Electric Ireland Connacht MFC (Round 3)
Roscommon 1-13 Leitrim 1-13
Leitrim scored a goal and two points deep into injury-time to salvage a draw against Roscommon last Friday night at Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada. As a result, Roscommon’s hopes of progressing in this year’s championship are now hanging by a thread.
Roscommon players, management and supporters will argue with some justification that referee Anthony Coyne played too much injury-time at the end of the match. It was during that contentious extra-time period that Leitrim got the scores that brought them level, but the truth is that over the course of the entire game a draw is the least Leitrim deserved.
The home side were dominant for most of the proceedings, carving the Roscommon defence open repeatedly. Leitrim missed at least five clearcut goal chances and should have been winning comfortably before conceding the flurry of late scores that appeared to have won it for Roscommon.
On a perfect evening for football, the sides set about the business in hand. Robert Heneghan and Rory Carthy were a threat for a Roscommon team playing in fits and starts. Leitrim were much the better side going forward, but they squandered opportunity after opportunity to pull clear of James Duignan’s side.
In the 14th minute Josh Maye was straight through on goal, but he totally miskicked. In the 24th minute Darren Cox somehow lost possession in front of an open goal. Costly misses, the story of the night for the home side. Nonetheless, at half-time Leitrim led by 0-7 to 0-6, with Heneghan having scored three of the Roscommon points (one free).
The Leitrim squandermania continued after the break. In the first minute Tom Plunkett was straight through, and this time Sean Kelly made a super save. A minute later, the Roscommon goalkeeper’s kick-out went straight to Josh Maye but the Leitrim full-forward blazed wide in front of an open goal. Maye did however contribute two points in a fine display.
Roscommon subs Eoghan Murray, John McGuinness and TJ Hannon brought about an improvement, but the team continued to give the ball away time after time.
With the score at 0-11 apiece, Brendan Murphy scored a fine point for Roscommon in the 57th minute. Rory Carthy landed another, in the 59th minute. As the clock went over the 60-minute mark, Robert Heneghan crashed home a Roscommon goal following great work from sub Hannon. Roscommon were suddenly five clear, Leitrim rueing all those misses.
The sideline official’s board indicated three minutes of injury-time, but referee Coyne chose to play over five. On 62 minutes, Dara Greenan raced forward to point for the home side, the play continuing as worried Roscommon officials pleaded with the referee to blow the final whistle. Leitrim finally hit the back of the Roscommon net after 63 minutes when Paul Honeyman was on the end of a flowing move to fist the ball home. Now they trailed by just a point. Then in the 65th minute Honeyman confirmed his status as the Leitrim hero on the night, pouncing on a loose ball to fire over from 30 metres, and give his side a share of the spoils in quite dramatic fashion.
It was hard to see how the five and a half minutes of injury-time was justified. Mind you, any analysis of the entire game, including by the Roscommon management team, will surely conclude that the visitors were very fortunate that Leitrim were not out of sight long before that dramatic ending.
Roscommon will now have to defeat Sligo in just over a week’s time and hope that other results go their way if they are to progress in this year’s championship. Despite their honest endeavour, on the evidence of last Friday night, it looks a forlorn hope.
Teams & scorers
Roscommon: Sean Kelly; Eanna Nolan, Evan Quinn, Michael Moran; Mark Halligan, Ronan McDermott, Ryan Hanley; Conor Kelly, Brendan Murphy (0-1); Daniel Hagney (0-1), Rory Carthy (0-2, 1 free), Brian Greene; John Curran (0-1), Robert Heneghan (1-4, 2 frees), Ryan Dowling (0-1). Subs: Eoghan Murray (0-1) for Hagney (28), John McGuinness (0-1) for Greene (h/t), Lee Taylor for Dowling (45), TJ Hannon (0-1) for Kelly (50), Kelly for Curran (56).
Leitrim: Shaun Sheridan; Eoghan Moyles (0-1), Eoghan Duignan, Darragh Gardiner; Dara Greenan (0-1), Jack Foley, Gerard Murtagh; Ben Guckian (0-4, all frees), Liam Chandler (0-1); James Gilheaney, Paul Honeyman (1-3, 1 free), Tom Plunkett (0-1); Darren Cox, Josh Maye (0-2), Naoise McManus. Subs: Fionn Curley for Chandler (45), Adam Gethins for McManus (50), Eanna McNamara for Gardiner (51), Matthew Murphy for Plunkett (58), Dessie Wiley for Moyles (61).
Referee: Anthony Coyne (Galway).