Ward buoyed by strong league finish ahead of Galway test
Leitrim manager Shane Ward says he is encouraged going into his first championship game in charge by the way his men finished their league campaign with three wins.
And with draws also secured against Offaly and Longford - who went on to contest the Division 4 final - Ward said that they have laid a good foundation as they welcome Galway to Carrick-on-Shannon on Sunday.
"We rounded off the league very well. I think the guys needed time to settle into inter-county football. On some days we had seven or eight U-21s in, many of them making their debuts," he said.
Leitrim finished off their campaign with wins over London, Carlow and Waterford and didn't concede a goal in those games.
Ward has had to deal with the loss of top scorer Emlyn Mulligan, who has taken a year off to travel, but is pleased with the way other players have stepped forward.
Last year Leitrim were knocked out of the Connacht championship by Roscommon, 1-18 to 0-13 at Dr Hyde Park, but Ward believes his players need to back themselves if they are to create a shock on Sunday.
It is the first meeting between the sides since Galway won 2-14 to 1-13 in Carrick-on-Shannon in 2008 and went on to claim the provincial crown, something they haven't done since.
"We know how strong Galway are and we know they will provide a massive challenge, but a challenge we can take on as we have absolutely nothing to lose," said Ward.
"We need to impose ourselves on the game and try to get a result."