Leitrim manager Terry Hyland expressed his delight amid jubilant scenes in Carrick-on-Shannon after his side sealed their promotion to Division 3 on what was an historic afternoon.
“I am delighted for the lads,” Hyland said. “They have put in a lot of work over the past few months and they got it across the line, even if it was ‘flaky’ at times today. The goal probably was the deciding factor as the game was concerned.”
That goal came from Shane Quinn in the 23rd minute and it was Leitrim’s first score of the afternoon, establishing a foothold in the game after a desperately slow start during which London had opened a two-point advantage.
In the opening half Liam Gavigan hit two London points with Conor Doran and Pierce McGirr adding one each.
After Quinn’s goal Ryan O’Rourke added two Leitrim points, while Gary Plunkett, Evan Sweeney and Domhnaill Flynn (free) chipped in with a point each. Leitrim led by 1-4 to 0-4 at the break.
“I think we created a lot of opportunities which we didn’t finish off,” Hyland said, pointing to the size of the occasion. “I think the nerves got to the lads more than anything else.”
After the restart Leitrim pushed ahead with points from Domhnaill Flynn (free) and Aidan Flynn.
Liam Gavigan opened London’s second-half account with a 57th-minute free but Gary Plunkett responded swiftly for Leitrim with a point from play.
Gavigan again split the Leitrim posts from a 62nd-minute placed ball but Ray Mulvey kept the scoreboard ticking over for Leitrim, shooting over at the other end. And the scoring action as completed when Mulvey for Leitrim and sub Fearghal McMahon for London traded points.
A somewhat downbeat London manager Ciarán Deely said: “I am disappointed not to get the win here today.
“I thought the lads performed very well. I think we worked awful hard all over the pitch, especially in our defence. We turned the ball over continuously in the first and second halves.
“The goal in the first half was a messy goal. It was a shame. I though we dominated possession and dominated it right up to that point and that was a little bit of a killer blow.
“We came over here without five or six of our starting players and we knew it was going to be difficult.”
S Quinn (1-0); G. Plunkett, R. Mulvey, R. O’Rourke (free) (0-2 each); E. Sweeney, D. Flynn (f), A. Flynn (0-1 each).
L. Gavigan (0–4, 3 frees); P. McGirr, F. McMahon, C. Doran (free) (0–1 each).
D. McKiernan; M. McWeeney, P. Maguire, A. Flynn; S. Quinn, M. Plunkett; R. Mulvey; D. McGovern, S. Moran; S. McWeeney, D. Flynn, R. O’Rourke; G. Plunkett, E. Sweeney, P. Dolan.
D. Rooney for Sweeney (HT); D. Moran for Dolan (52); E. Ward for D. Flynn (66); E. Mulligan for O’Rourke (69); C. McGloin for D. Moran (73).
D. McDonagh; M. Moynihan, C. O’Neill, P. Butler; D. Dunne, D. Carrabine, R. Jones; M. Gottsche, M. Clarke; P. McGirr, L. Gavigan; A. McGarvey; C. Doran, J. Hynes, B, Tully.
D. Rooney for Sweeney (HT), D. Moran for Dolan (52), E. Ward for D. Flynn (66); E. Mulligan for O’Rourke (69); C. McGloin for D. Moran (73).
L. Devenney (Mayo).