Leitrim leave it late to break ladies’ hearts



TG4 Connacht Ladies Football IFC: Leitrim 2-13 Roscommon 1-10


Two goals in injury-time broke the hearts of Roscommon following this tense and exciting championship game played in perfect weather conditions at Kilglass last Sunday and now Roscommon will have to beat Sligo (on June 17th) if they are to entertain any hopes of progress in the championship this year.

  It was a very disappointing way to end the match as Roscommon led by a point as the clock ticked past the 60th minute. But that devastating late burst from Leitrim, added to some bad misses from Roscommon when they were on top in the opening half, saw Michael Finneran’s charges end up empty handed.

  It was a game of contrasting fortunes as the initiative swayed one way, then the other. On a warm humid afternoon and on a perfect playing surface, Roscommon were the better side in the opening half, but despite having the lion’s share of possession they were not able to transfer that advantage on to the scoreboard. Tara Taylor opened the scoring for Roscommon after 3 minutes with a good point but despite the perfect conditions the sides shared only six points in the opening 20 minutes. Aisling McAuliffe and Jenny Downey were the Roscommon scorers with Ailbhe Glancy, Roisin McHugh and Aine Tighe on target for Leitrim.

  In between, Roscommon kicked five bad wides, which included a 13-metre free. But the home side finally found their range before half-time. Jenny Higgins scored from play in the 22nd minute and in the 30th minute the same player made a searing run through the Leitrim defence to score a fine goal. Two Ailbhe Glancy points (one a free) saw the sides go in a half-time with Roscommon ahead by 1-4 to 0-5.

   Leitrim were much better on the restart. Subs Michelle Heslin and Laura Dowd were very effective, and with Ailbhe Glancy and Aine Tighe always dangerous, the visitors came into the match. By the end of the third quarter Roscommon led by 1-7 to 0-8 with Rebecca Finan, Natalie McHigh (free) and Jenny Downey on target for Roscommon.

  Then three points without reply for Leitrim from Aine Tighe, Michelle Heslin and the excellent Ailbhe Glancy saw them ahead 0-11 to 1-7 by the 49th minute. But Roscommon were battling away. Two Natalie McHugh frees edged them ahead again and when the sides shared points through Ailbhe Glancy and a Natalie McHugh point from play Roscommon led the game by a point going into injury-time.

  But Leitrim were to strike late and decisively. Laura Dowd kicked a super equalising point in the 60th minute. Then in the second minute of injury-time Aine Tighe set up Ailbhe Glancy for a great goal and ninety seconds later Aine Tighe competed the smash and grab raid with another very well taken goal.

  It was a heartbreaker for Roscommon, who rued the many missed chances that they had earlier in the game. Amanda McLoone was outstanding at full-back and was Roscommon’s best player. Aisling McAuliffe, Jenny Downey and Jenny Higgins were also prominent for the home side. For Leitrim, Ailbhe Glancy was the best player on the field on the day and not far behind her were Aine Tighe, Clare Owens and subs Michelle Heslin and Laura Dowd.