Maguire hails Leitrim
IT MAY have looked like a tiny step in the grand scale of the All-Ireland championships, but Leitrim's victory over Wicklow last Saturday lifted a giant monkey off their backs.
It was the county's first qualifier victory in the 11-year history of the back-door system.
And corner-back captain Paddy Maguire revealed how a pie chart produced by the GAA helped the Connacht underdogs to finally break their duck last weekend.
The official GAA match programmes for all of last weekend's football games included a page using pie charts to demonstrate all of the participating teams' qualifier records.
Leitrim's circle was the only one that had no slice out of it whatsoever, reflecting their terrible 0:10 record -- but that diagram is now obsolete.
"We put that diagram up on a screen beforehand and used it as a motivating factor," Maguire said. "Over the years Leitrim had come very close to winning in the qualifiers, especially against Donegal and Meath, so to finally do it was fantastic for us."
Joint-managers Barney Breen and George Dugdale also gave their players a complete break to recover from their horrendous 22-point Connacht semi-final drubbing at Mayo's hands.
"We took a week off after the Mayo game," Maguire said. "We needed a complete break to recover, and when we got back training we reflected hard on what had gone wrong in that game.
"We knew we weren't as bad as that scoreline and felt we hadn't done ourselves justice. We beat Cavan in a challenge game last Sunday week too, which was a big boost and getting Wicklow, at home, we had a chance."