Too little too late for Leitrim as Roscommon advance

John Evans’ side put down Leitrim fightback to set up semi-final against Mayo

Roscommon 1-18 Leitrim 0-13

No surprises in Dr Hyde Park, as Roscommon qualified to meet Mayo in the Connacht semi-final after a commanding afternoon's work against Leitrim.

The Leitrim men have had the Indian Sign on Roscommon in the mid winter competition FBD cup for the past two Januarys but summer is a different matter. The visitors fell into Nama-esque arrears in the first half before producing an admirable rally in the second half, reeling off four points in succession to make it 1-15 to 0-13 with ten minutes left. Emyln Mulligan was the key forward in that resurgence but once Leitrim backed themselves, they showed that they could trouble the favourites.

But their second half task was too steep. Roscommon established a mood of home confidence and dominance in the first ten minutes of the match, confidently banging over four points from play and making light of the complex defensive system which Leitrim employed.


Part of the problem was that diligently as they covered, the Leitrim men couldn't seem to close the corridor of possession through to Ciaran Murtagh, who was in murderous form at full forward, winning a series of low, well placed balls sent into him.

Roscommon's economy from those possessions must have delighted John Evans, who watched as Senan Kilbride led what appeared to be an internal competition to see who could land the most spectacular point. Five of Roscommon's forwards scored from play in the first half, with their most prolific scorer, Donie Shine, the sole exception.

There was a cruelty about the timing of Roscommon's goal: in the third minute of injury time, Roscommon transferred the ball sharply through Cathal Cregg and Ciaran Cafferkey and Murtagh inevitably popped up with the assist pass for Ronan Stack to palm into an empty net. At 1-12 to 0-5 at the break, the lights were all but out for Leitrim.

But the predicated stroll-in-the-park never materialised. The loss of Cathal Shine to injury ended Roscommon's midfield dominance and they struggled to match Leitrim's surging second half runs. But they kicked three late points to finish at a canter, leaving them to prepare for Mayo in a good frame of mind.

ROSCOMMON: 1 D O'Malley; 2 S McDermott, 3 N Carty, 4 N Collins; 6 N Daly (0-2), 5 D Keenan, 7 C Cafferkey (0-1); 8 C Shine (0-1), 9 K Higgins (0-3); 10 D O'Gara, 11 D Shine (0-2, 1 free), 12 R Stack (1-0); 11 S Kilbride (0-3), 15 C Murtagh (0-2), 14 C Cregg (0-1). Substitutes: E Smith for C Shine (41 mins inj), M Nally for C Cafferkey (49 mins), D Murtagh (0-2, 1 free) for S Kilbride (55 mins), F Cregg for C Cregg (63 mins), C Burns (0-1) for D O'Gara (69 mins), D Donnelly for R Stack (69 mins).

LEITRIM: 1 C McCrann; 12 B McWeeney, 4 P Maguire, 7 P Brennan; 2 B Prior, 3 D Wrynn, 6 G Reynolds (0-1), 5 W McKeon (0-1); 8 D Sweeney, 9 D Moran; 10 K Conlon (0-1 50), 19 M McWeeney, 22 C Beirne (0-2 frees); 13 E Mulligan (0-8, 6 frees); 14 J Clancy. Substitutes: R Lowe for M McWeeney (25 mins), G Hickey for D Sweeney (31 mins black card), S McWeeney for J Clancy (46 mins), A McLaughlin for C Beirne (54 mins), R Cox for P Brennan (64 mins)

Referee: C Lane ( Cork).