Fr. Manning Cup Report

LEITRIM 5 – 6      OFFALY 1 – 8

Leitrim began their 2024 Fr. Manning Cup campaign with a hard fought victory over Offaly on Saturday at Philly McGuinness Park in Mohill.   Played in near perfect conditions, both teams began the game minus a number of players still involved with their respective U17 teams.
Leitrim started the better of the teams, dominating early possession.   As in 2023, one of the standout characteristics of this team was their work ethic.   On numerous occasions in the first half, the platform for Leitrim attacks was founded on some wonderful turnovers of Offaly with Conor Duignan and Thomas Gunn particularly prominent in that department.   Conor Reynolds opened the scoring for Leitrim with a fine point after 4 minutes.   In the next 10 minutes, Leitrim put distance between the teams adding 2-1 to their tally with the goals coming courtesy of Conor Reynolds (penalty) and Mark Nolan, and a further point from Conor Reynolds.   Offaly got their first score after 18 minutes before Mark Nolan replied with a free.   5 minutes before the break Offaly were thrown a lifeline when they found room behind the Leitrim defence to score a much needed goal.   Leitrim’s response was swift and they put together a great team move involving Ultan McNulty, Gearoid Curley and Mark Nolan to get Conor Reynolds free in front of goals.   He was hauled down by some last ditch defending from Offaly and he duly dispatched the resultant penalty to give Leitrim an 8 point cushion.   The final word of the half was left to Offaly as they converted a 30 metre free to leave the half time scoreline Leitrim 3-3  Offaly 1-2.
Offaly began the 2nd half in more assertive fashion with the introduction of 4 members of their U17 squad.   They started to gain parity in the middle of the park which resulted in more pressure on the Leitrim defence.    A sustained period of pressure led to Offaly opening the scoring in the 2nd half with a well taken point.   Senan McGowan replied for Letrim from a free as Offaly started to expose gaps in the Leitrim defence. In the 8th and 14th minute Offaly added 2 further points to their tally from placed balls.   In between those scores Offaly created some goal scoring opportunities only to be denied by some good saves by Scott Kerr and some stout defending by Charlie Slevin and Cillian McWeeney.   Offaly were made to pay for these misses when Leitrim broke up an Offaly and after 3 quick accurate kick passes, half time substitute Jack Attard rifled the ball to the top corner to snuff out any possibility of an Offaly comeback. From then until the end of the game Leitrim wrestled back control of the game as both teams emptied the bench.   Leitrim added a point through Jack Attard and goal through Gearoid Curley in reply to 3 further Offaly points.   Senan McGowan completed the scoring with a free kick from 45 metres to leave Leitrim with a 10 point cushion at the final whistle.
LEITRIM: Scott Kerr; Cillian McWeeney; Charlie Slevin; Ronan Connolly; Ultan McNulty; Ross O’Shea; Darragh O’Boyle; Conor Duignan; Thomas Gunn; Senan McGowan (0-2); Gearoid Curley (1-0); Louis Quinn; Mark Nolan (1-0); Ronan Fox; Conor Reynolds (2-2).  SUBS: Jack Attard (1-1), John McGarry, Nathan Casey, Keelan McGurrin, Cuan O Tonra, Daniel Gilrane, Oisin McGarry, Aaron Gibney, Shane Mayock and Rhionn Gallagher.