A London player is tackled by Wayne McKeon. Photo by Willie Donnellan
Leitrim picked up a third win of the 2017 Allianz League Division 4 campaign but won't be reading too much into a seven point victory over London in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada.
LEITRIM 2-16 LONDON 0-15
A vibrant, fast moving and well organised Leitrim completely outclassed London for the opening 50 minutes of this contest, leading by 13 points after goals from Emlyn Mulligan and James Rooney in the first half, giving Brendan Guckian his third win of the campaign.
With these two teams meeting in the championship at the end of May, you'd have thought both teams would be eager to lay down a marker but in a match devoid of real intensity and bite, neither team will be reading too much into this result ahead of their Connacht Championship meeting at the end of May.
There were lots of positives for Leitrim with Emlyn Mulligan landing 1-6 from placed balls, Donal Wrynn impressing at midfield while there was a good range of scorers for the Green & Gold.
Leitrim did plunder scores at will and will be confident of exploiting an open looking London defence come championship time but just how much either team will read into this game is open to question as it lacked any real intensity or aggression and that surely won’t be lacking at the end of May.
Leitrim looked lively early on with Keith Beirne pointing after a wayward London free was intercepted by Mark Plunkett, his pass setting up the score but London responded through a Liam Gavaghan free after a Niall Woods foul on near the sideline.
Points from Ronan Kennedy, Mulligan (free) and Keith Beirne stretched the lead to three points with Adrian Moyles replying from a free after an Oisin Madden foul on Greg Crowley.
Leitrim continued to pile on the scores with Brendan Gallagher and Mulligan (2) adding points before James Rooney showed good pace and great footwork to break in from the left wing, go by the last defender and blast a great shot to the net.
London replied with a Moyles free but the Green & Gold were in complete control as Mulligan (free), Mark Plunkett, Ronan Kennedy and Brendan Gallagher all added points while Mulligan smashed a penalty to the net after Keith Beirne was taken down by keeper Conor Campbell.
London sub Mark McGirr fired over a 50 yard point to leave the halftime scores at 2-11 to 0-5 in favour of Leitrim, a lead quickly extended when Wayne McKeon fired over after two minutes of the second half.
London sub Kieran Hughes replied with a point but it was tit for tat for the opening 20 minutes as Ronan Kennedy, Mulligan (2) and Keith Beirne swapped points with Killian Butler and Liam Gavaghan.
The final 15 minutes won’t please the Leitrim management as London seemed to turn on a switch as they dominated the final 15 minutes with six unanswered points, some of which were incredible long range scores from play.
Leitrim simply couldn’t get the ball out of their own half but the nearest London came to the goal they so desperately needed was when Killian Butler saw his shot fly narrowly wide after he gathered a high ball.
McGirr, Hughes, Gavaghan, Butler and Gavaghan all scored excellent points for London before the final whistle sounded but it was never going to be enough to overcome Leitrim’s huge lead.
Scorers: Emlyn Mulligan 1-6, 1 pen, 5f, 1 50; Keith Beirne & Ronan Kennedy 0-3; James Rooney 1-0; Brendan Gallagher 0-2; Mark Plunkett & Wayne McKeon 0-1 each
Team: Brendan Flynn, Paddy Maguire, Niall Woods, Matthew Murphy, Wayne McKeon, Gary Reynolds, Oisin Madden, Donal Wrynn, Pearce Dolan, James Rooney, Mark Plunkett, Ronan Kennedy, Emlyn Mulligan, Keith Beirne, Brendan Gallagher. Subs: Conor Gaffney for Rooney (44), Noel Plunkett for Woods (50), Fionn Carney for Madden (54), Shane Moran for Dolan (58), Nevin O’Donnell for Kennedy (59), Caillin Canning for Reynolds (66).
Scorers: Liam Gavaghan 0-5, 2f; Mark McGirr 0-3; Adrian Moyles (2f), Killian Butler & Kieran Hughes 0-2 each; Mark Gottsche 0-1
Team: Conor Campbell, Ciaran Dunne, Cormac Coyne, Conor O’Neill, Colin Dunne, Danny Ryan, David Carrabine, Anthony McDermott, Martin Carroll, Adrian Moyles, Mark Gottsche, Greg Crowley, Eoin Murray, Liam Gavaghan, Killian Butler. Subs: Mark McGirr for Gottsche (29); Philip Butler, Cathal Og Greene & Kieran Hughes for Coyne, McDermott & Moyles (HT), Jarlath Branagan for Murray (45), Marc Jordan for Carrabine (61).
Referee: John Gilmartin (Sligo)
SEE THIS WEEK'S LEITRIM OBSERVER FOR MORE IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS & REACTION.