Leitrim overcome Fermanagh to secure final berth
Leitrim 2-18 Fermanagh 1-16
A point by Gavin O'Hagan in added time secured Leitrim's passage to the final against Lancashire in a tense and exciting game at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon, on Saturday.
Clement Cunniffe got Leitrim off to a flying start with a goal after three minutes, but Fermanagh's Conor McShea replied with a goal on 10 minutes. A second Leitrim goal by Ben Murray gave them a 2-6 to 1-6 lead at the break.
Needing to win by five points to qualify for the Croke Park final, Leitrim dug deep in a game that ebbed and flowed, with marksman John Duffy keeping Fermanagh in the game with an impressive 11 points to put just two between them.
However, Leitrim put in a strong finish to this hugely entertaining match with two Ben Murray points followed by another three from O'Hagan, edging out a gallant Fermanagh on points difference.
SCORERS - Leitrim: B Murray 1-5, C Cunniffe 1-1, G O'Hagan 0-8 (2f), C O'Donovan, K McDermott, A Byrne, E Moreton 0-1 each. Fermanagh: J Duffy 0-11 (9f), C McShea 1-0, C Duffy 0-2, S Curran, F McBrien, M Slevin 0-1 each
Leitrim - D Molloy, P Earley, D McGovern, N McLoughlin, F Earley, J Glancy, E Moreton, L Moreton, K McDermott, G O'Hagan, B Murray, C O'Donovan, A Byrne, C Cunniffe, C Moreton.
Fermanagh - M Curry, A McShea, R Porteous, A Breslin, C Rafferty, J P McGarry, D Bannon, F McBrien, C McShea, J Duffy, M Slevin, R Bogue, C Duffy, E Cleary, B McPhillips.
Ref - J Connors (Donegal)
Lancashire 1-27 Cavan 1-7
A power-packed first-half display was the scaffold that allowed Lancashire to construct a comfortable final round victory over an understrength Cavan.
The Exiles' manager Stan Murray-Hession praised his charges' desire as they booked their place in the final.
"The lads played with great spirit and that was our best display of the year so far but hopefully there's more to come in the final," the Dublin native enthused.
Cavan's hopes of reeling in their opponents were all but dashed when Ronan Crowley's opportunist goal helped steer Lancashire into a 1-16 to 1-3 interval lead.
Wind-aided Cavan enjoyed more possession in the second half but were no match for their opponents' superior skills and power.
Scorers - Lancashire: R Crowley 1-14 (8f), JJ Dunphy, T Maher 0-3 each, D Crowley 0-2, C Duggan, D Power, C Doherty, D O'Brien, E Doyle 0-1 each. Cavan: A Sheridan 1-4 (3f), C Kelly, M Moffett, C Carney 0-1 each.
Cavan - D Sheridan; N Neary, C Kelly, D Crudden; P Devine, M Hynes, M Moffett; D Brady, M Smith; J Carney, H Briody, C Carney; C McEntee, A Sheridan, A Hamilton. Subs: F Williams for C Carney (inj, 29); D Neary for C McEntee (55).
Lancashire - R McAteer; O McMahon, C Larkin, S Moloney; D Power, G Jacob, T Lee; C Doherty, T Maher; D Crowley, D Maskey, JJ Dunphy; C Duggan, J Cleere, R Crowley. Subs: D O'Brien for C Duggan (59); E Kelly for D Maskey (60); D Duffy for J Cleere (65); E Doyle for C Doherty (66); J Hughes for JJ Dunphy (66).
Ref - T Gleeson (Dublin)