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Laois set to end Leitrim 'adventure'

ON The Sunday Game last week, Leitrim were praised and condescended in equal measure, their victory over Wicklow forcing some to remark that that match constituted their 'All-Ireland'.

Given it was their first qualifier win in 11 attempts, such flippancy was entirely expected. Nobody saw it coming, despite Wicklow's failure to raise a gallop in this year's championship at any stage.

Joint manager Barney Breen was largely in agreement about their achievement and more to the point, Leitrim's ambition.

"I suppose, if we're honest, and without sounding negative, we're in bonus territory now and we're going to treat it as an adventure from here on in," he said afterwards. "I'm not being flippant when I say that, we're approaching it as an adventure and if we get beaten, we will have given it our best shot."

Justin McNulty will be aware that a team in bonus territory, particularly at home, is a dangerous prospect. They have exceeded their own expectations and the season will finish as a success, regardless of what transpires in Carrick-On-Shannon tomorrow.


Thankfully for the Laois boss, his team have found form when they needed it most. Another win will put them in a shoot-out with tomorrow's Leinster final losers for an All-Ireland quarter-final.

Given how they surrendered a big lead to Longford in provincial combat and the high difficulty with which they finally disposed of Carlow, McNulty will feel it's much better to find form later rather than never.

That they swept Monaghan aside with such gusto was a surprise and it looked from the outside and albeit belatedly, they had finally tapped into what McNulty has been trying to get them to do for the past two years.

Goals help, of course, and besides Brendan Quigley and Colm Kelly's strikes, they were within inches of creating and/or finishing numerous other opportunities and if they can harness and improve on that development, they could be a dangerous prospect for whichever team falters in Croke Park tomorrow.

They will, however, get another win in Carrick-On-Shannon and roll on into the last 12.

LAOIS: E Culliton; C Healy, K Meaney, J Kavanagh; D Strong, J O'Loughlin, C Boyle; B Quigley, C Begley; R Munnelly, B Sheehan, G Walsh; D O'Connor, P Clancy, C Kelly.

LEITRIM: C McCrann; P Maguire, F McMorrow, A Wynne; C Clarke, E Williams, D Beck; D Sweeney, S Moran; P McGowan, E Mulligan, P Brennan; R Cox, J Glancy, K Conlon.

ODDS: Leitrim 4/1, Draw 15/2, Laois 1/4