On Saturday evening last Roscommon Intermediate Ladies team made the long trek to Faughanvale, Derry City and the picturesque setting of St. Mary's GAA Club to take on the home county in their own backyard. When those two teams last met, in the 2009 league semi-final at Tarmonbarry, Roscommon got the upper hand on that occasion.
At the end of a tough, hard battle involving two committed teams Roscommon came away with a 6-9 to 3-4 win to make it four wins out of four in the Bord Gais Energy National Football League.
Roscommon were first off the mark after two minutes when Sinead Cooney ran at the Derry defence. Her shot dropped short and in the goalmouth scramble Natalie McHugh toe-poked the ball to the back of the Derry net. Derry centre-forward Shauna McCallion was then fouled and the resulting free was tapped over the bar. In the 9th minute Derry midfielder Kathy Conway made a menacing run through the Roscommon defence and her shot for a point was taken by Roscommon ‘keeper Bridgetta Menton but unfortunately the ball dropped and ended up in the back of the Roscommon net.
Derry were now on top in most positions in the field and in typical Ulster style fought for every ball and were winning most of the 50-50 battles. In the 13th minute of the half, Bridgetta Menton made a sublime pass from the 21-metre line to Natalie McHugh who set Jenny Higgins up for her first goal of the day.
Roscommon began to find their feet around the middle with Sinead Cooney and Natalie McHugh getting to grips with the game. Roscommon dominated and out-scored the home side in the second quarter by two goals and three points to Derry’s two points. Sharon Ryan won the ball in the middle of the field and moved the ball quickly to Natalie McHugh who drew the Derry defence and a pass into the unmarked Emer Casey was finished to the back of the Derry net.
Two minutes later Natalie McHugh won the ball on the ’45 and landed her second score of the day with a fine point. Derry scored two points in quick succession in the 18th and 19th minute. In the 21st minute Jenny Downey found Jenny Conlon and the Derry ‘keeper was beaten for the fourth time. In the 26th minute Roscommon scored a fine point through Jenny Higgins.
This was the last score of the half and with the wind to come in the second half it looked like the primrose and blue would be heading back West with a bit to spare. Derry had other ideas.From the throw-in they attacked and pulled the Roscommon defence apart and a low, hard drive from full-forward Aine McClusker skimmed over the crossbar. In the 39th minute a free for the home side from thirty metres taken by Conway dropped in over the heads of the Roscommon defence and nestled in the net. With twenty minutes to go and Derry back to five points behind and Roscommon showing some sign of panic, Natalie McHugh settled Roscommon nerves with a fine point.
In the 43rd minute a further point was added by Emer Casey and two minutes later Casey found the net after a move from the half-back line involving Michelle Walshe, Sharon Ryan and Natalie McHugh. In the 48th minute centre-forward Ursula Mullan got Derry’s second goal of the half. From the kick-out Claire Kelly won the ball on the ‘45 and a move involving her club-mate Claire Grehan set up Jenny Higgins for her second goal of the day. Two minutes later Roscommon’s Emer Casey pointed from thirteen metres after Rachel Ryan (who had replaced Jenny Higgins) was fouled. Roscommon began to press for home and after a number of further Roscommon points the game finished on a scoreline of Roscommon 6-9 Derry 3-4.
Roscommon: Bridgetta Menton; Marian Keenehan, Laura Sharkey, Claire Kelly; Michelle Walshe, Sinead Cooney, Louise Tully; Sharon Ryan, Marla Candon; Claire Grehan, Natalie McHugh (1-2), Jenny Downey (G); Jenny Higgins (2-1), Emer Casey (2-4). Subs used, Claire McDermott (for B. Menton), Suzie Keenehan (for M. Keenehan), Rachel Ryan (0-1) (for J Higgins), Sarah Brady (for C. Kelly), Michelle Kelly (for L. Tully).
Round Five: Roscommon v Westmeath on Sunday next (March 13th) at 6 pm in Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath.
Minor Trials: Trials for Roscommon minor Ladies take place in Tremane GAA pitch on Saturday 12th March at 11 am. Clubs are asked to send forward suitable players.
Lotto: There was no winner of this week’s lotto. Next week’s jackpot is €1,200.