Leitrim brought their Allianz National League Division 4 campaign to a winning end this afternoon with a two point win over Waterford in Pairc Sean MacDiarmada.
While the win, Leitrim’s fourth of the campaign, was most welcome and thoroughly deserved, as was the case a week ago against London, the margin of victory should have been considerably greater.
Leitrim were made to rue a number of missed opportunities during the opening half as Conor Murray’s deflected shot squirmed just out of the reach of Brendan Flynn and inside the Leitrim post to give Waterford a 1-4 to 0-5 advantage in the 28th minute.
A wonderful score from Ronan Kennedy after a fine catch from the impressive Pearce Dolan reduced the deficit before the interval and after the break Leitrim wasted no time in regaining the lead.
The second half was just 43 seconds old when Keith Beirne found the Waterford goal. He finished cooly after Pearce Dolan flicked Emlyn Mulligan’s delivery into his path.
The Waterford challenge collapsed from that point on as Leitrim took complete control of the game.
Six unanswered points including a terrific point from Emlyn Mulligan put Leitrim in what appeared to be a winning position as they led 1-12 to 1-4 with just 12 minutes remaining.
During that period of dominance Leitrim had the opportunity to make the lead even more emphatic but Emlyn Mulligan saw a 52nd minute penalty saved by David Whitty.
After the penalty save Waterford seemed to gained renewed belief and only for a wonderful interception from Ronan Kennedy would have had a clear sight of the Leitrim goal.
With seven minutes remaining and still trailing by eight points Waterford were presented with a lifeline when Paul Whyte scored from close range having reacted quickest to a rebound after Brendan Flynn had initially made a fine save.
Waterford were suddenly a team transformed with Gavin Crotty doing his best to reignite his side’s challenge.
Three unanswered points meant there was a nervous atmosphere around Pairc Sean as the game entered injury time but ultimately that was as close as Waterford got as Leitrim finished their 2017 league campaign on a winning note.
For a more detailed report, reaction and pictures from today’s game don’t miss Wednesday’s Leitrim Observer.
Leitrim: Brendan Flynn, Paddy Maguire, Niall Woods, Matthew Murphy, Wayne McKeon, Gary Reynolds, Oisin Madden (0-1), Donal Wrynn, Pearce Dolan, Dean McGovern (0-1), Mark Plunkett (0-1), Ronan Kennedy (0-3), Emlyn Mulligan (0-6, 3f), Keith Beirne (1-0), Brendan Gallagher. Subs: Damien Moran (0-1) for Gallagher (28), James Rooney for McKeon (45), Micheal McWeeney for Woods (54), Nevin O'Donnell for Beirne (60), James Mitchell for Reynolds (60)
Waterford: David Whitty, James McGrath (0-1), Thomas O’Gorman, Stephen Dalton, Kenny Murphy, Ray O’Ceallaigh, Aidan Trihy, Gavin Crotty (0-4), Michael Curry, Michael O’Halloran (0-1), Caoimhain Maguire, Dylan Guiry, Conor Murray (1-0), Paul White (1-2,2f), Fearghal Ó Cuirrín. Subs: Tadhg Ó Huallacháin for Ó Cuirrín (45), Pa Whyte for Murphy (49), Jason Curry for Guiry, Paul Walsh for Murray (60).