Shannonside FM SFC (Group C)
Roscommon Gaels 0-11 Western Gaels 0-10
A late rally by Western Gaels wasn’t enough to catch Roscommon Gaels who were the deserved and surprise winners of this competitive encounter at Dr. Hyde Park last Sunday. Roscommon Gaels are now through to the quarter-finals where they will play Elphin, while Western Gaels will have to go through the play-off route to try to get into the quarter-finals.
The first half was a very lacklustre affair in which Roscommon Gaels were the better side. Paul Allen was outstanding up front and he created havoc in the Western Gaels defence with his intelligent running and clever play.
Ronan Gleeson opened the scoring with a point on the run after four minutes but Derek Moran replied in the 11th minute with a well-taken point from 35 metres. Moran nudged the Frenchpark men into the lead with a close-range free in the 14th minute but it was the only time in the game when Western Gaels led.
In the 15th minute Ronan Gleeson was on target again with another well-taken point and the home side went on to dominate the next ten minutes of play. Dara O’Gara fired over a close-range point in the 18th minute and then Paul Allen scored two excellent frees after he himself was fouled, to leave Roscommon Gaels ahead by 0-5 to 0-2 by the 24th minute.
Then, in the period leading up to half-time, Western Gaels enjoyed their best spell of the game. Finbarr Cregg, Derek Moran (free) and Tommy Gill all scored to leave the sides level at half-time, 0-5 each.
The second half was a much better contest. The sides shared four points in the first eight minutes through Paul Allen (free) and Niall Moran for Roscommon Gaels with Tommy Gill and Derek Moran (free) replying for Western Gaels to leave it 0-7 apiece.
Then Roscommon Gaels brought on David O’Gara and the returning county man made a big difference to their challenge. With Paul Allen playing well in attack and Western Gaels without the injured Seanie McDermott the home side took over for the next 20 minutes. Allen kicked a super point from 25 metres and points from Kevin O’Gara, Allen again (free) and David O’Gara saw the home side go into a 0-11 to 0-7 lead by the 25th minute.
In fairness to Western Gaels they fought back. Finbarr Cregg and James McDonnell with points in the 26th and 27th minutes narrowed the gap to two. Then with a minute to go Kevin Higgins’ pile-driver for a goal was well saved by Rory O’Connor and although Cathal Cregg’s score in the 31st minute narrowed the gap to a single point, Roscommon Gaels had done enough and held on for a deserved victory.
Michael Ryan’s Roscommon Gaels are an improving side and will be a test for Elphin when the quarter-final comes around in August. Western Gaels were disappointing on the day and without Seanie McDermott they looked suspect in defence and will now have to negotiate their way through the play-offs if they are to get to the quarter-finals.
Roscommon Gaels: Rory O’Connor; Kevin Kilcline, Liam McNeela, Padraig Feeney; Ronan Gleeson (0-2), John Nolan, Kenny Doolin; James McDermott, Niall Moran (0-1); Paul Gleeson, Brian McNeela, James O’Gara; Paul Allen (0-5), Dara O’Gara (0-1), Kevin O’Gara (0-1). Subs: David O’Gara (0-1) for McDermott, Mike Costello for Kilcline, Cillian Egan for B McNeela.
Western Gaels: Eamonn McGinley; Sean Mahon, Michael Higgins, Ciaran Cafferky; Dermot McGarry, Donal Ward, Brian Cafferky; Kevin Higgins, Adrian Dockery; Tommy Gill (0-2), Derek Moran (0-4), James McDonnell (0-1); Finbarr Cregg (0-2), Cathal Cregg (0-1), Adrian Freyne. Subs: Eamonn Ryan for Mahon, Chris Collins for Moran.
Referee: Ollie Kelly.
Man of the Match: Paul Allen (Roscommon Gaels)
For a disappointing Western Gaels side, Ciaran Cafferky, Donal Ward, Tommy Gill and Cathal Cregg were most prominent. For an improving home side Ronan Gleeson, Liam McNeela, Paul Gleeson and David O’Gara were all very good on the day but corner-forward Paul Allen was the star of the show. He showed well for the ball and gave a number of markers several problems throughout the game.