Leitrim and Warwickshire served up a competitve encounter in Pairc Sean Uí Eislin, Ballinamore last Saturday where the visiting team emerged victorious by seven points thanks in the main to their more accurate forwards and better balanced side.
Leitrim 1-10 Warwickshire 2-14
Warwickshire began with the aid of a fresh breeze and shot into a three point lead inside the first eight minutes with points from Ivors, Sheedy and Behan as Leitrim struggled to match them in the early stages.
However, the home side settled down and two points from full forward Clement Cunniffee, one from a placed ball and one from play, brought them right back into contention. After good Leitrim play they were dealt a blow in the 12th minute when corner forward Emmet McCabe expertly batted to the roof of the net a long Boxwell delivery to give them a 1-3 to 0-2 advantage.
It was a superb goal and was very well taken but persistent fouling by Warwickshire paid dividends for Leitrim in the following minutes with Cunniffe deadly accurate from placed balls, converting two more to cut the deficit.
The home side then struck for a goal when Cunniffe got the better of full back Griffith and fired to the net in the 15th minute after good initial build-up play from Kevin McGrath.
Warwickshire answered immediately with a salvo from the impressive Michael Ivors who took two lovely points with wristy strikes to put them 1-6 to 1-4 ahead after 20 minutes.
Cunniffe landed another free after a foul on Michael Poniard and Kieran Courtney responded with a free for Warwickshire, the big full forward starting to roam out the field and get on a lot of ball.
Good pressure by the Leitrim players was restricting Warwickshire and making them rush their shooting, but they were given a major boost in the 29th minute when an 80 metre free from Wedel went straight to the Leitrim net past veteran keeper Tommy McLoughlin. It was a cruel blow to Leitrim who had been matching their opponents up to that point. But Warwickshire didn’t relent and piled forward in the closing minutes of the half to register two morre points, both frees from Ivors, which left them in the comfortable position of 2-9 to 1-6 ahead at the break.
The second half was a more dogged affair than the first with both sides closing down the other and restricting chances.
Leitrim began brightly with substitute Niall McLoughlin taking a fine score after two minutes of the half but Ivors took up where he had left off for Warwickshire and landed another free to keep the six point gap between the sides.
Tommy McLoughlin made up for his earlier lapse with a fine save from Courtney and it was Leitrim’s turn to threaten a goal next but Mike Cremin saved a weak Keith Boyle shot as Leitrim sought to get the scores to get back into the game. The ball rebounded to the impressive Kevin McGrath who fired over to cut the lead to five points.
Cunniffe then tried his luck from a free but his shot for goal was saved and cleared while Niall McLoughlin and Kevin McGrath saw other efforts drop wide.
Semaco Moradi did find the range for the home side but Warwickshire were capably soaking up the Leitrim attacks and could have had a couple of goals but for two great saves in succession by Tommy McLoughlin.
Warwickshire’s Kieran Counrtney, Conall Maskey and David Neylon were holding the centre very well and were dictating a lot of the play in the second half. Courtney landed a 65’ and Ivors slotted over another free to keep them well in control. Cunniffe and Ivors swapped points in the closing stages as the game petered out and Warwickshire wrapped up a deserved but hard-fought victory.
Warwickshire’s better striking of the ball was a telling factor in this match and went a long way to securing the win. Best for the visitors were the deadly accurate Ivors, Courtney, Maskey, Neylon, Boxwell and Bergin.
For Leitrim, Kevin McGrath impressed with his tenacity while the Poniards, Vinnie McDermott and Stephen Feeney worked tirelessly throughout. Clement Cunniffe was the main danger up front but he was starved of possession when isolated one on one with the full back and Leitrim never made that advantage pay.
Warwickshire now progress in the competition while Leitrim face neighbours Longford in a play-off.
Tommy McLoughlin, Seamus McTiernan, Vincent McDermott, Patrick Clerkin, Patrick McManus, Stephen Feeney, Kevin McGrath (0-1), David Poniard, Morgan Quinn, Mark O’Donoghue, Keith Boyle, Semaco Moradi (0-1), Micheal Dolan, Clement Cunniffe (1-7), Michael Poniard. Subs: Niall McLoughlin (0-1) for O’Donoghue, Kevin Clerkin for Dolan, Mark Beirne for Moradi, Patrick Clancy for McTiernan.
Mike Cremin, Ruairi Wedel (1-0), Brendan Griffith, Kieran Boxwell, John Bergin David Neylon, Chris Brough, Alan Morrissey, James O’Dwyer, Cormac Behan (0-1), Conall Maskey, Dwane Sheedy (0-1), Emmet McCabe (1-1), Kieran Counrtney (0-2), Michael Ivors (0-9). Subs: Niall McNamee for Griffith, Mick O’Hara for Morrissey.
Referee: C. Browne (Galway).