Leitrim 2-09 Roscommon 2-13

Updated: Monday, 01 Jun 2009 09:25

Roscommon's David Keenan in pursuit of Leitrim's Shane Canning
Roscommon's David Keenan in pursuit of Leitrim's Shane Canning


by James McMahon

Roscommon deservedly got the better of Leitrim at Carrick-on-Shannon to set up a Connacht SFC semi-final date with Mayo on 20 June.

With five of the team that brought All-Ireland minor glory to the county in 2006, the Rossies looked the more assured side once Karl Mannion converted a penalty to level the game at 1-03 apiece after 18 minutes.

This was after Leitrim made a dream start in the sweltering heat when Colm Clarke ran at the visitors' defence and goaled brilliantly after two minutes.

Points from James Glancy and Mossie Byrne kept Mickey Moran's side ahead on the scoreboard until Rosccomon's Senan Kilbride was fouled in the danger area and Mannion obliged with aplomb.

With Michael Finneran beginning to dominate in midfield, Gary Cox showing well in the half-forward and Donie Shine finding the range with some exquisite points, the winners gained a firm foothold.

They got their second goal after 28 minutes when Conor Devaney's effort came off the post and Senan Kilbride was on hand to pick up the breaking ball and blast the ball to the Leitrim net.

That goal ensured Roscommon held a 2-05 to 1-04 half-time advantage.

Leitrim began the second period in similar fashion to the first and an exchange of passes with John McKeown and Mossie Byrne saw McKeown finish to the net three minutes in to leave only the minimum between the sides.

The 13,000 people at the Co Leitrim venue found their voice again, but it was the visiting fans, whose cheers were to raise an octave when Seanie McDermott, Conor Delaney and Gary Cox fired over some delightful points to ease Roscommon worries.

The home side, who at times in the second 35 minutes looked a bit leaden-footed, could never get close enough to really set the pulses racing, despite the best efforts of Philly McGuinness, Declan Maxwell and Shane Foley.

The score of the half came from Roscommon's Kevin Higgins following fine approach work from Mannion to finally seal victory for a side, who prior to today, had to go back to 2004 for their last Championship success on Irish soil.