Roscommon, with eleven of 2006 All-Ireland Minor Final and Replay lineouts in action, did just enough to squeeze past an enthusiastic and impressive Leitrim challenge in Kiltoom on Saturday last in the second round of this years Hastings Cup Competition. The Leitrim management will have been pleased by the performance of the Leitrim selection, on Saturday, as preparations for the Connacht Under 21 championship semi-final with Sligo on March 21 have commenced with the playing of this annual tournament for local under 21 teams.
Straight from the throw in Leitrim stunned the home side as a flowing move forward ended with Fergal Clancy coolly slotting past Roscommon keeper Darren O Malley from close range inside 15 seconds. With strong wind conditions favouring the home side, they cancelled out Leitrims early major with three points by the fifth minute from Donal Shine (a free and 45) and one from play by wing back Colm Garvey.
Roscommon continued to press forward as Leitrim struggled with the wind conditions and by the end of the first quarter Roscommon had totted up a 1-07 to 1-00 lead courtesy of further points from Paul Garvey (3), Donal Shine and a well finished 16th minute goal by Mark McLoughlin, following a move that initiated in the Roscommon half back line.
Adrian Croal got Leitrims first point in the 17th minute and it signalled a change in the pattern of play which lasted for the remainder of the half. Despite two further Shine points, Leitrim entered the half time break buoyed up with points by Ray Mulvey from play and a Fergal Clancy free to leave just six points between the sides, 1-09 to 1-03 in favour of the home side, and wind advantage to come.
Donal Shine and Fergal Clancy traded early pointed frees and in the fifth minute the home side had a goal disallowed for square infringement as the game moved from end to end in this, by now, evenly matched contest. Tomas Beirne reduced the deficit with a fine long range point in the ninth minute as respective managements introduced new players to the fray. Shine added to the home sides lead with a fine point from play before substitute Kevin Conlon hit the target with a point from an acute angle on the right.
Another Shine pointed free restored Roscommons advantage as the game entered the last eight minutes. Almost immediately, Leitrim substitute Gavin Sammon latched onto a through ball, and hit the net with first time finish to set up an exciting finale.
Minutes later, another Leitrim substitute Eamonn O Malley, was put through one on one with the Roscommon keeper, but unfortunately just dragged his shot wide. Continuous Leitrim pressure over the remaining minutes yielded a further point by Ray Mulvey as time ran out, and at the long whistle the home side held on to record a two point winning margin, following an exciting contest played in excellent ground conditions at the Kiltoom venue.
Leitrim play Cavan on Saturday next in their remaining game, with all to play for and a place in the 2009 Hastings Cup Final still up for grabs following last weekends results.
Leitrim: Philip Farrelly, Mark Mitchell, Adrian Fowley, Conor McCauley, Mark Beirne, Wayne McKeon, Christopher Higgins, Tomas Beirne (0-01), Emmet Mahon, Conor Sheridan, Fergal Clancy (1-02), Ray Mulvey (0-02), Adrian Croal (0-01), David O Connor, Paul Brennan. Subs: Conor McLoughlin for Adrian Fowley, Kevin Conlon (0-01) for Mark Beirne, Enda McHugh for Christopher Higgins, Paul Og Ferguson for Adrian Croal, Eamonn O Malley for Conor Sheridan, Gavin Sammon (1-00) for Emmet Mahon.
Roscommon: Darren O Malley, Paul Gleason, Neil Collins, Kevin Brady, Colm Garvey (0-01), Donal Ward, EamonnÓgannon, Donal Shine (0-08), James McKeague, Keith Waldron, Paul Garvey (0-03), Kevin Higgins, Alan O Hara, Mark Mcloughlin (1-00), Cathal McHugh. Subs: Colm O Neill for Donal Ward, Vivian Clabby for Kevin Brady, Peter Domnican for Paul Gleason, David O Gara for Cathal McHugh.
11-Jan-09 by Submitted