All-Ireland SFC: Leitrim edge out Wicklow
All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 1
LEITRIM 0-15 WICKLOW 0-13
By Daragh Small at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada
Terry Hyland claimed his first championship win as Leitrim manager with an 0-15 to 0-13 Round 1 qualifier victory over Wicklow.
The Connacht side had already beaten today’s opponents in Division 4 of the NFL this year and backed it up at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon.
Ryan O’Rourke scored 0-7 and despite the first half black card for senior debutant Oisín McCaffrey Leitrim progressed to the next round as Wicklow's season comes to an end.
It finished 1-16 to 1-12 to Leitrim at Aughrim on 3 February but it was a cagey opening here, dominated by Wicklow goalkeeper Mark Jackson.
Leitrim won the toss and their captain Micheal McWeeney opted to play against the slight breeze in the first half.
And Wicklow went ahead inside two minutes when midfielder Pádraig O’Toole got through the cover and fisted over rather than testing the reflexes of Cathal McCrann in the Leitrim goal.
Pearce Dolan hit back with Leitrim’s first point in the third minute and moments later Domhnaill Flynn popped up to add a second point.
But there was no fluency to either teams’ play and Jackson scored the next couple of points. He converted a free and a 45 to edge his side in front.
Ryan O’Rourke levelled proceedings for the third time, 0-3 to 0-3, in the 21st minute but that was from a free, as was Jackson’s third point.
O’Rourke (free) put the sides back on level terms again but Leitrim hit three-in-a-row with Shane Quinn and Paddy Maguire extending the gap.
It was 0-6 to 0-4 in Leitrim’s favour, the biggest lead in the match so far. However, Mark Kenny (free) quickly put paid to that with his first point in the 29th minute.
Wicklow had their third different point scorer from a free when Rory Finn found his range to draw the sides level at 0-6 to 0-6, and with three minutes of normal time remaining in the half Finn doubled his tally.
But that was answered by a stunning curling effort from O’Rourke before midfielder McCaffrey was shown a black card.
Wicklow could have doubled down on that right away but David Devereaux blasted his shot off the crossbar and Leitrim survived for a 0-7 to 0-7 scoreline at the interval.
Raymond Mulvey gave Leitrim the perfect start to the second half with a swiftly struck effort and after Jackson scored another outstanding free, Dolan and O’Rourke provided a 0-10 to 0-8 platform for Leitrim to build from.
Jackson came forward to slot his fifth point from a 45 in the 49th minute and a quickfire leveller followed from substitute Conor Healy.
O’Rourke put Leitrim back in front as he continued his personal battle with the opposition goalkeeper. Jackson hit back.
But points from O’Rourke and Dolan put Leitrim in the ascendency. Dean Healy and O’Rourke traded points but Leitrim had enough in the tank to see off John Evans' Wicklow.
Scorers for Leitrim: Ryan O’Rourke 0-7 (0-4f), Pearce Dolan 0-3, Paddy Maguire 0-1, Shane Quinn 0-1, Domhnaill Flynn 0-1, Raymond Mulvey 0-1, Niall Brady 0-1.
Scorers for Wicklow: Mark Jackson 0-7 (0-5f, 0-2 45), Rory Finn 0-2 (0-1f), Mark Kenny 0-1 (0-1f), Pádraig O’Toole 0-1, Conor Healy 0-1, Dean Healy 0-1.
LEITRIM: Cathal McCrann; Paddy Maguire, Micheal McWeeney, Aidan Flynn; Raymond Mulvey, Mark Plunkett, Conor Reynolds; Oisin McCaffrey, Shane Moran; Domhnaill Flynn, Seán McWeeney, Shane Quinn; Evan Sweeney, Pearce Dolan, Ryan O’Rourke. Substitutes: Dean McGovern for McCaffrey (35, black card), Niall Brady for Sweeney (60), Oisín Madden for Reynolds (64), Gary Plunkett for S McWeeney (65), Jack Gilheaney for Moran (69, blood), Moran for Plunkett (70), Noel Plunkett for Quinn (75).
WICKLOW: Mark Jackson; Jamie Snell, Ross O’Brien, Eoin Murtagh; David Devereaux, Shane Mooney, Dara Fitzgerald; Pádraig O’Toole, Dean Healy; Rory Finn, Darren Hayden, Theo Smith; Mark Kenny, Chris O’Brien, Patrick O’Connor. Substitutes: Conor Healy for Devereaux (44), Daniel Keane for O’Connor (61), Anthony McLoughlin for Hayden (61), Conor McGraynor for Smith (69), Cathal McGee for Finn (73).
Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry).