Deise’s NFL campaign ends in another defeat

Liam Lawlor left with nowhere to go against Leitrim.

Liam Lawlor left with nowhere to go against Leitrim.

National Football League Division Four

Leitrim 0-15
Waterford 0-10

A dominant first half performance at Páirc Sean MacDiarmada last Saturday was enough to secure a third successive win for Leitrim, leaving Waterford with just one win in the entire campaign.

To give an example of Leitrim’s first half dominance, the game was almost 32 minutes old before Waterford registered their first point from play, not something many Deise fans could have foreseen in the wake of their historic McGrath Cup win.

The second half wasn’t quite as straight forward but despite the pressure they exerted Waterford’s best chance of scoring always appeared to be from dead balls with JJ Hutchinson giving a masterclass in free taking.

The game began with Leitrim signalling their intent straight from the throw-in which Paddy McGowan won with ease and the same player scored the first point of the afternoon in the fourth minute after a well-timed pass from James McGrail.

With Waterford struggling to assert themselves on the game Leitrim extended their lead with two Ronan Kennedy points, the second after a wonderful pass from Sean McWeeney.

The margin was increased to four in the 12th minute but only for the heroics of Waterford goalkeeper Stephen Enright that would have been greater as he did brilliantly to deflect a James McGrail shot over his bar.

A Kevin Conlan free and an excellent Shane Moran point saw Leitrim march further clear and memories of the start Leitrim made against Wicklow, when they raced into a nine point lead only to be narrowly defeated came racing back.

However, on this occasion there was rarely any cause for fear as even when Waterford did improve in the second half they rarely looked like scoring enough to complete an unlikely comeback.

The visitors opened their account in the 17th minute when JJ Hutchinson converted a free but they were unable to build any momentum as Leitrim continued to press very high up the pitch and they replied with points from Gary Reynolds and a Kevin Conlan free.

Another Hutchinson free kept Waterford’s interest in the tie alive, but only just as Leitrim then registered three further points from Conlan and captain Sean McWeeney, who led by example with a brilliantly executed score.

Leitrim did have one moment of concern when Lorcan O Corraoin got on the end of a Patrick Hurney delivery but Cathal McCrann was on hand to ensure his goal remained intact.

O Corraoin registered Waterford’s first score from play with two minutes of the half remaining but it was Waterford who completed the first half scoring when Conlan pointed after a pass from fellow Dromahair man Paddy McGowan meaning the home side led 0-12 to 0-3 at the interval.

Waterford introduced the imposing figure of Tommy Prendergast for the second half and he played a significant role in Waterford’s revival as he brought some much needed physicality and composure to the Waterford midfield.

Two JJ Hutchinson frees, either side of a fine Mark Ferncombe point which came about after good play involving Hutchinson and Patrick Hurney gave the slightest hint that the game may not be quite over.

Leitrim on the other hand were still creating chances but the decision making and execution wasn’t as clinical as it had been in the opening half and they saw four efforts fly harmlessly wide before Shane Moran opened Leitrim’s second half account, nine minutes after the restart.

Conlan and Hutchinson then exchanged converted frees but there was very much an end of campaign feel about the closing quarter of the game.

Hutchinson added another pointed free to his side’s tally before Leitrim ended a 10-minute wait for a score thanks to a perfectly struck point from corner back Niall Woods.

That would prove to be Leitrim’s final score of the game but Waterford and in particular JJ Hutchinson were not yet finished and he scored two late frees but this did little more than add a touch of respectability to the score line.
“We lost in the first half,” said a disappointed Deise boss Tom McGlinchey.

“We were down 0-10 to 0-3 at half-time, playing poorly; we had nine wides in the first half and a lot of them scoreable. We won the second half comfortably but the first half was very disappointing.”

McGlinchey added: “Leitrim wanted it more in the first half while we were as dead as doornails. Because we knew we were out of the League we put in a very hard week; we had the bus journey but we can make all the excuses we like – we weren’t good enough in the first half and it showed while Leitrim picked off their scores with ease.”

Assessing the League campaign, Tom McGlinchey conceded: “It’s been very disappointing. One win and one draw just isn’t good enough. We know we’ve a lot of work to do between now and the Championship (Tipperary on May 31st).

“We have to try and build on the McGrath Cup victory; we know we’re not as bad as the scoreline showed today. We lost three of our games by two points, three games when there was only a kick of a ball between the sides, but obviously it was disappointing to end that way today…we know we’ve work to do but we’re confident we can put on a good show.”

Leitrim: Cathal McCrann, Matthew Murphy, Ronan Gallagher (0-1), Niall Woods, Sean McWeeney (0-1), Gary Reynolds (0-1), Thomas Mulvey, Paddy McGowan (0-1), Shane Moran (0-2), Danny Beck, Fergal Clancy, Kevin Conlan, Ronan Kennedy, James McGrail (0-1), Alan McLoughlin.

Substitutes: Ciaran Gilheaney for Alan McLoughlin (49 mins), Donal Wrynn for James McGrail (57), Shane Quinn for Kevin Conlan (65), Gary Plunkett for Ronan Kennedy (69) and Dylan Keane for Gallagher (69).

Scorers: Kevin Conlan (0-5; 0-4 f), Shane Moran and Alan McLoughlin (0-2 each), Sean McWeeney, Paddy McGowan, James McGrail, Ronan Kennedy, Gary Reynolds and Niall Woods (0-1 each).

Waterford: Stephen Enright; Dean Crowley, Maurice O’Gorman, Tadhg Ó hUallacháin; Ray Ó Ceallaigh, Stephen Prendergast, Oran Keevers; Shane Briggs, Thomas O’Gorman; Michael O’Halloran, Mark Ferncombe; Patrick Hurney; Liam Lawlor, JJ Hutchinson, Lorcán Ó Corraoin.

Substitutes: Tommy Prendergast for Thomas O’Gorman (HT), Conor Phelan for Oran Keevers (49), David Grey for Briggs (57), Joey Veale for Ó Corraoin (61), Niall Walsh for Michael O’Halloran (64)

Scorers: JJ Hutchinson (0-8; 0-7f), Lorcán O Corraoin and Mark Ferncombe (0-1 each).

Referee: N Cullen (Fermanagh).

Philip Rooney

For full story see The Munster Express newspaper or
subscribe to our Electronic edition.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Comment