Bank of Ireland Football Championship, Round 2

Leitrim 1-8 Meath 1-12

Leitrim almost pulled off one of the great shocks of this year?s championship when they pushed Leinster kingpins Meath to within 30 seconds of a sensational championship exit.

In an extraordinarily tense Round 2 Qualifier game at a packed P?irc Se?n Mac Diarmada, Leitrim found themselves a point ahead of one of gaelic football?s biggest names with injury time running out. It was then that Meath hero Ollie Murphy, himself an All Ireland medal winner, who had just come off the bench got his first touch of the ball and shot a dramatic equaliser for the Royal County to break Leitrim hearts and send the game into extra time.

A deflated Leitrim never recovered from this hammer blow, falling two points in arrears at half time in extra time and whenÓgraham Geraghty scored an opportunist goal at the start of the second period of extra time, the game was over as a contest.

However, it was a Herculean effort from an ever improving Leitrim team. With Darren Duignan and Gareth Phelan earning starting places at the expense of the unfortunate Cathal Mc Crann and Niall Gilbane, Leitrim?s line up showed only two changes from the team that had pushed Galway all the way in the Connacht semi-final.

From early on it was obvious that this was going to be a real battle of wills, as the difficult weather conditions ensured that scores would be kept to a minimum and while free flowing moves may have been a rarity, the action was intense and the excitement reached fever pitch during that incredible finish. As has been their wont, Leitrim started slowly and Meath registered two points in an opening quarter of an hour that was dominated by the Leinster Giants.

With Meath enjoying the lion?s share of possession, it was the tight marking and tigerish defending of Leitrim?s much vaunted full back line of Dermot Reynolds, John Mc Keon and Michael Mc Guinness that prevented the Royals from establishing a more commanding lead. The Leitrim team slowly began to find their feet and points from Michael Foley, Declan Maxwell and James Glancy gave the Connacht team a 0-3 to 0-2 lead after half an hour. Geraghty levelled for Meath approaching half time, but Drumkeerin?s Michael Foley had the last say of the half edging Leitrim 0-4 to 0-3 ahead at the break.

With the wind at their backs in the 2nd half, Meath were expected to move up a gear and with Stephen Bray and Brian Farrell particularly prominent they moved two points in front after quarter of an hour. It looked as if the Leitrim challenge was fading, when James Glancy ? a Championship revelation for Dessie Dolan?s team this year ? rescued a ball from the endline and cut past two Meath defenders to slot home a wonderful solo goal to send the Carrick on Shannon faithful into raptures.

Paul Byrne did equalise for the Royals and the final ten minutes were played out with tension rising as chances went abegging at both ends. With the game moving into injury time, Mohill?s Daniel Beck scored a wonderful point and it seemed that the impossible was about to become reality. But Meath are renowned as outstanding championship battlers and when the talismanic Murphy got the ball in his hands, what would have been a famous Leitrim victory was cruelly denied as he split the posts with a wonderful point.

A deflated Leitrim never really looked as sharp in extra time and in fairness the visitor?s were worthy winners. Late points from substitute Donal Brennan and a Foley free were however further evidence of the fighting spirit of this group of Leitrim players and although the curtain came down on Leitrim?s championship ambitions on Sunday afternoon, it was the most promising campaign for Leitrim supporters since the heady days of 1994 and Connacht Championship glory.

Leitrim: Cathal Mc Crann, Michael Mc Guinness, John Mc Keon, Dermot Reynolds, Colin Regan, Barry Mc Weeney, Shane Foley, Chris Carroll, Gary Mc Closkey, Johnny Goldrick, Barry Prior, Michael Foley (0-4, 3 frees), James Glancy (1-1), Darren Duignan and Declan Maxwell (0-1). Subs used: Donal Brennan (0-1), Daniel Beck (0-1), Niall Gilbane, James Mc Gowan



04-Jul-05 by Lovely Leitrim

After discussions with the Meath management and following an acceptance by Croke Park, Leitrim will wear their traditional Green Jersey as Meath offer to wear their Yellow away colour.

Both counties have Green jersies as their main colour and Yellow as the away colour. In a situation like this an agreement is made between the counties on the colour of jersey or the possibility of both teams wearing their respective provincial colours. However after a brief discussion earlier in the week Meath have offered to wear their away colours and Leitrim wear their familiar Green jersey.



02-Jul-05 by

The following is the Leitrim Senior Team and Panel for Sundays All Ireland Qualifier game against Meath.

Leitrim Senior Team
All-Ireland Qualifier
03 July 05 – 2:30pm

1. Gareth Phelan — G. O Faolain — Melvin Gaels
2. Michael McGuinness — M. MacAonghusa — Mohill
3. John McKeon — S. Mac Eoin — Drumreilly
4. Dermot Reynolds — D. Mac Raghnaill — St. Mary?s
5. Colin Regan — C. O Riagain — Melvin Gaels
6. Barry McWeeney — B. Mac Mhaonaigh — Aughnasheelin
7. Shane Foley — S. O Foghlu — Kiltubrid
8. Christopher Carroll — C. O Cearbhail — Kiltubrid
9. Gary McCloskey — G. Mac Bhlaoscaigh — Bornacoola
10. Johnny Goldrick — S. Mac Ualraig — St. Mary?s
11. Barry Prior — B. Mac an Phriora — Aughawillan
12. Michael Foley — M. O Foghlu — Drumkeerin
13. James Glancy — S. Mac Fhlannacha — Glencar-Manorhamilton
14. Darren Duignan — D. O Duigeannain — Gortletteragh
15. Declan Maxwell — D. O Meiscill — Drumreilly
16. Cathal McCrann — C. MacCrann — Gortletteragh
17. Daniel Beck — D. de Beic — Mohill
18. Donal Brennan — D. O Braonain — Cloone
19. Barry Butler — B. de Buitl?ir — St. Mary?s
20. Niall Gilbane — N. Mac Giolla Bhan — Allen Gaels
21. Brendan Guckian — B. Mac Eochain — Annaduff
22. Ciaran Kennedy — C. O Cinneide — Mohill
23. Dermot Kennedy — D. O Cinneide — Gortletteragh
24. James McGowan — S. Mac Gabhann — St. Mary?s
25. Darragh McKiernan — D. Mac Tighearnain — Kiltubrid
26. Gabriel Prior — G. Mac an Phriora — Aughnasheelin

Bainisteoir: Des Dolan
Roghnoiri: Pat Prior and Declan Bohan



01-Jul-05 by PRO

Bank of Ireland Connacht Senior Football Championship

Galway Made to Sweat

Leitrim 1-8 Galway 1-11

Leitrim fought to the final whistle in the Connacht senior football championship semi-final against Galway in Pearse Stadium, but ultimately a poor first half left too high a mountain to climb and proved to be the visitors undoing as Dessie Dolan?s charges now look forward to the 2nd round Qualifier Draw on June 26th.

However, the many thousands of Leitrim followers who made the trip to Salthill in the hopes of witnessing a major shock left in reasonable spirits as Leitrim overcame a six point half time deficit to come within a kick of the Tribesmen at the final whistle and will now enter the qualifiers with the comforting thought that they came within 3 points of one of the best teams in Ireland.

Indeed, Declan Maxwell twice had opportunities in the first half to find the Galway net but on the first occasion hit narrowly wide when through one on one with the Galway goalkeeper and on the second fisted an effort across the Galway goal with the keeper stranded when a lucky bounce would have taken the ball across the home team?s goaline. In fairness to the Drumreilly man, he had done brilliantly on both occasions to create the opportunities and was Leitrim?s most impressive performer throughout. Galway full back Kieran Fitzgerald will certainly look forward to easier days at the office in the coming months as Maxwell caused the Galway defence severe headaches and left an indelible impression on the TV audience watching live around the world.

In truth, had Maxwell scored on either occasion, it would have been against the run of play and over the piece Galway were much the better team. Leitrim?s doggedness and outstanding spirit kept them in the game and while this alone may have been insufficient to garner a victory against a team of Galway?s quality, there are many teams in the qualifiers who will wilt in the face of such determination.

Leitrim started reasonably well and took an early lead from a pointed free by Michael Foley but with Galway slowly beginning to establish the upper hand in the middle of the park, the much vaunted Leitrim full back line found themselves under a lot of pressure in the early exchanges. With Michael Donellan and Michael Meehan both on top form from placed balls, the Tribesmen dominated the half and established what appeared a decisive six point half time lead ? 0-8 to 0-2 ? with Leitrim?s only other score an opportunist point from Drumreilly?s Maxwell.

It was a frustrating half from a Leitrim perspective ? too often the break of the ball at midfield found a Galway hand and a number of relatively soft frees were gratefully converted by Meehan and Donnellan. Too often the forward line ran down blind alleys and Maxwell?s two goal chances aside, the Galway defence had a relatively trouble free 35 minutes. Leitrim?s misery was compounded with Michael Foley missing a routine 14 yard free on the half time whistle and there was a real fear among Leitrim supporters at half time that a substantial victory for Galway was on the cards.

Those fears increased when Michael Donellan stretched the Galway lead at the start of the second half with a point that oozed class, but with Darren Duignan and Donal Brennan having entered the fray to rejuvenate the Leitrim attack, the visitors suddenly began to find their feet. Colin Regan in particular began to win a lot of ball around the half back line and his probing passes towards Maxwell suddenly started to pay dividends as Foley, Barry Prior, James Glancy and Donal Brennan all came more into the game and snatched vital scores.

Barry Mc Weeney, Shane Foley and Chris Carroll also played a major role in Leitrim?s revival and while the full back line of Michael Mc Guinness, John Mc Keon and Dermot Reynolds have had better days in the green and gold, they seldom meet forwards with the skill, strength and speed of Armstrong, Savage and Meehan and it is doubtful that many other full back lines could have coped as admirably with the Galway trio, considering the quality of ball being dispatched to the Galway front line.

With Leitrim improving rapidly and having narrowed the gap to six points again (0-10 to 0-4), it was Brennan?s goal that really brought the Galway venue to life. A long ball to Maxwell was flicked into the path of the Cloone attacker and he coolly slotted to the net to send the Leitrim contingent wild. Within four minutes though Paul Clancy had found the net at the other end of the field to restore the six point gap and again we waited for the Leitrim challenge to peter out.

But it never did. Leitrim dominated the closing ten minutes (outScóring Galway in the 2nd half 1-6 to 1-3) and almost found the net again when a toe poke through a goal mouth scramble saw Brian O Donaghue make a vital save as normal time came to a close. The Galway supporters roared for the final whistle as referee Monahan added five extra minutes. On three separate occasions the long ball to Maxwell caused Galway hearts to flutter and while the Man of the Match broke the ball intelligently into the path of his team mates, a mixture of good luck and stout defending allowed the Tribesmen to hold out for what in truth was a deserved victory.

They now advance to the Connacht final where they will meet the winners of Mayo and Roscommon, but a rejuvenated Leitrim should be inÓgood spirits as they prepare for the Qualifiers and the chance to record their first ever victory since the back door system commenced in 2001.

Leitrim: Cathal Mc Crann, Michael Mc Guinness, John Mc Keon, Dermot Reynolds, JohnÓgilbane, Barry Mc Weeney, Shane Foley, Chris Carroll, Gary Mc Closkey, Johnny Goldrick, Barry Prior (0-1), Michael Foley (0-3, 2 frees), James Glancy (0-1), Colin Regan and Declan Maxwell (0-3). Subs used: Darren Duignan for Gilbane, Donal Brennan (1-0) for Goldrick, Gareth Phelan for Mc Crann



13-Jun-05 by Lovely Leitrim

The Leitrim team management will announce the team to face Galway at 8:00pm on this website.



09-Jun-05 by PRO

The following is the official Leitrim team to face Galway in the upcoming Connacht Football Semi-final on Sunday June 12th.

1. Cathal McCrannÓgortletteragh
2. Michael McGuinness Mohill
3. John McKeon Drumreilly
4. Dermot Reynolds St. Mary?s
5. Niall Gilbane Allen Gaels
6. Barry McWeeney Aughnasheelin
7. Shane Foley Kiltubrid
8. Christopher Carroll Kiltubrid
9. Gary McCloskey Bornacoola
10. Johnny Goldrick St. Mary?s
11. Barry Prior Aughawillan
12. Michael Foley Drumkeerin
13. James Glancy Glencar-Manorhamilton
14. Colin Regan Melvin Gaels
15. Declan Maxwell Droim Raghallaigh

16. Gareth Phelan Melvin Gaels
17. Daniel Beck Mohill
18. Barry Butler St. Mary?s
19. Darren DuignanÓgortletteragh
20. Brendan Guckian Annaduff
21. Ciaran Kennedy Mohill
22. Dermot Kennedy Gortletteragh
23. James McGowan St. Mary?s
24. David McHugh Annaduff
25. Dara McKiernan Kiltubrid
26. Gabriel Prior Aughnasheelin
27. Cathal QuinnÓgortletteragh
28. Donal Brennan Cloone



09-Jun-05 by PRO

Bank of Ireland Connacht Football Championship

Leitrim 1-11 Sligo 0-9

A terrific second half performance from a young Leitrim team propelled the county into a Connacht semi-final meeting with Galway on June 12th as Leitrim recorded their first championship win in Pairc Sean since 1991 amid scenes of much jubilation.

Inspired by their outstanding full back line, and Drumreillys John Mc Keon in particular, Leitrim delivered their finest performance in many years to cause the first upset of the 2005 championship. Although Sligo had travelled South on the back of a poor league campaign, their recent championship form and a string of impressive results in challenge games, suggested that Dessie Dolans inexperienced charges would be no match for a team that included All Star Eamon O Hara at midfield and players such as John Mc Partland, Gerry Mc Gowan and Mark Brehony who had starred on the national stage in recent years.

Indeed the game seemed to be following the expected script as Sligo dominated long periods of the first half and led by 0-6 to 0-2 with just a couple of minutes to go to half time. In truth they should have been much further ahead, but a string of bad wides in the difficult conditions (ten in all) was to prove their ultimate undoing. The attendance of 9,548 had seen Leitrim struggle for most of the opening period as Sligo won a lot of ball in the middle third of the pitch and the home side struggled to find their feet. A James Glancy point from play and a free from Michael Foley were Leitrims sole rewards for thirty minutes of endeavour, but when Declan Maxwell finally received the type of ball that had frustrated Roscommon in Leitrims last league outing, the game was turned on its head.

Leitrims best period of the half started in the 32nd minute when Maxwell won the ball brilliantly in front of Noel Maguire and kicked right footed over the Sligo bar. Two minutes later, the ball was in his hands again and his precise pass to Johnny Goldrick gave the Carrick man a one on one chance against the Sligo keeper from an exceptionally difficult angle. All of Carrick inhaled as Goldrick pulled the trigger and brilliantly found the net to send the huge home support wild. It was a goal of much class and sent the teams to the dressing room on level terms as Leitrim suddenly began to believe.

Leitrim went on to dominate the second half for long periods, but initially struggled to find their shooting boots and with much less possession, Sligo found themselves two points to the good with twenty minutes remaining. But you always sensed that this was to be Leitrims day and we finally saw this Leitrim team kick into overdrive in the last quarter of an hour. The introduction of Gortleterraghs Darren Duignan was the catalyst as he kicked two superb scores that seemed to inspire those around him.

With quality ball now finding Maxwell on a regular basis, the Sligo defence simply couldn t handle the Drumreilly man and two further points from him, two more from James Glancy and a brace of frees from Michael Foley sent thousands of ecstatic Leitrim supporters Scórrying on to the pitch as the referee brought the curtain down on a terrific Leitrim performance.

Its now on to Pearse Stadium in three weeks time and while Leitrim have much to work on between now and then, the fighting spirit and never say die attitude of this bunch of players will give Leitrim supporters great hope ahead of their meeting with the Tribesmen.

Leitrim: Cathal Mc Crann, Michael Mc Guinness, John Mc Keon, Dermot Reynolds, Niall Gilbane, Barry Mc Weeney, Shane Foley, Chris Carroll, Gary Mc Closkey, Johnny Goldrick (1-0), Barry Prior, Michael Foley (0-3f), James GLancy (0-3), Colin Regan, Declan Maxwell (0-3). Subs: Darren Duignan (0-2) for Gilbane.



23-May-05 by Lovely Leitrim

Dessie Dolan has included two debutants in the Leitrim team to face Sligo in the Bank of Ireland Connacht Football Championship quarter-final in Carrick-on-Shannon on Sunday.

Cathal McCrann will make his first championship appearance between the posts, while Barry McWeeney is the other newcomer at centre half-back. Forwards DeclanÓgilhooley, Donal Brennan and Kieran Duignan are all ruled out through injury and will play no part.

Team: Cathal McCrann, Dermot Reynolds, John McKeon, Michael McGuinness, Niall Gilbane, Barry McWeeney, Shane Foley, Christopher Carroll, Gary McCloskey, Johnny Goldrick, Barry Prior, Michael Foley, James Glancy, Colin Regan, Declan Maxwell.



19-May-05 by Paddy Reilly – Webmaster

Allianz National Football League, Division 2a

Leitrim 1-13
Roscommon 0-10

Leitrim saved the best wine until last in the 2005 national league by producing their most complete performance for some time in defeating old rivals Roscommon at a packed Cloone. That the victory came on the back of a heavy defeat by Monaghan and following Roscommon?s demolition of a highly rated Longford only added to the delight for the home supporters and when one considers that it was also achieved minus the inspirational John Mc Keon and Dermot Reynolds, it speaks volumes for how far Leitrim have come under Des Dolan.

Leitrim were by far the better team throughout but squandered a series of very scoreable chances particularly in the first half meaning that their half time lead owed much to a terrific save from Cathal Mc Crann after Karol Mannion appeared to push Michael Mc Guinness in the back to set up Roscommon?s best chance of the game. Mc Crann advanced brilliantly to smother Mannion?s shot and it proved to be a major turning point in the game. When a similar chance from a long ball forward fell to Leitrim full forward Declan Maxwell just a few minutes before half time, the Drumreilly man made no mistake and Leitrim went in at the break two points to the good ? 1-5 to 0-6.

It was no more than Leitrim deserved having dominated the first half from the throw in. Johnny Goldrick was in particularly inspiring form and the St Mary?s man led the Roscommon defence a merry dance throughout. Declan Maxwell and Donal Brennan were in equally impressive form and while Darren Duignan hit a series of infuriating wides, the Gortletteragh man also caused huge problems for the opposition defence and long with the ever willing Michael Foley worked hard over the course of the game.

Leitrim were also dominant at midfield, where Chris Carroll was by far the best player on show, limiting the influence of the much vaunted Seamus O?Neill and while the Kilbride man scored a good point in the first half, he was no match for the Leitrim captain. In defence, John Mc Keon?s withdrawal before the throw inÓgave David Mc Hugh the chance to impress and the Annaduff man had a solid hour in a Leitrim back six that coped easily with a lifeless Roscommon attack.

The second half was all Leitrim and a purple patch midway through that yielded five unanswered points was key in the final analysis as the home team continually worked the ball into promising positions and drew fouls that the accurate Foley was only too willing to punish. It left Leitrim seven points in front with just 10 minutes remaining and although the visitors mounted some late pressure, Leitrim saw out the game as comfortable winners and rounded off a largely pleasing campaign that delivered home victories over London, Clare and Roscommon and an away draw in Longford.

As a final competitive outing before the visit of Sligo in the Connacht championship in May, Sunday?s game was as good as Leitrim could have hoped for and Leitrim supporters will approach the business end of the season with renewed confidence and the notion that significant progression in the Championship is not beyond Des Dolan?s charges.

Leitrim: Cathal Mc Crann, David Mc Hugh, Michael Mc Guinness, Barry Mc Weeney, Colin Regan, Shane Foley, Chris Carroll, Gary Mc Closkey, Johnny Goldrick (0-1), Barry Prior, Michael Foley (0-8), Darren Duignan (0-1), Declan Maxwell (1-2) and Donal Brennan (0-1). Subs: Dara Mc Kiernan and James Glancy



04-Apr-05 by Lovely Leitrim

27 March 2005 – Division 2a: Allianz NFL Round 6

Leitrims Promotion hopes Ended

Leitrim 0-8
Monaghan 2-18

Leitrims promotion hopes came to an abrupt end in Pairc Sean as Monaghan proved much the better team in a one-sided league encounter that was effectively over when Mark Daly netted for Monaghan just four minutes after the break.

The performance, more so than the result, was a huge disappointment for the largest home league attendance in some years at the Carrick-on-Shannon venue. The pre match withdrawal of the injured John Mc Keon allied to that of Dermot Reynolds certainly didn t help the Leitrim cause and when Declan Maxwell was yellow carded in the first half, it was another serious blow.

However, after the promise shown in the victory over Clare and the draw with Longford, hopes were high that Leitrim could set up a final day promotion showdown with Roscommon by beating the Ulstermen, but Monaghans intent was evident early on as they raced into a five point lead – 0-6 to 0-1 – in the opening stages with Rory Woods, Tom Freeman and Paul Finlay causing particular problems for a makeshift Leitrim rearguard.

Leitrim did come more into the game as the interval neared, enjoying a large amount of possession but four first half points through Michael Foley, Barry Prior, Colin Regan and sub Donal Brennan was poor reward for their efforts and Des Dolan will no doubt be hugely concerned by the number of chances wasted.

With Monaghan leading by 0-10 to 0-4 at the break, Leitrim needed a good start to the second half, but it was the Farney men who picked up where they left off with Paul Finlay kicking the opening two points of the period. When Mark Daly followed up with a well takenÓgoal, the game as a contest was effectively over. Tomas Freeman added another to rub salt in the Leitrim wounds and although Leitrim kept fighting until the death, Monaghan were more than worthy winners on the day.

In the closing fifteen minutes Leitrim came close to narrowing the gap as both Donal Brennan and Christopher Carroll hit the Monaghan crossbar, but on a day when very little went right for the home side, Leitrim supporters were left to dwell on a comprehensive defeat ahead of the big local derby with Roscommon on Sunday next.

Leitrim: Cathal Mc Crann, Michael Mc Guinness, Shane Foley, Barry Butler, Niall Gilbane, Barry Mc Weeney, Dermot Kennedy, Christopher Carroll, Gary Mc Closkey, Johnny Goldrick (0-1), Barry Prior (0-1), Michael Foley (0-1), Colin Regan (0-1), Declan Maxwell, James Glancy . Subs used: Donal Brennan (0-4), Michael Duignan, David Mc Hugh,



30-Mar-05 by Lovely Leitrim

20 March 2005 ? Division 2a: Allianz NFL Round 5

Leitrim 0-11 Longford 0-11

Leitrim Get Back on Track

A large attendance at this Pearse Park derby saw Leitrim put a poor first half performance behind them to secure a hard earned point and retain an outside chance of promotion. The result however confirmed the growing suspicion that the two dropped points in Carlow may well prove the team?s undoing as the race for promotion enters the closing stages.

There was of course a genuine fear that the defeat to a previously win-less Carlow marked the bursting of the early season Leitrim bubble and this gave Sunday?s game against the unbeaten league leaders an added significance. In this context, a good performance was essential ? win, lose or draw ? and Leitrim achieved both the draw and the feat of restoring supporters? belief in the Dolan revolution.

However, the early signs were not promising as the home team raced into a 0-6 to 0-2 lead after 20 minutes with the Leitrim defence again displaying signs of hesitancy as Padraig Davis and the Longford forward line threatened to rip Leitrim apart. Neil Sheridan had shot Longford into the lead straight from the throw in and while Johnny Goldrick replied for Leitrim, the home team were dominant in almost all sectors. Indeed they created at least three good goalScóring chances, but failed to convert any of them and allowed Leitrim to stay in touch with points from James Glancy, Shane Foley, Michael Foley and Declan Maxwell

By half time the lead stood at just three points ? 0-8 to 0-5 ? and Leitrim put in a terrific second half performance that should have secured both points. With the defence tightening considerably and Chris Carroll gaining a foothold in midfield, the Leitrim scores finally began to arrive. Points from Michael Foley (2), Johnny Goldrick and Chris Carroll to a solitary reply from Padraig Davis left the teams deadlocked at 0-9 apiece and just 10 minutes remaining.

It was a remarkable comeback from Leitrim and one that highlights just how far the team have come in the last couple of months. Indeed twice in the closing stages Longford made a sprint for the line edging in front through Padraig Davis, but Leitrim?s belief held and on both occasions the Connacht men struck back to level.

On the first occasion, with Longford leading by 0-10 to 0-9, Christy Carroll fielded magnificently to set up James Glancy for the levelling score. Longford again took the lead through Davis, but super sub Michael Duignan arrived at the end of a move started by Shane Foley and kicked a memorable equaliser in the last minute to earn a share of the spoils.

Leitrim: Cathal Mc Crann, Michael Mc Guinness, John Mc Keon, Dermot Reynolds, Niall Gilbane, Barry Mc Weeney, Shane Foley (0-1), Christopher Carroll (0-1), Gary Mc Closkey, Johnny Goldrick (0-2), Barry Prior, Michael Foley (0-3), Colin Regan, Declan Maxwell, James Glancy (0-2). Subs used: Donal Brennan for Declan Maxwell, Michael Duignan (0-1) for Donal Brennan, David Mc Hugh for Dermot Reynolds



21-Mar-05 by Lovely Leitrim

13 March 2005 ? Division 2a: Allianz NFL Round 4

Leitrim Fall in Carlow

Leitrim 0-16
Carlow 1-15

A first half goal for the home side in Dr Cullen Park Carlow on Sunday denied Leitrim the opportunity of moving into second place in Division 2A of the Allianz football league and dealt a serious blow to the county?s promotion hopes.

Leitrim went into this game enjoying their best form for some time having beaten a fancied Clare team and pushing All Ireland semi-finalists Fermanagh all the way, but a dreadful period in the minutes leading up to half time along with the concession of a very soft goal proved the visitors? undoing.

For once, the Leitrim problems were at the defensive end of the field and a very lively Carlow full forward line caused huge difficulties for John Mc Keon and co throughout ? the Leitrim men uncharacteristically conceding 10 points from play to the Carlow inside trio. Leitrim also struggled to find their feet in the middle of the field, particularly in the first half and while the forward line helped to accrue an impressive tally of sixteen points, they were left to rue two excellent goal Scóring opportunities in the first half and a disallowed effort in the second.

Leitrim had started brightly with James Glancy, Declan Maxwell and Johnny Goldrick causing problems for the Carlow defence as the Connacht team raced into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead. However, disaster struck when a long ball from a sideline kick was misjudged by the Leitrim defence and allowed to bounce in the Leitrim square, coming off the crossbar and into the hands of the waiting David Nolan who finished calmly to the net.

It was a goal of the cheapest variety and galvanised the home side who began to take a grip in the centre of the field and with a point from the ever dangerous Simon Rea moved into a 1-3 to 0-3 lead. Leitrim did react well and scores from Declan Maxwell, James Glancy and Michael Foley appeared to have weathered the storm. Indeed, Maxwell?s effort might well have ended in the Carlow net but for an excellent save from John Brennan after the Drumreilly man had brilliantly fielded a high ball and turned the Carlow full back.

With only five minutes to go to the break the sides were level but Leitrim were about to experience their worst spell of the game conceding five points in as many minutes to a grateful Carlow attack as a combination of lethargic defending and an inability to win the ball in the midfield diamond left Leitrim with an uphill battle for the second half ? five points in arrears 1-8 to 0-6.

Des Dolan chose to reshuffle his hand for the second half introducing Darren Duignan and Colin Regan for Gary Mc Closkey and Barry Butler. Declan Maxwell moved to midfield with Dermot Reynolds rejoined the defence having started in the half forward line. However, when Simon Rea extended the Carlow lead to six points within a minute of the restart, the game appeared to be slipping from Leitrim?s grasp.
If there is one thing that Des Dolan has instilled in this Leitrim team it is a self belief in their own ability to overcome adversity and rather than lie down as might have been expected in the past, Leitrim battled bravely to get back into the game with Maxwell, Dermot Reynolds and Michael Foley particularly prominent. A baffling decision to disallow what appeared to be a perfectly good Leitrim goal left the sizeable Leitrim following to question if it was just one of those days but a series of scores from Foley kept Leitrim in the game up to the final whistle.

On a number of occasions the men in green and gold hauled the Carlow lead back to two points but despite some good chances, Leitrim were unable to close the gap any further and time ran out on a brave comeback.

The game will have given the Leitrim management much to dwell on however ahead of next Sunday?s visit to Pearse Park to face a Longford team currently riding high at the top of Division 2a. The Leitrim defence will certainly need to up their performance against a highly rated Longford attack and Dolan may be tempted to give Declan Maxwell his first start in the middle of field. He will also be consoled by the fact that his team managed an impressive tally of 16 points in the defeat but considering the heavy defeat inflicted on Carlow by Longford in Pearse Park last week, anything other than a home win will be considered a shock result.

Leitrim: Cathal Mc Crann, Michael Mc Guinness, John Mc Keon, Barry Butler, Niall Gilbane, Barry Mc Weeney, Shane Foley, Christopher Carroll (0-1), Gary Mc Closkey, Johnny Goldrick (0-2), Barry Prior, Dermot Reynolds (0-1), Michael Foley (0-8), Declan Maxwell (0-2) and James Glancy (0-2). Subs used: Colin Regan for Mc Closkey, Darren Duignan for Butler, Ray Cox for Glancy (yellow carded)



14-Mar-05 by Lovely Leitrim