that Galway possess but on the other hand Leitrim will have to concentrate on their ownÓgame plan and their own performance. In conclusion the Donegal man feels that his side have to stay in the game for a long as possible and thenÓgradually ask serious questions of the Tribesmen.
Click on the link below to listen to Shane Wards interview with John Lynch.
21-Mar-14 by Colette Fox – PRO