Fintan Cregg, Connacht, and Dean Healy, Leinster, in action at Parnell Park.

Fintan Cregg, Connacht, and Dean Healy, Leinster, in action at Parnell Park.

Inter-Provincial Football: Connacht advance to decider

Inter-Provincial Football Semi-Final

Connacht 2-17 Leinster 1-18

By Gavin Cawley at Parnell Park

Niall Murphy’s 59 minute goal proved to be the decisive score as Connacht defeated Leinster at Parnell Park.

A youthful Connacht side started well and raced into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead as Danny Cummins and Jason Doherty were among the early scores for the westerners.  

Westmeath’s John Heslin kept Leinster in touch with four first half points, three of which came from frees.

But a 21st minute goal from Roscommon’s Ciaran Murtagh after great team move was a key score.

John McGrath has his team back within three points, but Connacht finished the half strongly to lead at the break by 1-10 to 0-7 .

Heslin and Jason Doherty were influential scoring contributors, but Leinster were boosted by a Kieran Martin goal.

Three points on the spin had Leinster in front for the first time in the game.

Connacht were under pressure, but John Tobin’s men responded very well with points from Cummins and Murphy.

Then Sligo’s Murphy finished the ball to the net after Cummins provided the assist.

Graham Guilfoyle saw a shot come off the bar in the closing stages, but his side could only manage two consolation points through the Westmeath duo Heslin and Paul Sharry.

Scorers for Connacht: N Murphy 1-3, J Doherty 0-6 (4fs), C Murtagh 1-1,  D Cummins 0-3, F Cregg 0-1, D Comer 0-1, E Smith 0-1, N Daly 0-1.

Scorers for Leinster: J Heslin 0-10 (8fs), K Martin 1-1, D Foley 0-1, J McGrath 0-1, J Byrne 0-1, D Byrne 0-1, P Sharry 0-1 S O’Rourke 0-1, J O’Loughlin 0-1.

Connacht: D Clarke (Mayo); K McDonnell (Sligo), N McInerney (Roscommon), D Wynne (Galway); N Daly (Roscommon), G O’Donnell (Galway), J Heaney (Galway); E Smith (Roscommon), K Higgins (Roscommon); F Cregg (Roscommon), C Murtagh (Roscommon), J Doherty (Mayo); N Murphy (Sligo), D Comer (Galway), D Cummins (Galway).

Subs: C O’Shea (Mayo) for E Smith (22), Sean Mullohy (Roscommon)(22) for J Heaney, D Murtagh (Roscommon) for N Murphy (26), E Mulligan (Leitrim) for C Murtagh (HT), A Varley (Galway)  for D Comer (36), E Smith for C O’Shea (41), N Murphy for D Murtagh (43) J Heaney for N McInerney (50), D Wrynn (Leitrim) for K Higgins (53), J McManus (Roscommon) for D Wynne (53) C Murtagh for E Mulligan (55).

Leinster: A Mulhall (Offaly); D Daly (Dublin), K Meeney (Laois), P Ruth (Louth); J Dolan (Westmeath), J Small (Dublin), D Healy (Wicklow); J O’Loughlin (Laois), D Foley (Carlow); J McGrath (Wicklow), K Martin (Westmeath); N Dunne (Offaly), J Heslin (Westmeath), N Flynn (Kildare).

Subs: D Kingston (Laois) for N Dunne (HT), G Guilfoyle (Offaly) for J McGrath (HT), J Byrne (Kildare) for D Foley (HT), B Malone (Wexford) for P Ruth (HT), D Byrne (Louth) for D Healy (HT), D St Ledger  (Carlow) for K Meeney (HT), S O’Rourke (Meath) for N Flynn (43), P Cunningham (Offaly) for K Martin (46), P Collum (Longford) for A Mulhall (52), P Ruth for J Dolan (58).

Referee: N Mooney (Cavan).