Allianz National Football League, Division 2a
Leitrim saved the best wine until last in the 2005 national league by producing their most complete performance for some time in defeating old rivals Roscommon at a packed Cloone. That the victory came on the back of a heavy defeat by Monaghan and following Roscommon?s demolition of a highly rated Longford only added to the delight for the home supporters and when one considers that it was also achieved minus the inspirational John Mc Keon and Dermot Reynolds, it speaks volumes for how far Leitrim have come under Des Dolan.
Leitrim were by far the better team throughout but squandered a series of very scoreable chances particularly in the first half meaning that their half time lead owed much to a terrific save from Cathal Mc Crann after Karol Mannion appeared to push Michael Mc Guinness in the back to set up Roscommon?s best chance of the game. Mc Crann advanced brilliantly to smother Mannion?s shot and it proved to be a major turning point in the game. When a similar chance from a long ball forward fell to Leitrim full forward Declan Maxwell just a few minutes before half time, the Drumreilly man made no mistake and Leitrim went in at the break two points to the good ? 1-5 to 0-6.
It was no more than Leitrim deserved having dominated the first half from the throw in. Johnny Goldrick was in particularly inspiring form and the St Mary?s man led the Roscommon defence a merry dance throughout. Declan Maxwell and Donal Brennan were in equally impressive form and while Darren Duignan hit a series of infuriating wides, the Gortletteragh man also caused huge problems for the opposition defence and long with the ever willing Michael Foley worked hard over the course of the game.
Leitrim were also dominant at midfield, where Chris Carroll was by far the best player on show, limiting the influence of the much vaunted Seamus O?Neill and while the Kilbride man scored a good point in the first half, he was no match for the Leitrim captain. In defence, John Mc Keon?s withdrawal before the throw inÓgave David Mc Hugh the chance to impress and the Annaduff man had a solid hour in a Leitrim back six that coped easily with a lifeless Roscommon attack.
The second half was all Leitrim and a purple patch midway through that yielded five unanswered points was key in the final analysis as the home team continually worked the ball into promising positions and drew fouls that the accurate Foley was only too willing to punish. It left Leitrim seven points in front with just 10 minutes remaining and although the visitors mounted some late pressure, Leitrim saw out the game as comfortable winners and rounded off a largely pleasing campaign that delivered home victories over London, Clare and Roscommon and an away draw in Longford.
As a final competitive outing before the visit of Sligo in the Connacht championship in May, Sunday?s game was as good as Leitrim could have hoped for and Leitrim supporters will approach the business end of the season with renewed confidence and the notion that significant progression in the Championship is not beyond Des Dolan?s charges.
Leitrim: Cathal Mc Crann, David Mc Hugh, Michael Mc Guinness, Barry Mc Weeney, Colin Regan, Shane Foley, Chris Carroll, Gary Mc Closkey, Johnny Goldrick (0-1), Barry Prior, Michael Foley (0-8), Darren Duignan (0-1), Declan Maxwell (1-2) and Donal Brennan (0-1). Subs: Dara Mc Kiernan and James Glancy
04-Apr-05 by Lovely Leitrim