Wednesday 25 April 2018

Leitrim stay grounded as Glancy stuns Roscommon

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

WHAT'S seldom is wonderful, even at this early stage of the season.

"God, we'd nearly deserve a bank holiday for this," quipped one wag after Leitrim pulled off a rare victory over Roscommon at Ballinamore yesterday.

It was a historic first victory over the Rossies at Sean O'Heslin's grounds and new Roscommon manager Des Newton had never lost to Leitrim in his own playing days.

"Yeah, we broke two ducks there," chuckled Leitrim co-manager Barney Breen after winning early-season bragging rights on his home pitch.

"But we won't be reading too much into this; it's only January and we still have a lot of work to do."

Yesterday's venue is currently hosting 'Operation Transformation' workouts for the local community and that's exactly what these two new management teams are hoping to do this year.

On just their second outing, Leitrim look to be responding better to the new regime. They dominated throughout to erase last summer's championship thrashing from the memory bank.

Roscommon, in fairness, are under-strength right now, missing a host of college players plus the large St Brigid's contingent.

Injuries from their opening game meant they started yesterday's match with only three outfield substitutes and needed to use one of them after just eight minutes when Brian Murtagh was injured. But Newton, whose side opened with a mere five of last year's championship starters against Leitrim, wasn't using that as an excuse.

"We're without a fair few at present but that's what you can have in January, fellas are rusty and you just have to hold your nerve and get on with it," he said.

It took until the 12th minute for Leitrim's Gerry Hickey to open the scoring with a free, and two minutes later Ger Heneghan, from a difficult angle, finally got Roscommon off the mark.

But they wasted chance after chance, shooting seven of their eight wides in the first half, including three (two frees and a '45') from an out-of-sorts Donie Shine on his seasonal debut.

All of Leitrim's corner and wing-backs plus Ray Cox, James Glancy (full-forward), Paul Brennan, Colm Clarke and David Lowe worked their socks off.

Wing-back Daniel Beck was outstanding in the first half and directly involved in setting up Paddy McGowan for one of the day's best scores.

But International Rules defender Seanie McDermott threw Roscommon a lifeline just before the break, keeping a ball alive and eventually finding Heneghan in front of goal. His shot deflected off full-back Ciaran Egan's leg to leave just a point (0-5 to 1-1) between the sides at the turn.

Two excellent frees from John Rogers gave Roscommon the lead on the re-start, but Leitrim still dominated possession and even though they lost their composure -- clocking up four early wides in their second-half tally of eight -- they got the break they needed when Cox was taken down for a penalty after 44 minutes. Glancy converted it to give them a three-point lead.

Two good points from Rogers and Scott Oates tried to inspire a Roscommon comeback but they weren't up to it in midfield or defence and a great point from Beck and another Glancy free sealed Leitrim's victory.

Scorers -- Leitrim: J Glancy 1-4 (1-0 pen, 4f), D Beck, P McGowan, C Clarke, G Hickey (1 f) 0-1 each. Roscommon: G Heneghan 1-1, J Rogers 0-3 (2f), S Oates 0-1.

Leitrim -- C McCrann; A Wynne, C Egan, P Maguire; D Beck, J Glancy, W McKeon; P McGowan, D Lowe; P Brennan, R Lowe, G Hickey; R Cox, J Glancy, C Clarke. Subs: D Gilhooly for J Glancy (St Marys), D Sweeney for R Lowe (54).

Roscommon -- D O'Malley; S McDermott, J Sharkey, S Ormsby; C Dineen, M Higgins, S Purcell; M Finneran, K Higgins; C Devaney, J Rogers, B Murtagh; M Scally, D Shine, G Heneghan. Subs: S Oates for Murtagh (8), D Rogers for Scally (45).

Ref -- M Duffy (Sligo).

Irish Independent

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