By Declan Rooney
Leitrim 0-12 Waterford 0-8
There wasn’t quite the same fanfare that greeted Leitrim’s first qualifier win against Wicklow back in 2012, but Shane Ward’s side were far more convincing today as they picked up their second backdoor victory in Carrick-on-Shannon.
A 13-point defeat to Roscommon saw their Connacht championship campaign grind to a halt in May, but the home side were far better than their visitors, who finished with a flourish, but only when Leitrim realised they had the win secured.
Waterford are still without a championship win since 2011 and Tom McGlinchy’s side will regret 13 wides – although two of them looked like they could have been awarded by the ponderous umpires – while Patrick Hurney also missed a 13 metre free from in font of the posts in the first half.
It could have been a lot closer.
McGlinchey didn’t want to be drawn on his future after two years as Waterford manager, but he hinted that it might be time for a change after a couple of seasons with little progress.
“We're still in Division 4 and we still haven't won a championship game so there's no progression really. It'll take time,” said McGlinchy.
“When you're playing football in a hurling county, it's hard because the lure of hurling always wins out. Even next year, whoever's there next year and whoever's playing next year, you just don't know are fellas going to progress on to hurling or whatever they're going to do. There's potential there.”
This game was really won by Leitrim’s Ronan Kennedy either side of half-time. The Mohill forward brought his first-half tally to four point with two sweet points in the dying embers of the first-half, and put his team seven points clear with another two straight after the restart.
Even when Liam Lawlor and sub Mark Ferncombe combined for the last four scores of the game there was no way back for Waterford.
“It's a good day out. Despite the conditions, I thought we worth it today. I thought there was bit of response from the boys and they played well for large parts of the game,” said Leitrim manager Shane Ward.
“We spoke about it before, playing well for 15 and then lying low for 15 but I thought we worth it today and we were really good for large parts of the game which makes me somewhat happy.”
Leitrim: B Flynn; K McHugh, R Gallagher, P Maguire; S McWeeney, G Reynolds (c), J Rooney; P McGowan, S Moran; T Mulvey, E Mulligan (0-3, 2f), C Gilheaney (0-1); R Kennedy (0-7, 2f, 1’45), D Wrynn (0-1), A Croal.
Subs: B Prior for Rooney (h-t), N O’Donnell for Mulvey (68), C Gaffney for Croal (68), R O’Rourke for Gilheaney (71).
Waterford: S Enright; M O’Gorman, T O’Gorman, T Ó hUallacháin; S Prendergast, J McGrath, B Looby; R Ó Ceallaigh, T Prendergast (c); G Crotty (0-1), P Hurney (0-1, 1f), M O’Halloran; J Veale, L Lawlor (0-2), L Ó Corraoin.
Subs: C Murray for O Ceallaigh (h-t), F O Cuirrin for Hurney (h-t), S Corcoran (0-01) for O Corraoin (h-t), M Ferncombe (0-3, 3f) for Veale (43 BC), M Curry for O’Halloran (51), J O’Mahony for Looby (68-70 temp).
Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan).