Rosscommon put Leitrim to the sword and set up Mayo showdown in Connacht
Roscommon 3-17 Leitrim 0-12
On a weekend in which the football minnows grabbed some of the limelight it was business as usual in this Connacht quarter-final at Dr Hyde Park. Roscommon overwhelmed Leitrim by 14 points to qualify for a showdown against Mayo in Castlebar on Saturday week.
Roscommon won last year's championship tie between the sides by the same margin. So though Leitrim did secure promotion to Division 3 they have still some distance to travel before they become contenders again in the Connacht series.
They were woefully open in defence with Roscommon creating seven first half goal chances and converting three of them. Man of the Match Shane Killoran performed a one-man demolition job on the hapless Leitrim defence hitting two goals in the first quarter which effectively decided the outcome.
Leitrim made one personnel and nine positional changes and though the favourites had an early scare when Darren O'Malley denied Shane Moran, once the game settled down the gulf in class between the sides was all too evident.
Midfielder Killoran was repeatedly allowed run unchallenged through the Leitrim defence which opted not to deploy a sweeper. Meanwhile, Kerry born Conor Cox and Diarmuid Murtagh exposed alarming gaps in the Leitrim rearguard.
Though Roscommon did three score three first half goals – with Killoran striking in the sixth and 16th minutes while Niall Gilroy got the third on the stroke of half time – the home side actually missed four other goal opportunities.
Leitrim experienced huge difficult in retaining possession from their own kick-outs losing four of the first five and the difference in the physical conditioning of the two teams meant that the underdogs were visibly struggling in the 50/50 exchanges.
Surprisingly they did score as many points from play – three – as Roscommon and it took an excellent save from Darren O'Malley to deny Shane Quinn a goal ten minutes from the break. Otherwise, it was one-traffic and by half time Roscommon had one foot in the Connacht semi-final as they led 3-6 to 0-7.
Roscommon's intensity levels dropped appreciably in the third quarter. The sides shared six points while Diarmuid Murtagh was black carded. After Leitrim were reduced to 14 men on the hour mark when Shane Quinn received his second yellow card, Roscommon went into overdrive again outscoring the visitors 8-2 from there to the finish
The difference in the respective strengths between the sides was underlined by the fact that the Roscommon bench contributed seven points whereas Leitrim failed to score from play in the second half.
Roscommon also ended the contest with 14 men. Conor Daly was sent off near the end after receiving a second yellow card before an official attendance of 8,061
Roscommon: D O'Malley (0-1, 1 45); D Murray, S Mullooly, C Daly; N Daly, C Hussey, R Daly; T O'Rourke, S Killoran (2-0); Hubert Darcy, C Cregg, N Kilroy (1-1); U Harney, C Cox (0-5, 2f), D Murtagh (0-3, 2f). Subs: F Cregg (0-2, 1f) for O'Rourke 37m; C Compton (0-2, 1f) for Cregg 46m; C Devaney for Darcy 48m; A Glennon (0-2, 2f) for D Murtagh (BC) 53m; C Heneghan (0-1) for Cox 63m; B Stack for R Daly 65m; C Fitzmaurice for Killoran 69m (blood sub)
Leitrim: C McCrann; M McWeeney, P Maguire,C Reynolds; R Mulvey (0-1), S McWeeney, S Quinn (0-1); M Plunkett, F McTeague; D Flynn (0-4, 4f), R O'Rourke (0-5, 5f), P Dolan (0-1): E Sweeney, S Moran, G Plunkett. Subs: D McGovern for McTague 20m; J Heslin for Sweeney 39m; A Flynn for Dolan 43m; E Mulligan for G Plunkett 45m; N McWeeney for Flynn 69m; O Madden for S McWeeney 69m.
Referee:Sean Hurson (Tyrone)