Mulligan pulls the strings to steer Leitrim home
Leitrim 1-14 GMIT 1-11
A sterling second-half fightback by GMIT just failed to overhaul Leitrim in a lively Connacht FBD game at Cloone.
Defending champions Leitrim, under new manager Sean Hagan, got off to a flying start, scoring three points without reply in the opening three minutes.
An 11th-minute '45' by Jonathan Duane opened the GMIT account, but they struggled against a Leitrim side playing open, attractive football, with Emlyn Mulligan pulling the strings, and soon trailed 0-8 to 0-3.
Shane Hennelly kept GMIT in touch with a 27th-minute point, but a fine Leitrim move ended with Paul Brennan finishing to the net in the 34th minute to give the hosts a commanding 1-8 to 0-5 lead at the interval.
Further points by Robbie Lowe and Mulligan extended the Leitrim lead within five minutes of the resumption and two more Mulligan points to one from GMIT put the defending champions 1-12 to 0-6 ahead going into the final quarter.
However, two points by Eric Monahan and Stephen Tighe signalled a GMIT revival as Leitrim visibly faded. Then, with seven minutes remaining, substitute Alan Meenaghan finished to the net.
The students went on to score three further points to just one from Leitrim and it took a Brennan point with a minute remaining to steady the winners' nerves.
SCORERS -- Leitrim: P Brennan 1-1, E Mulligan 0-6 (3fs), C McCrann 0-2, W McKeon, G Hickey, R Cox, R Lowe, R Mulvey 0-1 each. GMIT: A Meenaghan 1-0, E Monahan 0-4 (3f), M Lundy 0-3, J Duane 0-2 (1 '45'), S Hennelly, S Tighe 0-1 each.
LEITRIM -- P Farrelly; B Prior, D Wrynn, P Maguire; W McKeon, G Reynolds, P Brennan; G Hickey, A Hickey; K Conlon, C McCrann, C Reynolds; R Cox, R Lowe, E Mulligan. Subs: R Mulvey for C Reynolds, T Beirne for G Hickey, D Beck for B Prior, F Clancy for K Conlon, D Moran for C McCrann, S Foley for A Hickey.
GMIT -- G Shiel; A Wynne, C Donoghue, N Sheridan; C Sweeney, F Durkan, R Shanahan; A McCormack, J Finan; M Farragher, M Lundy,N Bracken; C Kelly, E Monahan, J Duane. Subs: S Hennelly for F Durkan, S Tighe for J Finan, L Monaghan for C Donoghue, G Kelly for C Kelly, A Meenaghan for R Shanahan.
REF -- M Duffy (Sligo)