Casey thrilled to inspire Rossies after playing through pain
ROSCOMMON man of the match David Casey revealed the pain behind the drive for success that helped his side reach the Connacht final.
Casey (29) is thrilled to be back on a Roscommon side that can face into the provincial decider against the winners of Galway or Sligo because he came so close to quitting the game.
For five years, Casey has been plagued with knee cartilage problems and thought seriously about giving the game up.
"I've been medically told that the knee is wrecked for the last five years but I've kept pushing it to one side and keep trying again," Casey said. "I've no cartilage. It's just bone on bone. In fairness I have to give a lot of credit to Fergie (O'Donnell) and the management.
"A lot of fellas were giving up on me but every time I thought of retiring and pulling out, he kept pushing me to keep going. I hope I repaid him today."
The wing-back with a drive for success played in Roscommon's last appearance in the Connacht final when they were beaten by Mayo in Castlebar.
But now the focus for Casey and his team-mates is positive after a disappointing league that resulted in relegation to Division 4.
"This is a massive reward for everyone. Hopefully we can build on this," said Casey.
Roscommon manager Fergal O'Donnell said the big issue for his side was to get control of the ball and feed the forwards.
"The start of the second half was the key. We just felt we turned over the ball too much in the first half and we wanted to get the ball into our forwards.
"Once we moved the ball quicker I thought we were better," he said.
Leitrim selector Martin McGowan couldn't argue with that.
"We lost our way for about 15 to 20 minutes at the start of the second half," he said.
"We had a couple of great chances and we didn't take them. You can't afford to miss chances like that when you're playing at this level."