Ladies suffer defeat in Connacht final

TG4 Connacht LGFA Intermediate Championship Final

Leitrim 2-11     Roscommon 2-8

Roscommon’s hopes of ending 2021 with silverware were well and truly dashed by Leitrim last Sunday as they were the deserved winners of this very entertaining provincial decider which was delayed from earlier in the year.

  Played at Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada in perfect conditions, Roscommon were ultra competitive in a thrilling first half, but they fell away badly in the second half. In fact, they only managed one score in the second period, a superb goal from by far their best player, Laura Fleming, in the 40th minute.

  Short a number of players, Roscommon were far too dependent on Laura Fleming throughout. The St. Ciaran’s player turned in a barnstorming performance, scoring 2-4, but she needed more assistance on the day especially in the second half when Leitrim started to dominate. In fact, were it not for two fantastic saves from Helena Cummins in the final five minutes, Leitrim would have won this match by an even bigger margin.

  Leitrim opened up a 0-3 to 0-1 lead by the 10th minute but three superb points from Fleming saw Roscommon lead by one by the 13th minute. Then we saw two excellent goals within a minute. First Laura O’Dowd blasted home for Leitrim after a great pass from Siomha Quinn and on the restart Roscommon swept downfield and Fleming finished brilliantly. Points from Lisa O’Rourke and Rosie Lennon stretched the Roscommon lead to three by the 17th minute.

  But Leitrim hit back with a Michelle Guckian point from a free, and when Laura O’Dowd scored their second goal in the 29th minute the home side were ahead again. Rebecca Finan’s free in injury-time ensured that the sides went in level at the break: Leitrim 2-5 Roscommon 1-8.

  Leitrim upped the ante in the second half and Roscommon started to struggle. Michelle Guckian pointed a free in the 31st minute but against the run of play Roscommon went back into the lead in the 40th minute when Laura Fleming produced a contender for the goal of the year with a bullet into the top corner of the Leitrim net.

  But it was a false dawn for Roscommon. Michelle Guckian was an increasing influence on the game for Leitrim and subs Amy Fowley and Megan McGovern were playing well. Leitrim were level again by the 45th minute, and points from Guckian and Megan McGovern put them ahead as they dominated the exchanges. Helena Cummins made two fantastic saves, both from the boot of sub Leah Fox, to keep Roscommon in the game but a late Michelle Guckian point sealed the deal for Leitrim, and deservedly so too.