Leitrims Junior team put in a credible performance on Friday evening against Fermanagh who entered the Connacht competition for the first time. The game was completed just before daylight disappeared but the small crowd of Leitrim supporters went home content as the Junior team confirmed their place in the Connacht Semifinal against Mayo in 2 weeks time.
Before the game started Leitrim goalie Philip Farrelly injured himself in the warm up session and had to retire due to an ankle injury. His place was filled by Anthony Conway who performed his duties admirably as he pulled off 2 important saves during the game.
The game opened with Leitrim playing into the scoreboard end and with the breeze at their backs they made use of the slight advantage as they scored a total of 8 points to Fermanaghs 1 goal and 1 point. The teams swapped their opening points in the 2nd and 3rd minutes as Dara McKiernan scored Leitrims point from a free. Leitrim attacked strongly for the next 5 minutes but only showing 2 wides for their efforts. Stephen Feeney fisted a point to give Leitrim the edge but Fermanagh attacks lead to a goal in the 11th minute after Anthony Conway made an excellent save minutes before hand. This was their last score of the half as Leitrim moved up a gear and camped in the Fermanagh back line for the rest of the half. Dara McKiernan had his shooting boots on as he put over 5 points from frees with 2 wides from McGourty and Bohan sprinkled into the mix and the final point of the half was from Darren Sweeney from play. Leitrim were in control but there was more in the tank than the 4 point half time lead.
The second half started off with a quick opening score as the first Leitrim attack resulted in a free which McKiernan slotted over. Fermanagh managed a point from play before 4 unanswered points from McKiernan, McKeon, Mahon and Prior. In the 8th minute Fermanaghs James Connolly scored their 3rd point from play. Christopher Prior registered his second before Seamus Ryder sliced one wide in the 13th minute. Dara McKiernan scored form play and this was followed by Fermanaghs Lee McQuaid who also scored from play. Dara McKiernan and Christopher added to their tally from play in the 17th and 18th minutes before a late Fermanagh rally when they got 3 points from play on the board. Leitrim were playing open fast moving football from defence to attack throughout the half with many notable performances but it was in the 28th minute that the Leitrim goal finally arrived as Sean McGourty slotted the ball into the net after a long solo in onÓgoals. In the closing minutes points were swapped by both teams and the game ended in a Leitrim 10 point victory.
This was a very credible performance by the team and a well deserved victory. The semi against Mayo is fixed for Friday week, May 15th, and the semi final winners can look forward to the Final which is the scheduled as the warm up game to the Connacht Senior Championship game between Leitrim and Roscommon on May 31st.
Anthony Conway, Liam Ferguson, David Flynn, Wayne Gilgunn , Aiden Bohan,, Stephen Feeney (0-1), Ciaran Kennedy, Darren Sweeney (0-1), RonanÓgallagher, Wayne McKeon (0-1), Sean McGourty (1-0), Christopher Prior (0-3), Dara McKiernan (0-11), Emmet Mahon (0-1), John McGuinness.
Ciaran Flynn, Conor O Rourke for Aidan Bohan (59mins), Emmet Lee for Liam Ferguson (59mins) , Mark Creegan, nÓgel Maguire for Wayne Gilgunn (56 mins), Sean Mulvey, Sean Murray for Emmett Mahon (56 mins), Philip Farrelly (inj) John McGuinness – Bornacoola (inj)
02-May-09 by Brendan Doyle – PRO