Terry Hyland is a Cavan man through and through. Having spent four very successful years managing the Breffni U-21 footballers, he graduated to the senior team where he spent five years at the helm, presiding over promotion to Division One in the league and a number of very impressive performances in the ultra-competitive Ulster SFC.
His appointment as the Leitrim manager last autumn was greeted warmly in the county and he set about his goal of making Leitrim competitive after a number of very poor seasons in both league and championship. Promotion from Division Four was his number one priority and he achieved that in style, his side only losing to eventual divisional champions Derry in the final group game and again to the same opposition in the Division Four final in Croke Park.
Now Hyland and his charges face an even more daunting challenge, that of travelling to Dr. Hyde Park and beating old rivals Roscommon who have proven the nemesis of Leitrim so many times in recent years. But make no mistake, Hyland is fully convinced that his side are capable of defeating Roscommon this coming Sunday.
“I don’t wish to sound cocky or anything like that but any game that you go into, you want to win it and this game is no different. You have to believe that you can win. Do I believe that we can beat Roscommon? Yes I do. Do I think it will be tough? Yes I do. It would be a big turn up for the books but I really believe that we can beat them,” he said.
“We are very happy with the way we have been performing and this is a huge game for Leitrim and the players all know that they will need to perform to win it.
“We need to play with confidence and back it up with ability and I think we have both those qualities in abundance. The league performances have given us confidence and we can kick on from there against Roscommon.
“The buzz in our camp is good, and the buzz in the county is good too. We have concentrated on the mental attitude of the players as much as anything else. We haven’t performed any miracle or anything like that, it’s just giving players’ belief. In any dressing room you see the players from the various clubs sitting together and that’s natural, but we changed that and ensured that they mixed better and made sure the lads on the panel got to know each other.
“This is a huge local derby and even living in Cavan I never realised it was so big. We used to play Monaghan and Fermanagh and those were big games and this is just as big for the people involved. Look, I am due to get one over on Roscommon at this stage so why not in this game?” (Laughs).