Glancy and Leitrim hungry for more glory
Published 11/06/2011 | 05:00
IS feidir Liatroim -- Leitrim fans weren't long latching on to that famous phrase once they'd shocked Sligo to set up tomorrow's Connacht SFC semi-final against Roscommon.
But county captain James Glancy has issued his own catch-cry: "Let's not be one hit wonders!"
"Over the years we'd be patting ourselves on the back and be happy with winning one game, but not anymore. We have to forget the Sligo game," he declares.
A lot was made of the fact that Leitrim shocked Sligo with seven championship debutants, but more remarkable was the fact that their 15 featured only three players -- Glancy, Wayne McKeon and Tomas Beirne -- who started against Roscommon last year.
Leitrim, with already tiny resources, have suffered more than most due to emigration, injuries and retirements in the past two seasons, not to mention the tragic death of team-mate Philly McGuinness last year.
"We did a count recently and reckon we've lost 40 players off the panel in the last two years," Glancy reveals.
But all their dark days were cast aside with the Sligo win and Glancy says their newcomers have definitely brought new skill and attitude to Mickey Moran's team. "Kevin Walsh (Sligo boss) said it himself: 'Youth has no fear'," he relates.
And he believes losing to Carlow in the fifth round of Division 4 this year was also pivotal to producing their delightful display of open football last time out.
"That was the nail in the coffin, we couldn't get promotion then and I think we just realised we had nothing to lose, released the shackles and have been going for broke ever since," Glancy says.
"After the league we had three challenge matches and won them all.
"I know people will say they were only against Cavan, Carlow and Clare, but winning them gave us confidence, especially beating Carlow after what they'd done to us earlier."
The Sligo victory was their first big Connacht scalp since 2005, and there's a lot of history between themselves and Roscommon that now needs to be overcome.
Leitrim have home advantage, but they've never beaten the Rossies in a championship game in Carrick-on-Shannon and have lost to them four times in the last two years, including this year's league.
"We went ahead with 15 minutes to go and our tails were up and then it all fell apart," Glancy recalls of this year's league meeting.
"We had a free to draw the game and missed it and they went down, got a point and won it by two," he says. "There's never much between us and it's going to be the same this time."
A full-time GAA coach at Ballymun Kickhams, Glancy is one of nine Leitrim players who work in Dublin and pool together to travel home for midweek training and, at 28, is their oldest starter tomorrow.
His club Glencar/Manorhamilton are the reigning three-in-a-row county champions and provided two of this year's debutants in corner-back Paddy Maguire and corner-forward Adrian Croal, but few of their new-look team have experienced the same heartbreak in the county jersey that Glancy has.
In 2004, Leitrim took Roscommon to a replay but lost. A year later they beat Sligo, ran Galway to three points and were on the verge of upsetting Meath in the qualifiers.
"Then Ollie Murphy struck!" Glancy groans, recalling the late equalising point that earned extra-time, whereupon Graham Geraghty's swift 1-1 applied the coup de grace.
A year later, they suffered two one-point defeats, to Mayo (in Connacht) and Sligo (qualifiers).
And in 2007, after running Galway to four points, there was another extra-time qualifier defeat in Carrick, this time by Donegal.
Yet Glancy has never given up.
Sligo was a rare reward, but he's not settling for that, saying: "If we can bring everything that we brought to the table the last day, we can make the Connacht final."