Leitrim turned in their best performance of this year’s Division Four campaign on Sunday in Netwatch Cullen Park when they thanks to a strong wind assisted second half performance crushed Carlow’s challenge.
It was a game of two halves in which Leitrim sternly defended in the opening 35 minutes and allowed wind assisted Carlow build up a narrow four point advantage.
After the restart, Leitrim played quite an amount of attractive open football that soon pulverised Carlow and put the visitors on the road to a clear cut win.
With the advantage of very strong wind, Carlow managed to build up a two point lead in the first five minutes with Ciarán Moran and Brendan Murphy both shooting over from play.
Most of the first half was played in the Leitrim half of the field as the Green & Godl registered five wides. In contrast Carlow, who more or less camped in Leitrim territory, were much more wasteful when they hit a total of 11 first half wides.
Leitrim had a let off thanks to a 13th minute Mathew Murphy goal line save that denied David Bambrick a goal. Kevin Conlan opened Leitrim’s account with a free in the next minute for what turned out be his sides only first half score.
Carlow responded three minutes later with a long range David Redmond point while sub Alan Kelly added a point within a minute.
Between the 18th and 34th minutes no scores were registered by either side. When the 16 minute scoreless spell ended, Sean Gannon increased Carlow’s lead when he converted a free.
After holding the upper hand in the first half, Carlow led by only 0-5 to 0-1 at halftime. After the restart Leitrim opened up the Carlow defence with quick breaks from turn overs in defence and also by attacking from well out on the wings.
Ronan Kennedy led the fight back early in the second half when he shot over from play in the 39th and 40th minutes to reduce Carlow’s lead to two points.
Leitrim got on level terms after Kevin Conlan fired over a brace of points. Leitrim took the lead for the first time when Ronan Kennedy fisted over a 46th minute point after being put through by a final pass from Kevin Conlan.
Four minutes later Kennedy hit over a spectacular point from 45 metres before James McGrail increased Leitrim’s lead in the following minute.
Carlow responded with their only score of the half when sub Brian Murphy shot a 54th minute point. Two minutes later Kevin Conlan restored Leitrim’s lead when he put over a free for a foul on himself by Benny Kavanagh.
Sub Thomas Mulvey was unlucky when his 61st minute goal bound pile driver came of the bottom of the Carlow upright. Over the next four minutes Leitrim went five ahead after Kevin Conlan shot over from play and tapped over a free.
The icing on the cake for Leitrim’s electrifying second half performance came in the 68th minute when Ronan Kennedy put Fergal Clancy through on goals at the 45 metre line with no one to beat but keeper Robbie Molloy. Clancy coolly soled to within about 13 metres of the goal and slotted home the game’s only goal past an advancing Molloy.
Leitrim sub Damien Moran sustained ankle injury and after some on-field medical attention was taken off on a stretcher. Kevin Conlan concluded the scoring with his third point of the afternoon from play, having already slotted over four frees.