Wily Guckian and Fox snare Roscommon

TG4 Connacht LGFA Intermediate Championship Final:
Leitrim 1-14 Roscommon 0-14

There was no pre-championship boost for Roscommon when they went under to Leitrim for the second year in a row in the Connacht Intermediate final in Tuam last Sunday. Superior firepower was the difference as Leitrim recovered from a bad start to win deservedly.

  On a perfect day weather-wise, Roscommon started brightly. After 17 minutes Roscommon led by 0-6 to 0-2, with Jenny Shine, Roisin Wynne and Niamh Feeney doing particularly well.

Roscommon lost their way completely after that, with too much of their play either lateral or backwards. In contrast, Leitrim employed a much more direct style which paid off handsomely. They kicked the ball long into Michelle Guckian and Leah Fox, both of whom were outstanding, and the Roscommon defence just couldn’t cope with the twin threat.

In the 26th minute Fox made a super run into the heart of the Roscommon defence and crashed the ball past Helena Cummins to level the scores at 0-6 to 1-3. Roscommon never really recovered after that.

In the opening five minutes of the second half Roscommon did have two goal opportunities but Jenny Shine’s effort was saved by Michelle Monaghan and the Leitrim defence scrambled the ball away after Natalie McHugh’s effort struck a post.

Leitrim were in command for most of the second half as Fox and Guckian (in particular the latter) kicked some wonderful scores. The eventual winners led by five points by the 46th minute, 1-11 to 0-9.

With substitute Lauren Shanagher doing well when she came on, Roscommon narrowed the gap to three on a couple of occasions towards the end of the game. However, Guckian scored two long-range points (one a free) in the final four minutes to ensure another Connacht title for her side.

It’s not the end of the world for Roscommon but after what was a disappointing display they will have to re-group in preparation for the  forthcoming All-Ireland Championship. A more direct style will be needed in order to give the likes of Aisling Hanly and the inside forwards a chance to get scores in future games.

On this occasion, the class of Fox and Guckian – who contributed 1-12 between them – was just too much for Ollie Lennon’s side.

Roisin Wynne was Roscommon’s best player on the day while Jenny Shine, Natalie McHugh, Aisling Hanly and sub Lauren Shanagher were also notably prominent.