Roscommon 1-9 Leitrim 0-5
Roscommon, the masters of brinkmanship, left nothing to chance at Hyde Park tonight.
Two draws, taken to extra-time three times in their last five championship games, they finally put some daylight between themselves and lively Leitrim.
But not before Declan Rowley's side had given them quite a scare.
Ros needed a John Hanley goal 10 minutes into the second half to get their challenge up and running, and thereafter their neighbours were found wanting.
Roscommon had just a point to show for their early dominance, a Frankie Dolan free, and when Jimmy Guckian equalised in the 10th minute, Leitrim began to show a measure of self-belief.
They produced the best move of a mediocre half, started deep by Niall Gilbane, taken on by Guckian and Donal Brennan, and finished accurately by Fintan McBrien.
Sadly, their finishing failed to measure up to that impressive flash of excellence, and Ros weren't a lot better, taking wrong options and hitting a string of bad wides.
They did create a golden goal chance when, for once, Karol Mannion managed to break away from Seamus Quinn. His low shot beat Gareth Phelan, but Colin Regan was perfectly placed to clear off the line, with Dolan stroking over the resultant '45'.
The brightest moments of a dull half were provided by colourful Roscommon 'keeper Shane Curran, whose flamboyant solo dashes from goal virtually every time he had ball in hand caused amusement and panic in equal measure.
Sub Jonathan Dunning opened up a two points gap just before the break, but Leitrim, for all their deficiencies, were just a point adrift, 0-4 to 0-3, at the turn, after Michael Foley had hit the target.
Midfielder Chris Carroll drove Leitrim forward with some fine fetches in the early stages of the second half, but in the 11th minute, John Hanley struck for a goal, lifting the roof of the net from Francie Grehan's pass, after Stehen Lohan, for once, had used his power to charge through from midfield.
The goal, coupled with a sudden downpour, sparked Roscommon into action, and when Hanley, Tiernan and Cox allswept over points in the space of two minutes, they led by 1-8 to 0-5 with 12 to play.
Leitrim's cause was dealt a further blow when defender John McKeon received a straight red card for striking Cox.
And their misery was compounded when Curran saved a Folen penalty in injury-time.