A razor sharp Roscommon outfit easily demolished the challenge of a Leitrim side that was never at the races in Páirc Seán on Saturday evening and easily claimed a place in the Electric Ireland Connacht Minor Championship semi-final against Galway on Saturday next.
The Rossies dominated this encounter right from the off and always looked like victors. Roscommon enjoyed a ten point halftime lead with Diarmuid Murtagh and Michael Gunning hitting a goal apiece for them in the first eleven minutes.
The performance of Leitrim was quite lacklustre for long periods, Roscommon came out with all guns blazing from the throw in while Leitrim seemed to be overawed, particularly in the crucial first quarter of the action.
Leitrim only managed to register one first half score when Nicholas Moore found the net in the 11th minute which was answered almost immediately by Gunning’s second Roscommon goal.
Whatever hopes Leitrim had of staging a second half come-back was quickly crushed when Enda Smith struck for Roscommon’s third goal within 55 seconds of the restart.
A short-lived ray of hope was shone on the Leitrim supporters when halftime sub Niall Brady shot a well-taken 35th minute goal after a terrific individual effort but Roscommon still had an 11 point advantage at that juncture.
However there was no way back for Leitrim as Roscommon went on to increase their advantage to 18 points at the finish with Kevin Finn adding their fourth goal.
Roscommon are a team that will take some beating in the remainder of the Connacht championship. Roscommon moved the ball with clinical efficiency against a Leitrim side that too often didn’t help their cause when standing much too far off their individual opponents.
Leitrim has had very little success at underage age level in Connacht for the most of the past decadeand after Saturday’s drubbing, it is an issue that needs to be urgently addressed with the hope that a substantial improvement can be brought about in the situation going forward.
In the opening action of Saturday’s contest, Leitrim had an early let off when Roscommon full-forward Kevin Finn drove a third minute goal chance wide in to the side netting from three yards after he soloed along the end line.
Roscommon opened the game’s scoring in the following minute when Finn fired over after being put through by Diarmuid Murtagh. Roscommon struck for their first goal in to the sixth minute after Leitrim keeper Brendan Flynn made a point blank save from Enda Smith but Murtagh was on hand to put the rebound in to the net.
Flynn made another good save two minutes later to deny Murtagh while shortly afterwards Ultan Harney shot over to increase Roscommon’s advantage to five points.
After a very poor start, it looked like Nicholas Moore had put Leitrim right back in to contention when he fired an 11th shot to the Roscommon net. But right away Michael Gunning hit right back with a goal at the opposite end to deal Leitrim a sucker punch.
Roscommon pushed on to add five unanswered points before halftime to leave their side with a 2-7 to 1-0 halftime advantage.
Any hope Leitrim had of staging a second half come-back was quickly knocked on the head when Enda Smith struck for Roscommon’s third goal within 55 seconds of the restart.
Michael Gunning added a point but sub Niall Brady gave Leitrim supporters some hope when he hit back of the net with a well-taken 35th minute strike.
Roscommon keeper Shane Mannion denied Leitrim a goal four minutes later when he made a point blank save from a Felim McHugh shot while Brendan Flynn also pulled off a top drawer save when he stopped a shot from Thomas Corcoran that had goal written all over it.
Leitrim scored their first point of the contest in the 46th minute when Donal Wrynn put over a 45 metre free but Roscommon hit four points in reply by the 51st minute.
Leitrim sub Conor Gaffney slightly reduced Roscommon’s advantage when he fired over in the 56th minute but the all-conquering Rossies showed no mercy with Finn hitting home a fourth goal in the dying minutes.
On a day when little went right for Leitrim Donal Wrynn completed the scoring in the game with a pointed free just before the end.
Shane Mannion; Philip Neilan, Dennis Barron, Cathal Kenny; Tadhg McKenna (0-1), Conor Hussey, Ronan Daly; Ultan Harney (0-2), Thomas Corcoran (0-1); Ciaran Casserly, Ruardhri McManus (0-1), Enda Smith (1-3); Diarmuid Murtagh (1-4), Kevin Finn (1-2), Michael Gunning (1-1). Subs: Niall McInerney for Hussey (25 mins), Kieran Kilcline & Stephen Flynn for Casserly & Neilan (37 mins), Liam Kilcline for Barron (55 mins), Dara Petit for Harney (59 mins).
Brendan Flynn; Brendan Byrne, Enda Fowley, Michael Clancy; Jack de Lacey, Colm Neville, Eanna Madden; Declan Daly, Donal Wrynn (0-2); Felim McHugh, James Rooney, Conor McCauley; Nicholas Moore (1-0), Padraig Gallagher, Daragh McKiernan. Subs: Robert Broughton for Fowley (16 mins), Stephen Gilheaney for Clancy (25 mins), Niall Brady (1-0) for McKiernan (HT), Conor Gaffney (0-1) for Daly (41 mins), Aaron McLoughlin for McCauley (43 mins).
Referee: D. Corcoran (Mayo).