Eirgrid Connacht U-20 Championship Quarter-Final
A goal and two points in the first period of extra-time were the key scores as Roscommon pipped Leitrim by a single point after a nail-biting roller coaster of a match played a Páirc Sean Mac Diarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon on Wednesday night.
Points from Paul Carey and Dylan Ruane and a well-taken goal from Roscommon CBS star James Fitzpatrick were crucial as Shane Curran’s men qualified to meet Galway in the Connacht semi-final next Wednesday in Kiltoom. In the nature of this great game Leitrim came back again towards the end of extra-time but they just came up short and a free from Mark Diffley deep into injury-time from 55 yards went wide and that was the end of a brave home challenge.
In the first half both sides looked shaky in defence but dangerous going forward. After Daire Keenan scored an early Roscommon point Leitrim struck for two goals in three minutes. In the 9th minute Mark Diffley blasted home after a great run form Jack Gilheaney and three minutes later Diffley converted a penalty after Jordan Reynolds was fouled by Robbie Dolan.
Roscommon recovered with points from Paul Carey, Dylan Ruane and a Ronan Dowd free, and in the 16th minute the Rossies were ahead when Ronan Dowd took advantage of a poor kick-out to solo through the centre and score a fine goal. But it was Leitrim who regained the initiative almost immediately and livewire corner-forward Jordan Reynolds poked home expertly in the 25th minute following good work from Tom Prior.
Ronan Dowd pointed from play in the 26th minute but it was Leitrim that finished the half the better team and Ciaran Cullen scored two great points from play and Mark Diffley pointed a free to leave the score Leitrim 3-4 Roscommon 1-5 at half-time.
The second half was a thrilling and incident-filled affair. Roscommon were much better on the re-start and scored four points in a row from Paul Carey and Ronan Dowd (frees) and two fine points from Daire Keenan. But just when Roscommon thought they were back in business Leitrim struck for another great goal and this time it was sub Oisin Bohan who was on target and when James Glancy added a point, Leitrim were six points ahead by the 42nd minute.
But Roscommon rallied once again. Mark Diffley pointed two minutes later and then Paul Carey scored a great Roscommon goal in the 47th minute. But it looked like the home side would prevail after sub Bohan scored another point in the 56th minute, but three frees from Ronan Dowd and a last-gasp effort from Paul Carey (which was disputed by the Leitrim defenders) ensured that the sides finished level: Roscommon 2-14 Roscommon 4-8.
In extra-time Roscommon were just a little bit sharper but will concede that they were lucky to survive on the night.
Roscommon: Rob Kearney; Enda Killoran, Evan Flynn, Robbie Dolan; Michael Conroy, Niall Higgins, Gerry Galvin; Patrick Fannon, Padraig Halpin; Daire Keenan (0-3), Ronan Dowd (1-7, 4 frees), Thomas O’Rourke; Brian Derwin (0-1), Paul Carey (1-4, 2 frees), Dylan Ruane (0-2). Subs: Sean Hanly for Conroy (b/c 25), James Fitzpatrick (1-0) for Derwin (h/t), Jonathan Hester for O’Rourke (h/t), Cian Corcoran for Fannon (47), Ciaran Lawless for Keenan (50), Aaron Brady for Kearney (e/t), Jack Keane (for sending off), Andrew Lyons for Carey (68), Brian Derwin for Ruane (71), Ryan Donoghue for Killoran (78).
Leitrim: Sean Reynolds; Fintan Earley, Liam Rowley, Sean Chandler; Sean Harkin, Conor O’Dwyer, Riordan O’Rourke; Aaron Hoare, Jack Gilheaney (0-3); Ciaran Cullen (0-2), Mark Diffley (2-4, pen, 3 frees), Paul Keaney, Jordan Reynolds (1-1), Tom Prior, James Clancy (0-1). Subs: Oisin Bohan (1-1) for O’Rourke (b/c 15), Diarmuid Kellegher for Reynolds (52), Evan Harkin for Tom Prior (61), Mark Keegan for Keaney (68), Dylan Maguire for Clancy (71)
Referee: Paul Lydon (Mayo)