Leitrim snatched a dramatic injury time win with a Conor Kelly point against 14 man Fermanagh at the end of a second half dog fight showdown in Sunday’s National Football League Division 4 clash in Carrick-on-Shannon to keep their promotion hopes very much alive.
ALLIANZ NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION FOUR - LEITRIM 0-11, FERMANAGH 0-10
Fermanagh led all the way in this contest but they suffered a serious set back when substitute Kevin Cosgrove was dismissed for a second yellow card offence in the 51st minute. The vistors dominated the first half midfield battle and consequently outplayed Leitrim for most of the 35 minutes. But Leitrim crowded the middle of the field in the second half and won a major share of the possession which turned the game in their favour.
Playing with the wind Fermanagh dominated the first half exchanges in all areas of the field and led by six points at the interval after Leitrim had turned in a listless first period display, scoring only a single point.
Fermanagh got off to a good start and went three points in front in the opening fourteen minutes thanks to Terry O’Flanagan who converted two frees and who also found the target from play.
Emlyn Mulligan opened Leitrim’s account with an 18th minute free conversion that proved to be the only flag his side raised in the first half. Fermanagh stretched their lead to four points over the next eight minutes after Kevin Cosgrove shot over from play and then Brian Óg Maguire flicked a ball over the Leitrim crossbar.
Just before the beak Fermanagh went further ahead with points from play by Martin O’Brien and Ryan Jones to lead by 0–7 to 0–1 at half-time. But Leitrim were revitalised in the second half even though Fermanagh still stretched the lead with a 38th minute Ryan Jones point from play.
However, the home county fought determinedly back over the next ten minutes and reduced the deficit to two points after Emlyn Mulligan fired over three frees while Conor Beirne and Conor Kelly both hit the target from play.
After Fermanagh had been reduced to 14 men with the second yellow card dismissal of Kevin Cosgrove in the 51st minute, they hit back with a well-taken long range Conor Quigley point from play two minutes later.
But Leitrim kept their second half revival going and narrowed the gap to the minimum of margins after Emlyn Mulligan tapped over a 55th minute free and highly effective substitute Wayne McKeon shot over from play two minutes later.
Fermanagh repleid with a point from play through the impressive Hugh Brady in the 61st minute but Conor Beirne converted a Leitrim free three minutes later to keep the pressure on.
Wayne McKeon then levelled matters with a 67th minute point from play and Conor Kelly hit the winner for Leitrim four minutes later. After that Fermanagh forward Paul Ward had a chance to earn a share of the spoils when his side were awarded a close range free but Ward’s effort sailed inches wide of the near post and Leitrim survived to claim the vital victory.
LEITRIM: Cathal McCrann; Dermot Reynolds, Ronan Gallagher, Paddy Maguire; Daniel Beck, Gary Reynolds, James Glancy (St. Mary’s); Tomás Beirne, Daniel Lowe; Emlyn Mulligan 0–4 (frees), Colm Clarke, Colm Maguire; James Glancy (Glencar/Manor), Adrian Croal, Conor Kelly 0–2.
Subs:- Conor Beirne 0–3 (one free) for Clarke (32 mins); Robbie Lowe for D Lowe (38 mins); Wayne McKeon 0–2 for Beck (39 mins); Fergal Clancy for Maguire (41mins).
FERMANAGH: James McGrath; John Woods, Barry Owens, Michael Jones; Niall McElroy, Barry Mulrone, Conor Quigley 0–1; Hugh Brady 0–1, Martin O’Brien 0–1; Chris O’Brien, Niall Cassidy, Brian Óg Maguire 0–1; Paul Ward 0–1, Ryan Jones 0–2, Terry O’Flanagan 0–3 (two frees).
Subs:- Kevin Cosgrove 0–1 for McElroy (11 mins); Paul McCusker for O’Flanagan (half-time); Sean Quigley for C. Quigley (56 mins).
Referee: Vincent Neary (Mayo).