Fr. Manning Cup Report

SLIGO 3-10     LEITRIM 1-21

Leitrim U16’s maintained their unbeaten start to the 2024 edition of the Fr. Manning Cup at Kent Park with a hard fought 5 point win over neighbours Sligo today.   Leitrim now sit on top of the table with 2 wins out of 2 before  their final group game against Longford on July 13th.
The game started brightly for Leitrim as they raced into an early 2 point lead with the scores coming from Sean Gaffney (2) and Jack Attard in reply to Sligo’s opening point after 30 seconds. Both teams then exchanged points with the Leitrim effort coming from a Jack Attard free.   Over the next 5 minutes Sligo enjoyed their best phase of the game, as they added 1-2 to their tally to leave the Yeats County leading by 1-4 to 0-4 after 15 minutes.   Leitrim responded well to the Sligo goal by adding 2 points of their own through 2 wonderful long range efforts from Jack Prior and Frankie McManus.
Leitrim pushed forward in search of an equaliser and were very unlucky not to be awarded a free but Sligo broke quickly.   They created an overlap and scored their 2nd goal of the game despite 2 initial brilliant saves from Scott Kerr.   Again Leitrim’s response to the goal was noteworthy as they added 6 points in the final 10 minutes of the half through Jack Attard (2), Conor Reynolds (2), Jack Prior (free) and Sean Gaffney.   Sligo in response hit 2 points in those final minutes to leave the half time scoreline Sligo 2-6  Leitrim 0-12.
Leitrim introduced Daire McCabe and Ross O’Shea at half time and retook the lead with an early Sean Gaffney point.   Sligo responded with a point of their own but Leitrim added 2 further points through Daire McCabe and Darragh O’Boyle to leave Leitrim 2 points to the good.   Both sides shared the next 4 points with Daire McCabe (free) and Conor Reynolds being the contributors for Leitrim.   Sligo rattled Leitrim with their 3rd goal of the day with a wonderful sweeping move from the back.   Yet again, Leitrim showed fantastic resilience with a swift response at the other end when Daire McCabe reacted quickest when a long range effort hit the post.   He gathered the ball and calmly rounded the Sligo keeper before rolling the ball into an empty net to restore Leitrim’s 2 point advantage.   Moments later Jack Prior kicked a difficult free to push Leitrim 3 clear.
Leitrim’s resilience was tested still further when they were reduced to 14 players after Gearoid Curley received a black card on 17 minutes.    Sligo initially took advantage when they added a point from a free but substitute Mark Nolan sent Leitrim 3 clear again with his first touch.   Leitrim made 3 further changes to replace tired legs as Louis Quinn, Ultan McNulty and John McGarry all joined the fray.   The teams swapped points again with Conor Reynolds adding his 4th of the game for Leitrim.   Sligo were reduced to 14 players on 25 minutes when one of forwards received a black card but it was Leitrim that finished the game strongest.   Daire McCabe with a wonderful long range effort and Mark Nolan rounded off the scoring to give Leitrim a 5 point victory margin.   While they will be happy with the victory and indeed the attacking display, with 1-17 from open play, they will also realise that there’s plenty of work to be done on the defensive side of the game.   They now meet Longford in 2 weeks time in an attempt to secure top spot in the group and a home semi final in the Fr. Manning Cup.
Scott Kerr; Ronan Connolly; Charlie Slevin; Cillian McWeeney; Senan McGowan; Thomas Gunn; Darragh O’Boyle (0-1); Frankie McManus (0-1); Gearoid Curley; Karl Gethins; Jack Moolick; Conor Reynolds (0-4); Jack Attard (0-3, 0-1f); Jack Prior (0-3, 0-2f); Sean Gaffney (0-4). SUBS: Daire McCabe (1-3, 0-1f), Ross O’Shea; Louis Quinn; Mark Nolan (0-2); Ultan McNulty; John McGarry; Unused Subs: Oisin McGarry; Keelan McGurren, Cuan O’Tonra, Shane Mayock, Rhionn Gallagher; Nathan Casey; Aaron Gibney; Daniel Gilrane; Unavailable through Injury: Ronan Fox; Conor Duignan