Reynolds proves difference as Rossies launch fightback
Roscommon got their season off to a winning start with an uninspiring victory in Elphin yesterday.
Both teams' games were frozen off last weekend and there was no surprise that cobwebs from the training ban were very much in evidence as a poor game ensued in front of 300 hardy souls.
The home side were two points in arrears at the break but they were far more economical with the wind behind them in the second half. They outscored Leitrim by 0-5 to 0-1, with midfielder Martin Reynolds' accuracy from placed balls proving crucial.
The sides were deadlocked at 0-2 apiece after 25 minutes with frees from Leitrim's Ray Cox and Reynolds. But the visitors hit a purple patch before the break with excellent points from play by Ray Mulvey and wing-back Barry Prior to lead 0-4 to 0-2. Indeed, Mickey Moran's men should have been further in front but they miscued badly in front of the posts on numerous occasions.
Roscommon, lining out with only one of the team (Sean McDermott) that started against Cork in last year's All-Ireland quarter-final, improved after the break, with the switching of Kevin Higgins to full-forward being pivotal.
A '45' from Reynolds and a point from Conor Devaney brought the sides level. Higgins and Devaney pushed Roscommon in front before Cox left a point in it with seven minutes left.
The same player missed a crucial free to level before Reynolds sealed Roscommon's opening success with a 20-metre free in injury-time.
Leitrim had a late chance to win it but goalkeeper Mark Miley denied substitute Brian McDonald with a smart save.
SCORERS -- Roscommon: M Reynolds 0-4 (3f, 1'45'); C Devaney 0-2 (1f); K Higgins 0-1. Leitrim: R Cox 0-3 (3f); R Mulvey, B Prior 0-1 each.
ROSCOMMON - M Miley; J Carney, J Nolan, S McDermott; C Beirne, N Carty, D Ward; M Reynolds, K Higgins; F Cregg, C Devaney, S O'Grady; T Kelly, J Dunning, D Hussey. Subs: M Finneran for Hussey (42), J Connaughton for O'Grady (51).
LEITRIM - C McCrann; D Beck, R Gallagher, B McWeeney; G Reynolds, J McKeon, B Prior; T Beirne, W McKeon; R Mulvey, C Sheridan, F Clancy; C Kelly, J Glancy, R Cox. Subs: B McDonald for Kelly (45), P Brennan for Clancy (49).
REF - J Henry.