Friday 23 March 2018

Leitrim claim early-season bragging rights

THE AGONY and ecstasy of early-season football was fleshed out at stormy Markievicz Park on Sunday.

Leitrim, claiming their first piece of silverware in 19 years, drifted off into the fading light to celebrate a famous victory.

It may have only been the Connacht FBD League tilte but it marked the end of a despairing famine for Leitrim.

Sligo, in contrast, were left to reflect on what might have been. Losing finals is becoming an unwelcome habit for the Yeats County.

This was the third Provincial decider in a row that they failed to win.

"We can go and hide and feel sorry for ourselves, or we can learn some harsh lessons from this," reasoned Sligo boss, Kevin Walsh.

His counterpart, Brian Breen, was anxious to keep things in context but still felt it was a landmark breakthrough for Leitrim.

"This was an important victory for us," he insisted.

"Our fans are very passionate about Gaelic football but they haven't had a lot to cheer about for a while.

"Now they can talk about football and be happy.

"We have bragging rights for a while but we know this is only a start and there's a tough road ahead."

Both counties will now turn their attention to the Allianz Football League.

Sligo go to Roscommon on Sunday for their openign Division Three encounter while Leitrim are away to Limerick in Division Four.