Shane Ward has guided Leitrim to the summit of Connacht U-21 success after his side dethroned the All-Ireland champions, Galway, in the semi-final on Saturday.
Leitrim had a first win at this level since 1998 when they had a point to spare over Galway in the semi-final 0-9 to 0-8 in Carrick-on-Shannon. They will now meet old rivals and neighbours, Roscommon, in the final in two weeks time. That game will also be in Paric Sean Mhic Diarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon.
Shane has two fellow Ballyshannon men with him in the management team. Gregory Sweeney, who has been an ever present with Ward at under management level at Aodh Ruadh, while Benjie Drummond is trainer of the side.
“They were very happy with the result. We got the group together and we outlined our targets at the start of the year. We knew we were going in against Galway. That was our first target. We worked hard at training and the boys committed and signed up to the project and they got their reward.
“It was a stange day for football as the wind changed. We dug deep in the last ten of the first half and kept them to the minimum and we went in 6-3 down at half-time and that was a good score against the breeze. And even in the second half the breeze may not have been as strong for Galway playing against it but we still made the most of it and hit a few scores.
“Before half-time we wanted to keep in touch,” said Shane.
“The biggest challenge for us to keep their feet on the ground. We were back in action this morning (Saturday) and we trained hard and evereybody was there. We just have to get our focus right for the Connacht final in two weeks’ time,” said Shane.