Leitrim 0-11 Roscommon 1-21

Roscommon encountered only token resistance as they advanced to a Connacht SFC semi-final showdown with Sligo on 12 June.

It was a dismal day for Leitrim football as not only did they suffer a big defeat to their neighbours, they finished the match with just 12 players on the field after two dismissals and a red card.

Roscommon, whose Connacht championship campaign almost came unstuck in New York, were never in trouble in this one, but they were aided as Leitrim lost their way in the second half.

Manager Shane Ward faces an uphill task to get Leitrim to regroup for the All-Ireland qualifiers and the Roscommon management duo of Kevin McStay and Fergal O’Donnell won’t have learned a lot about their men in this facile win in front of a crowd of 8,157 in Carrick-on-Shannon.

Ten Roscommon players found the range on a day when they dominated all the major positions on the field.

Their response to any Leitrim resistance was good, shooting five points without reply after Donal Wrynn gave the home support a boost with the opening score.

But total dominance around midfield ensured Roscommon enjoyed an abundance of possession and with Fintan Cregg and Conor Devaney in flying form, they weren’t long putting daylight between them and deserved their interval lead of 1-11 to 0-05.

Kevin Conlan and Emlyn Mulligan had given Leitrim hope with a couple of good points.

But Roscommon struck a telling blow when a good movement involving Fintan Cregg and Ciaran Murtagh was finished to the net from close range by Devaney.

Roscommon then hit five points in succession before Nevin O’Donnell lifted the siege with a point for Leitrim just before the break.

By then Leitrim had replaced half their defence, losing corner-back Matthew Murphy to injury and captain Gary Reynolds to a black card in addition to replacing wing-back Ronan Gallagher.

Mulligan, back in championship football for Leitrim after taking a year out, pointed a free within a minute of the restart and Adrian Croal then pointed from the right to cut the gap to seven points after 38 minutes.

But that was as closed as they got. Fintan Cregg steadied the Roscommon challenge when he became the last of their six starting forwards to score when he pointed a 41st minute free.

The Leitrim challenge disintegrated after that, with sub Darren Sweeney receiving a straight red after 54 minutes.

Adrian Croal then picked up a black card with six subs used and they went down to 13 men for the closing five minutes.

And their day of woe was completed when Killian McGriskin was sent off for a heavy challenge in the closing stages, with Roscommon extending their lead all the time as they picked off points at will on a day when they took another step forward towards bringing their excellent league form into the championship.

It remains to be seen how big a challenge Sligo will pose to them, but Roscommon will be the first to appreciate it won’t always be as easy as this one.

Roscommon: G Claffey; N McInerney, N Collins, S McDermott; J McManus, S Purcell, D Murray; N Daly (0-02), J McDermott; F Cregg (0-04, 0-01f), C Murtagh (0-03, 0-01f), C Devaney (1-01); D Murtagh (0-02), C Cregg (0-02), D Shine (0-03).

Subs: S Kilbride for D Murtagh (50), R Daly (0-02, 0-01f) for McDermott (55), C McHugh (0-01) for Shine (62), S Mullooly for J McManus (63), D Keenan for Purcell (67), C Shine (0-01) for C Cregg (67).

Leitrim: B Flynn; M Murphy, P Maguire, M McWeeney; S McWeeney, G Reynolds, R Gallagher; D Wrynn (0-01), S Moran; J Rooney, E Mulligan (0-03, 0-01f), K Conlan (0-03); N O’Donnell (0-01), R Kennedy (0-01, 0-01f), A Croal (0-01).

Subs: K McHugh (0-01) for Murphy (16), K McGriskin for Gallagher (32), B Prior for Reynolds (36, black card), D Sweeney for S McWeeney (35), C Gaffney for O’Donnell (35), N Woods for Kennedy (63).

Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry).