Monaghan's Conor Gernon manages to force the sliothar past Leitrim keeper Clement Cunniffe for the decisive goal last Sunday in the Lory Meagher Cup Picture: Willie Donnellan
After giving as good as they got for the first 55 minutes last Sunday in Avant Money Páirc Sean Mac Diarmada, Leitrim could only watch as clinical Monaghan outgunned them in the final minutes of an exciting Lory Meagher Cup clash.
Monaghan now sit on top of the Lory Meagher Cup table but Leitrim, still second in the table, can still reach the Final if they can beat Lancashire and Louth in their remaining two fixtures.
Playing against a stiff breeze in the first half, Gavin O'Hagan edged Leitrim ahead when he fired over an opening minute point. It took Monaghan four more minutes to get on level terms when Mark Treanor punished a Leitrim foul by putting over the resulting free.
The Farney men grabbed a two point advantage by the 10th minute after Conor Gernon and Declan Hughes whipped over a point apiece. Leitrim responded well over the next three minutes with Diarmuid Kelleher raising two white flags.
Monaghan continued to enjoy the bulk of the possession as Mark Treanor and Conall McHugh both split the Leitrim posts. Leitrim responded well, despite enjoying much less possession, to get on level terms over the next two minutes after Cathal O'Donovan and Gavin O'Hagan pointed.
O'Hagan edged Leitrim back in front from a 65 but Treanor levelled matters for a fifth time in the half from a 24th minute mark free. Leitrim again edged in front thanks to points from O’Hagan (free) and James McNabola but Conor Gernon hit back immediately with Monaghan point.
A 28th minute Diarmuid Kelleher point once more restored Leitrim's two point advantage but Monaghan got back in front when Mark Treanor rammed the ball into the Leitrim net two minutes later after a scrappy goalmouth incident.
Niall Garland added a point for the Ulstermen as the game ticked into added time but a Gavin O'Hagan point just before the interval saw Monaghan lead by 1-8 to 0-10 when halftime arrived.
A Mark Treanor free increased Monaghan's advantage less than two minutes into the second half action before the Monaghan man swapped points with Leitrim’s Joe Murray over the next seven minutes.
Leitrim regained the lead when Murray hammered home a 45th minute goal but Monaghan's Mark Treanor levelled the game for a sixth time from a placed ball three minutes later. It remained a tit for tat contest for the next six minutes with Leitrim's Sean Markham and Gavin O'Hagan (free) swapping points with Monaghan's James Slevin and Mark Treanor (free).
After that Monaghan began to turn the tables on Leitrim when they edged into a three point lead by the 60th minute thanks to points from James Slevin, Mark Treanor and Niall Garland. Cathal O'Donovan replied with a Leitrim point from a marvelously hit long range sideline cut.
But then Monaghan dealt the Leitrim challenge a hammer blow on 63 minutes when Conor Gernon was on hand to flick a breaking ball in front of Clement Cunniffe's posts to net. Leitrim replied with points over the next four minutes from frees by Gavin O'Hagan and Clement Cunniffe while James McNabola saw yellow shortly afterwards.
Monaghan ensured the win in added time with a point from a Mark Treanor '65' and another from Ciaran Guinan while Leitrim's Liam Moreton saw yellow shortly before the end as Monaghan held on to collect the two points.
Scorers: G O'Hagan 0-7, 4f; J Murray 1-1; D Kelleher 0-3; C O'Donovan 0-2 (f); J McNabola, S Markham & C Cunniffe (f) 0-1 each
Team: Clement Cunniffe; Paul Lenehan, Dave McGovern, Kevin Clerkin: Conor Hackett, Karl McDermott, James McNabola; Martin Feeney, Cathal O'Donovan, Brendan Delaney, Senan Keane, Gavin O'Hagan; Diarmuid Kelleher, Sean Markham, Joe Murray. Subs: Liam Moreton for Keane (56); Jamie Ward for Markham (69)
Scorers: M. Treanor 1-9, 5f, 165; C. Gernon 1-2; J. Slevin & N. Garland 0-2 each; D. Hughes, C. McHugh & C. Guinan 0-1 each
Team: H. Byrne; B. Flanagan, C. Merrick, C. McAnespie; C. Flynn, K. Crawley, C. McNally; C. McHugh, D. Hughes; M. Treanor, C. Gernon, P. Malone; P. McKenna, N. Garland, R. Andrews. Subs: J. Slevin for Andrews (HT); C. Guinan for McKenna (48); P. Heavin for Gernon (69)
Referee: Aidan McAleer (Donegal)
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.