Leitrim stumbled to a less than impressive victory over a lively GMIT in a poor game at Ballinamore.
The home side included the returning Enda Williams and a debut for former Kildare minor and U-21 player Cian Reynolds.
GMIT set the early pace with two unanswered points by Owen Warde and John Ryan, but Leitrim hit their stride with four unanswered points from Gerry Hickey, Brian McDonald (two) and Enda Williams. GMIT responded with a shock goal by Conor Kelly following an error by 'keeper Cathal McCrann. An exchange of points in the closing minutes gave the students a deserved half-time lead of 1-3 to 0-5.
John Ryan and Emlyn Mulligan swapped points in the opening minutes of the second period and GMIT extended their lead with a Conor Kelly point as Leitrim struggled to impose.
The introduction of Adrian Croal and Ray Cox to the Leitrim attack provided the platform for a Leitrim victory with unanswered points by Croal, Mulligan and Cox. However, John Ryan levelled for the students with a pointed free and it took a 57th minute point by Croal to spare Leitrim's blushes and register three victories in-a-row.
Leitrim now meet Sligo in the FBD final on Sunday.
SCORERS – Leitrim: E Mulligan 0-3, A Croal 0-2, B McDonald 0-2, R Cox, G Hickey, E Williams 0-1 each. GMIT: C Kelly 1-1, J Ryan 0-3f, R Shanahan, O Warde 0-1 each.
LEITRIM – C McCrann; A Wynne, C Egan, S McWeeney; C Clarke, P Brennan, E Williams; W McKeon, P McGowan; G Hickey, E Mulligan, C Reynolds; C Beirne, J Glancy, B McDonald. Subs: A Croal for Reynolds, R Cox for Beirne, B Brennan for Clarke, C Sheridan for Hickey, G Reynolds for Williams.
GMIT: P Mannion; P McNicholas, A McCormack, B Sheridan; C MSweeney, J Duane, R Shanahan; S Bohan,S Boyle; F Durkan, John Ryan, B Miskell; C Kelly, D Durkan, O Warde. Subs: T Costello for Miskell, S Tighe for Boyle, S McSweeney for Warde, M Kelly for McNicholas.
REF – M Parker (Roscommon).