Leitrim brought their greater experience and fitness to bear to comfortably see off the challenge of New York in front of a packed Gaelic Park in the Bronx on Sunday.
Leitrim supporters, estimated to number 2,500, swelled the attendance and cheered on their team inÓglorious sunshine in front of one of the biggest crowds seen at the famous New York venue.
The visiting team were professional in the way they approached this game and apart from a ten minute spell in the first half, they never allowed the home side to get into any sort of rhythm or dictate affairs to any real extent.
Championship debutant Emlyn Mulligan finished this game with an impressive 0-11, ten from frees.
There was a very physical edge to this game with New York having no fewer than nine yellow cards before Dermot Keane saw red in the final seconds.
Leitrim, for their part, chipped in with five yellows as referee Paraic Hughes stamped his authority on proceedings.
With three Leitrim natives on the New York panel, this Championship game saw the unusual spectacle of brother playing against brother with Drumkeerins Alan and Michael Foley lining up against one another.
Des Dolans side got off to a perfect start playing with the aid of the breeze and immediately took the game to New York.
Indeed New Yorks over physical approach got them into trouble in the first half with four menÓgoing into the referees book, while two Leitrim players were also shown yellow.
Leitrim were in control of the football for the first fifteen minutes and raced into a 0-05 to nil lead with three points from the accurate boot of Mulligan and one each from David OConnor and Declan Maxwell.
The hosts found it very difficult to breach a solid Leitrim defence and were restricted to shooting from distance. Their first point didnt register until the 18th minute when full forward Dan Doona from Kerry pointed a free.
Mulligan replied with a free after some hesitancy in the New York defence to stretch the lead for the visitors, but the home side then hit a purple patch and the Leitrim rearguard and midfield found it difficult to build moves.
During this passage of dominance New York popped over two quick points from Adrian OConnor and Mark Dobbin to cut the lead and Doona missed a kickable free and Robert Moran squandered a 45 which could have added pressure on Leitrim.
However, the visitors steadied themselves and finished the half strongly with some fine points as they cut through the New York defence.
Mulligan kicked two more frees, Donal Brennan finished a great team move with a point from the left and midfielder Michael Duignan added another directly from a New York kickout to leave them 0-10 to 0-03 in front at the interval.
The second half was dominated by Leitrim but there was a lethargy to their play for long spells before a final flourish in the last ten minutes added to their total.
Fitness was key and countless fouls by New York allowed Mulligan to punish them from placed balls.
Added to this was the tremendous work rate of midfielders Duignan and Gary McCloskey and the whole defence which effectively shut out the New York challenge.
In the end, it was all too easy and the huge Leitrim crowd were delighted with the result and can now look forward to a Connacht semi-final place against either Galway or Roscommon.
NEW YORK: Pa Ryan, Joe Bell, Aidan Power, Alan Foley, Lonan Maguire, Dermot Keane, Johnny Goldrick, Kenny OConnor (captain), Adrian OConnor (0-01, free), Liam ODonnell (0-02, two frees), Paddy Smith (0-01), Mark Dobbin (0-01), CJ Molloy, Dan Doona (0-01, free), Robert Moran.
Subs: Paul Mulhearne for Molloy (35 mins), Kevin Lilly for Dobbin (45 mins).
LEITRIM: Enda Lyons, Dermot Reynolds, John McKeon, Shane Foley, Gary Reynolds, Michael McGuinness, Barry Prior, Gary McCloskey (captain), Michael Duignan (0-02), Emlyn Mulligan (0-11, 10 frees), Declan Maxwell (0-01), Ciaran Duignan, Donal Brennan (0-01), David OConnor (0-01), Michael Foley.
Subs: Phillip McGuinness (0-01) for C. Duignan (26 mins), Barry McWeeney for Brennan (58 mins) Darren Duignan for OConnor (62 mins), Fintan McBrien for M Foley (66 mins); James Glancy for Maxwell (71 mins).
Referee: Paraic Hughes (Armagh).
11-May-08 by RTE.ie