Connacht Minor Football Championship Quarter-final
The Roscommon minor football team booked their place in the Connacht championship semi-final with a comprehensive eighteen-point win over rivals Leitrim in Pairc Sean Mac Duirmuda, Carrick-on-Shannon on Saturday evening last.
It was as emphatic a victory as Roscommon have enjoyed at this level in recent times and sets up an eagerly awaited semi-final clash against Galway this Saturday evening in Tuam.
To put it simply – Leitrim were deplorable throughout and the game was effectively over as a contest at the interval, at which point the score stood at 2-7 to 1-0 to the visitors.
Although they were never tested throughout proceedings, this current Roscommon team look to have picked up where last years class left off and there is no reason to suggest that they are not capable or retaining their provincial crown this year.
The only downside to last weekends encounter is the fact that they were never put under any pressure whatsoever and even though the win was a refreshing one, there is no doubt that Gareth Carroll and his management team would have preferred to have been given a more competitive game with Galway waiting in the wings.
Leitrim will be very disappointed with the way the contest transpired last Saturday, bearing in mind that this minor team was touted as been one of their more promising ones in recent times.
Roscommon completely dominated throughout proceedings and with Ultan Harney and Thomas Corcoran lording the always crucial midfield area, they never afforded the opposition any type of a foothold in the game.
Some of the moves which Roscommon put together were tremendous and with the trio of Kevin Finn, Michael Gunning and Diarmuid Murtagh reaping havoc in the inside full-forward line, Roscommon never gave their opponents a moments rest.
The Leitrim defence was at six and sevens for the most part as Roscommon picked off scores with relative ease throughout and realistically, the scoreline at the final whistle didn’t flatter the Rossies at all, such was their unerring dominance.
It didn’t take Roscommon too long to stamp their authority on proceedings and after registering three wides in the opening three minutes full-forward Kevin Finn opened their account after receiving a pass from colleague Diarmuid Murtagh in the 4th minute.
A mere sixty seconds later and the visitors were celebrating their opening goal when Murtagh reacted quickest to find the back of the Leitrim net after wing-forward Enda Smith had seen his goal bound effort thwarted by Leitrim goalkeeper Brendan Flynn.
Midfielder Ultan Harney – who was orchestrating much of the play early on – then pointed from distance in the 6th minute before the home side hauled themselves back into contention momentarily through a fortuitous goal from corner-forward Nicolas Moore, whose shot evaded the attentions of Shane Mannion in the Roscommon goal.
Undeterred from this setback, Roscommon reacted in the best way possible and within a minute, had the ball in the Leitrim net once more, this time courtesy of Michael Gunning who finished with aplomb after ghosting in along the endline.
Roscommon continued to dominate all over the field and with Harney and Thomas Corcoran providing an impenetrable platform from midfield, they reeled of score after score during the final twenty minutes of the half.
Harney registered his second point in the 11th minute, Murtagh converted a 13th minute free and Smith took a great score on the run five minutes later to hand their side an eight-point cushion with seven minutes remaining in the opening period.
Murtagh and Finn tagged on further points before the break to open up a ten-point margin at which point the writing was very much on the wall for Leitrim – 2-7 to 1-0 at the interval.
Any hopes of an unlikely comeback from the home side were well and truly dispersed within two minutes of the restart when Enda Smith struck for his sides third goal, finishing soccer-style to the back of the net after his initial attempt had been foiled by the upright.
Gunning added a further point in the 33rd minute before Leitrim registered their second goal of the game – completely against the run of play – when substitute Niall Brady sent a rasping drive beyond Mannion in the Roscommon goal, after profiting from a knock down from colleague Felim McHugh.
However Roscommon maintained their ruthless streak with a string of points between the 38th and 53rd minutes of play which came in the form of Corcoran, Tadgh McKenna and Murtagh and Smith – both with a brace.
Leitrim’s only offering during this period came through midfielder Donal Wrynn who converted a 50-metre free midway through the second period – their first point of the day.
Substitute Conor Gaffney added another consolation point for the home side in the 54th minute but this was instantly cancelled out by Roscommon centre forward Ruardhri McManus who pointed seconds later.
The ice was then put firmly on the cake when Finn bagged the visitors fourth goal of the game after a flowing move involving Smith, McManus and Gunning and although Wrynn brought proceedings to a close with a pointed free for Leitrim, it was stark solace for a side who had been completely outclassed throughout.
Roscommon: S. Mannion; P. Neilan, D. Barron, C. Kenny; T. MvKenna (0-1), C. Hussey, R. Daly; U. Harney (0-2), T. Corcoran (0-1); C. Casserly, R. McManus (0-1), E. Smith (1-3); D. Murtagh (1-4, one free), K. Finn (1-2), M. Gunning (1-1). Subs: N. McInerney for Hussey (24 mins), K. Kilcline for Casserley (35 mins), S. Flynn for Neilan (35 mins), L. Kilcline for Barron (53 mins), D. Petit for Harney (59 mins).
Leitrim: B. Flynn; B. Byrne, E. Fowley, M. Clancy; J. de Lacy, C. Neville, E. Madden; D. Daly, D. Wrynn (0-2, both frees); F. McHugh, J. Rooney, C. McCauley; N. Moore (1-0), P. Gallagher, D. McKiernan. Subs: R. Broughtan for Fowley (16 mins), N. Brady (1-0) for McKiernan (half-time), C. Gaffney (0-1) for Daly (39 mins), A. McLoughlin for McCauley (41 mins).
Referee: D. Corcoran (Mayo)
The Main Man
Enda Smith (Roscommon)
Although the official man of the match ward went to Clan na nGaels Ultan Harney, who produced a majestic performance in midfield, our award goes to wing-forward Enda Smith, who reproduced the terrific form which he showed in last years championship. The Boyle star used was always in the thick ofthe action and finished the game with a very notable tally of 1-3 from play. Others who impressed include wing-backs Tadgh McKenna and Ronan Daly, centre-forward Ruardhri McManus and the full-forward line trio of Michael Gunning, Kevin Finn and Diarmuid Murtagh.
Man in the Middle
Referee David Corcoran from Mayo enjoyed a fine game officiating but his task was made easier by the good-natured temperament of both teams.
Outside the Wire
There was a very respectful crowd of approximately 1500 spectators, which included a very healthy Roscommon contingent.
The demise of Leitrim football, both at senior and minor level, was highlighted emphatically at the weekend with both teams suffering heavy losses at the hands of Roscommon and Mayo. Although migration may be a factor regarding the fortunes of the Leitrim senior team this is not the case at minor level, where they will now have to ask the question why are their teams failing to compete?
So, what’s next?
Nest up for Roscommon is a difficult assignment facing Galway in the Connacht minor football championship semi-final this Saturday evening in Tuam, where a sterner test of the teams credentials awaits.
Issue dated: 29 June 2012
© Roscommon People