All-Ireland U-21 B Hurling Semi-Final
Kerry 0-13 Roscommon 0-12
The Roscommon U-21 hurlers suffered All-Ireland semi-final heartache with they were defeated by a one-point margin be defending champions Kerry in Toomevara last Saturday evening.
In what was a competitive affair throughout, Kerry held their nerve in the final few minutes as Roscommon failed to throw in the towel but in the end, the men from the Kingdom held on – but only just.
It was certainly a spirited display from Roscommon, whose character shone brightly throughout. However they were always chasing the game and even though they had chances to draw level late on, Kerry were marginally the better outfit.
The opening period was a competitive affair and the sides shared the first four scores of the contest with Kerry’s Sean Weir finding the range on a couple of occasions and Johnny Coyne, with a brace, responding for Roscommon.
Shane Nolan added two points for Kerry by the 14th minute and although Coyne replied for his side, the Kingdom soon took control of proceedings with two more scores from the impressive Nolan.
However even though the Munster men were dominant at this point, some wayward shooting meant Roscommon stayed in contention and Coyne was on hand to reduce to deficit on the stroke of half-time – 0-6 to 0-4.
As with the first period, the first four scores on the new half were shared between both teams as Coyne and Nolan registered four frees for the sides between them. Crucially however, Kerry opened up a four-point advantage with two points from Colm Harty and Stephen Leen to hand their side some breathing space.
Roscommon came again though and reduced their deficit by the three-quarter mark with Eamon Kenny and Coyne, with two efforts, finding the target to leave the game delicately poised with fifteen to play.
Kerry responded in impressive fashion with two points from the impressive Nolan and Pa Joe Connolly before Coyne, once more, pared the gap back to a single point after finding the range with two efforts by the 54th minute.
Another point from Kerry’s Connolly restored their two-point advantage as the finale beckoned before Eamon Mulry’s effort for a goal on the stroke of full-time sailed over and proved nothing more than a consolation score for a Roscommon team who had given their all.
Roscommon: C. Fitzgibbon; K. Dowd, P. Kelleghan, D. Leonard; D. Dowling, B. Donnelly, N. Keenan; A. Moore, G. Gill; E. Mulry (0-1), J. Coyne (0-10, six frees), E. Bannon; J. Lawlor, N. Connaughton, E. Kenny (0-1). Subs: C. Kelly for Connaughton (30 mins), C. Egan for Gill (39 mins).
Kerry: M. Stackpole; J. O’Connor, B. Murphy, J. Bowler; P. O’Keefe, A. Fealy, J. Leahy; PJ. Keane, B. Brosnan; S. Weir (0-1), R. Kenny, C. Harty (0-1); PJ. Connolly (0-2),S. Nolan (0-8, seven frees), B. Leen. Subs: S. Leen (0-1) for B. Leen (26 mins), S. Dowling for Kenny (51 mins).
Referee: M. O’Connor.