Connacht SFC Quarter-Final: Roscommon 1-21 Leitrim 0-11
That’s more like it lads! After the New York wobble, Roscommon’s footballers eased their way into a Connacht semi-final clash with Sligo after an easy win over a poor Leitrim side in this derby clash in Carrick-on-Shannon on Sunday.
While a 13-point win looked like a thrashing for the home side, there are mitigating factors, and while Roscommon played well at times, it wasn’t entirely convincing.
On the positive side, Roscommon scored 1-21, and out of that total they kicked 1-18 from play. Some of their defensive work was excellent and Seanie McDermott, John McManus, Niall McInerney and Davy Murray were all superb on the day, while Niall Daly did some great work in the middle of the field.
Up front, Conor Devaney, Fintan Cregg, Ciaráin Murtagh and Donie Shine were impressive at times and the yawning gap between Division One and Division Four was evident for most of what was a disappointing game.
It took Roscommon about ten minutes to settle, but once the cobwebs were blown away, there was always only going to be one winner. However, Leitrim contributed to their own downfall with a total breakdown of discipline, especially when they realised the game was slipping away from them in the second half, and they ended the match with just twelve men. They had two players (Darren Sweeney and Killian McGriskin) sent off for straight red cards in the final 15 minutes to add to the two black cards (Gary Reynolds and Adrian Croal) they had received earlier in the game. The fact that they had already used six subs meant they ended the game with just twelve men on the field. In the final 10 minutes of play (including the three minutes of injury-time) Roscommon took advantage of their superior numbers to outscore the home side by 0-6 to 0-1 to put a very stark look to the final score.
On the negative side, Roscommon kicked a total of 14 wides, and some of these were from very scoreable positions. Once again the midfield area wasn’t as convincing as it should be, although Cathal Shine did well when he came on (and kicked a fine point). Roscommon also missed at least two other clear goal chances and, having missed so many against New York, the Roscommon attack will have to be more clinical. It also has to be said that Leitrim were very poor indeed and in fact it was one of the worst Leitrim teams that I have seen in the championship in recent years.
Still, you can only beat what is put in front of you and Fergal O’Donnell and Kevin McStay and the Roscommon backroom team will be very happy that the lethargy and hesitation, which were so evident in New York, has now gone and the goal of a Connacht final appearance is certainly now a very legitimate one. Sligo are up next and while they will provide a far stiffer test than was offered by Leitrim last Sunday, the Roscommon players will need little motivation for the semi-final after their defeat to the Yeats County at the same stage last year.