O’Connor to the rescue as Roscommon scrape through

Roscommon 2-9

Leitrim should have won it but they didn't, and Roscommon are the ones now looking forward to the next assignment.

And manager Tommy Carr is in credit now. The loss to Galway has been negated by wins over Cork and Leitrim, and respectability is just around the next corner.

On Saturday night, they played poorly, but they remained true to their task, even if their methodology was suspect. They hung in there even when the wides became ever more lamentable.

Two years ago, they won a Connacht title by beating Mayo with a late goal: last year, they wouldn't have had the nerve for such a win.

"The players are top-class, I have to say", said Carr, when asked about the response he has got from a much-maligned squad. "They have really knuckled down individually and collectively. They have worked on their discipline on and off the pitch.

"I compliment them on that after coming off the year they had last year. I mean, they weren't particularly proud of last year either."

If O'Connor's scrambled goal was the act which rescued Roscommon, the introduction of Nigel Dineen after 55 minutes was the move which kept them afloat.

Dineen has been carrying a bad leg injury for the last month, and, according to Carr, has only 15 minutes of football in him at the moment. He gave 15 good minutes on Saturday, scoring one point and making the play for O'Connor's goal.

"I am back in light training at the moment. I do a little bit every day. I was told to basically play my own game when I came in, and that was to get tough in there, and try to win as many balls as possible," said Dineen.

And so the championship train rumbles on inexorably, not stopping once to consider those who have fallen beneath its wheels.

Yet, we will recall that the Leitrim management of Declan Rowley, Pat Donoghue, and Declan Bohan have started a small revolution in Leitrim. "A lot of these people who sit in tv studios and look at five minutes of a clip, and write off Leitrim football, should come down here and form an educated opinion", said Rowley afterwards.

The fire they showed against Roscommon, and previously Galway, suggests that Leitrim might soon be winning more than a passing, pejorative mention on the airwaves.

ROSCOMMON: S Curran; R Cox, D Casey, J Whyte; M Beirne, F Grehan, P Noone; S O'Neill, S Lohan; G Cox, G Lohan, D Connellan 0-2; J Dunning 0-1, K Mannion 1-1, F Dolan 0-3 (2f.)

Subs: E Towey for M Beirne, 41; N Dineen 0-1 for G Lohan 0-1, 55; D O'Connor 1-0 for G Cox, 67; T Kelleher for J Phelan, 70.

LEITRIM: G Phelan; M McGuinness, J McKeon, D Reynolds; N Gilbane, J Phelan, S Foley 0-1; C Carroll 0-1, S Canning 0-1; D Maxwell, S Quinn, C Regan; D Brennan 1-1, F McBrien 0-1, P McLoughlin 0-6 (3f.)

Subs: M Duignan for F McBrien, 63; M Green for N Gilbane, 69;

T Kelleher for J Phelan, 70; E Lyons, 70, for D Brennan.

Referee: B Gorman, Armagh.

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