A sensational second half performance saw Leitrim open their Allianz Football League Division 4 campaign with an excellent win over Wexford at Páirc Sean MacDiarmada.
Ryan O’Rourke proved Wexford’s chief tormentor, finishing the game with a personal tally of 2-07.
Wexford were actually the better of the sides in the opening half with Jonathan Bealin particularly influential but they were left to rue the fact that their superiority in the opening 35 minutes wasn’t fully reflected on the scoreboard as they led by just a point at the break.
Although Leitrim opened the scoring with two O’Rourke frees, the visitors replied strongly with five unanswered points, three of which were scored by Bealin.
Midway through the first half Leitrim reduced the deficit with another O’Rourke free and that was quickly followed by a Jack Heslin point to leave just a point between the sides.
The remainder of the half saw the teams exchange points meaning Wexford enjoyed a 0-7 to 0-6 lead at the interval.
The home side started the second half with a renewed sense of purpose with O’Rourke pointing to level matters after a fine pass from Ray Mulvey.
Seven minutes into the second half Leitrim were awarded a penalty after Shane Moran’s effort came back off the crossbar and O’Rourke was fouled as he pounced on the rebound. The Fenagh forward took responsibility for the penalty himself to put Leitrim ahead.
Less than a minute later Leitrim and O’Rourke were celebrating after scoring their second goal. Another huge delivery from Moran wasn’t dealt with by the Yellow Bellies' defence and O’Rourke out-jumped goalkeeper Conor Swaine to dispatch the ball to the net.
In reality the game was over as a contest from that point on and victory was assured in the 48th minute when substitute Darragh Rooney was on the receiving end of a Dean McGovern pass and he goaled from close range.
Wexford looked a shadow of the team who had bossed matters in the opening half with little resistance offered for the remainder of the contest.
Leitrim’s Shane Quinn was shown his second yellow card with eight minutes remaining but this had no bearing on the final outcome.
Leitrim: Diarmuid McKiernan; Micheal McWeeney, Paddy Maguire, Aidan Flynn; Shane Quinn, Mark Plunkett, Ray Mulvey (0-01); Shane Moran (0-01), Pierce Dolan; Sean McWeeney, Domhnaill Flynn (0-01, f), Jack Heslin (0-02); Damien Moran, Dean McGovern, Ryan O’Rourke (2-07, 4f). Subs: Darragh Rooney (1-0) for Moran (44 mins), Gary Plunkett (0-01) for Heslin (58), Cillian McGloin (0-01) for Dolan (65), Eoin Ward (0-01) for O’Rourke (70), James Rooney for Flynn (70).
Wexford: Conor Swaine; Michael Furlong, Martin O’Connor, Conor Carty; Glen Malone, Shane Doyle, Brian Malone; Barry O’Connor, Niall Hughes; Kevin O’Grady, Jonathan Bealin (0-08, 6f), Conor Devitt (0-01, 1f); Eoghan Nolan, Cathal Deverux (0-01, 1f), John Tubritt. Subs: Ben Brosnan (0-01) for Hughes (41 mins), Daithi Waters for Nolan (44), Eoin Porter for Malone (62), Donal Shanley for Devereux (62), Robert Frayne for Devitt (65).
Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)
There was stoppage-time drama at Corrigan Park in West Belfast as Derry missed a late penalty but managed to score a point to eke out a 1-10 to 1-09 win over Antrim.
Enda Lynn stood over the spot-kick after Patrick Coney was fouled knowing that a goal would seal the two league points, but his effort was saved by Padraig Nugent.
Shortly after Paraig Cassidy fisted the ball over the bar to give the Oak Leaf County the lead, though Antrim did have a chance to level - Owen McKeown's effort brilliantly blocked by Michael McEvoy.
Antrim will feel hard done by that they didn't get something out of this game, having come back from 0-06 to 0-01 down at the break after playing the first period into the stiff breeze.
Derry extended their lead to 1-06 to 0-3 when Shane McGuigan scored a penalty - he was substituted by the time they were awarded the later spot-kick - after Lynn was upended. The Saffrons' comeback began when Paddy McBride finished a great breakaway move to the back of the net.
In Ruislip, Limerick edged out London by 0-11 to 0-10 to get their Division 4 campaign off to a winning start.
The Exiles raced into an early 0-04 to 0-01 lead, but points from Sean McSweeney and Tommie Childs for the visitors saw the sides level a the break at 0-05 apiece.
Limerick got four unanswered scores after the change of ends to give themselves a cushion, but London kept battling away and a late Liam Gavaghan point made sure it was tense until the final whistle.
On Saturday night, a late free converted by goalkeeper Mark Jackson saw Wicklow edge out Waterford by 1-07 to 0-09 at Fraher Field.
At one point, the home side lead 0-07 to 0-01, as they made full use of the wind advantage.
But 1-01 from Patrick O'Connor was the precursor for Jackson to nail his 35-metre free.