Spare a thought for New York losers. Leitrim vow to bounce back against Antrim

New York won their first-ever Connacht Championship match when they beat Leitrim on penalties
New York won their first-ever Connacht Championship match when they beat Leitrim on penalties

NEW York’s first ever Connacht Championship victory may have been great news for the GAA but spare a thought for the losers Leitrim who aim to put an ignominious defeat behind them by beating Antrim on Sunday.

No county had ever lost to the Exiles and Andy Moran’s men certainly didn’t want to be the first when they stepped onto the field in the Bronx. However, after a 15-15 draw, home-grown New Yorker Mikey Brosnan’s penalty meant they came home shame-faced.

A month later, Leitrim have regrouped and are determined to bounce back in the Tailteann Cup starting with victory at Corrigan Park (1pm).

“It’s been three or four weeks since the New York game now and in fairness to Andy and the lads in the backroom team they brought us down to earth straight away,” explained Leitrim defender Paddy Maguire who’s in his 13th season with his county - he made his debut in 2010 under Mickey Moran and the late John Morrison.

“We went back training on the Friday, we had a few days off and we did a de-brief and a few discussions of what went wrong. Obviously our reputation hurt for a few days after, but the character within the team in the last few weeks has been brilliant and everyone stayed together.

“We had a few challenges and got a lot of positives out of those, so we are ready to go for the Tailteann Cup. We saw how successful the Tailteann Cup was last year and the beauty of it, we had the early exit in New York and now have the Tailteann Cup to look forward to and we are guaranteed three games and it’s only going to get better.”

With 140 points over seven fixtures, Leitrim were the highest scorers in all four divisions in the National League but their attacking intent left them vulnerable at the other end of the field. Maguire says the chance to bury that loss in the Big Apple and bounce back in the Tailteann Cup has galvanised his team.  

“Any team has a chance of beating each other,” he said.

“We have played Wexford a few times it’s been win-lose with them and we are evenly-matched I think and there’s Antrim as well and a home game against Fermanagh. Whoever is hungrier on the day will take it.”