Monday, 30 March 2015

Lethargic Roscommon in tame championship exit

All-Ireland Qualifiers Round 2

Roscommon 0-8 Tyrone 1-16

Roscommon were sent crashing out of the All-Ireland Football Championship when they were comprehensively defeated by Ulster rivals Tyrone by an eleven-point margin in round 2 of the qualifiers in Dr. Hyde Park on Saturday afternoon last.

  Although the result was expected, the manner of it is yet again quite worrying from a Roscommon perspective as Tyrone coasted to victory during a second half which unravelled badly for Des Newton’s team.

  After beating Armagh in the previous round, the Rossies were eyeing up another Ulster scalp, however their challenge capitulated dramatically during a five-minute spell either side of the interval when they conceded 1-6 without reply as they failed to build on a promising first-half performance which had them in contention on the brink of half-time.

  Despite the nature of the heavy defeat which had echos of the Galway debacle, there were aspects of their first-half performance which suggested that an upset was possible. The fact that the teams were level two minutes before the break highlighted how competitive Des Newton’s charges had been.

  However the concession of three quick-fire points on the stroke of half-time followed by a penalty two minutes after the interval put paid to any hopes the home side had of causing one of the upsets of the championship.

  Although their first-half display was far from polished it was – at least – typified by the same characteristics which were shown during their second-half revival against Armagh – heart, hunger, determination and desire.

  Their work-rate and intensity matched that of their Tyrone counterparts and their attitude and application was impressive, which had an unsettling effect on their more illustrious opposition from Ulster.

  They also succeeded in limiting a Tyrone forward-line laced with potency to a mere four points inside the opening thirty minutes of proceedings, at which point the omens looked promising from a Roscommon perspective. However the turbulent five-minute spell before and after the interval sealed their fate and put the game’s outcome beyond any considerable doubt.

  The way in which Roscommon folded during the second period is very worrying. They showed a considerable lack of character and resolve once Tyrone soared into the lead during the third quarter and they seemed to throw in the towel prematurely when the game was drifting away from them.

  There was also a serious lack of leadership shown throughout. Apart from centre-forward Cathal Cregg – who has been their most consistent performer all year – none of the more senior players stood up to be counted when the tide had turned against them. 

  After the highs and the lows which were the Armagh and Galway clashes, this game was always going to paint a clearer picture of what has been an inconsistent season. Unfortunately however, there are a lot more questions than answers from last weekend’s defeat, leaving most Roscommon followers scratching their heads at what has been an indifferent year.

  The inquest will now get underway into a season which, on review, will be deemed as having been disappointing and unsatisfactory, especially when one considers the nature of this defeat accompanied with the Galway humiliation.

  Despite the way in which the game transpired in the end, Roscommon remained competitive for the entire first half, even though it was the visitors who began the contest in a more encouraging fashion when they edged into a two-point lead inside five minutes.

  Midfielder Joe McMahon opened the scoring after two minutes and corner-forward Martin Penrose doubled their early advantage when he pointed a free three minutes later.

  Roscommon had to wait until the 12th minute to open their account through a Cathal Cregg effort after a mazy run, however Eoin Mulligan – who would subsequently give the home side’s defence a torrid afternoon – restored Tyrone’s two-point lead with a point after a neat turn in the 15th minute.

  Donie Shine and McMahon traded points in the space of sixty seconds on the twenty-minute mark before Roscommon enjoyed their most productive period of the contest, underpinned by impressive points from Shine – with a free into the teeth of the wind – and Kilbride, with a trademark effort off his left foot – which levelled matters with little under five minutes remaining in the first period.

  Sadly, this was as good as it got for the home side and after Cregg wasted a glorious opportunity to put Roscommon ahead for the first time in the tie in the 32nd minute – when he shot wide after collecting a short free from Shine – Tyrone began to turn the screw.

  Three points in as many minutes ensued through Mulligan – with a brace – and corner-forward Jonathon Lafferty, which handed the visitors the initiative at the break – 0-7 to 0-4 ahead. 

  With only three points seperating the sides at the interval it seemed as though it was all to play for as the teams emerged for the second half. However any hopes Roscommon had of hauling themselves back into contention were diminished within two minutes of the resumption when Tyrone were awarded a penalty after Niall Carty was adjudged to have fouled Mattie Donnelly inside the parallelogram. 

  Wing-forward Peter Harte assumed responsibility for taking the spot-kick and the Errigal Ciaran clubman didn’t disappoint, sending a rasping drive beyond the despairing Geoffrey Claffey in the Roscommon goal.

  That crucial goal sucked the life out of the home side’s challenge and it not only put firm daylight between the teams but also handed Tyrone the license to play with greater freedom and fluidity for the remainder of the contest.

  Mulligan added further points in the 39th and 43rd minutes as did substitute Darren McCurry a minute later when he capped a fine move involving Conor Clarke and the ever-impressive Harte.

  Cregg – who continued to carry the fight to Tyrone almost single-handedly – registered Roscommon’s first score in almost twenty minutes when he pointed after profiting from a knock-down from full-forward Senan Kilbride.

  McCurry and Ger Heneghan traded points in the 54th and 55th minutes before Penrose added another for the Ulster side in the 56th minute as an air of inevitability descended on proceedings. 

  With the result now beyond doubt, the remainder of the game was played out in an insignificant fashion. Cregg pointed on a couple of occasions during the final ten minutes for the home side while Sean O’Neill, substitute Niall McKenna and the rampant McCurry – who helped himself to two further points from play during the finale – ensured that the scoreline made for grim reading when the final whistle sounded.

Roscommon: G. Claffey; S. McDermott, N. Carty, S. Purcell; N. Collins, P. Domnican, I. Kilbride; C. Shine, K. Mannion; N. Kilroy, C. Cregg (0-4), N. Daly; S. Kilbride (0-1), C. Compton, D. Shine (0-2, one free). Subs: G. Heneghan (0-1, one free) for Kilroy (half-time), M. Finneran for Compton (50 mins), D. Ward for Collins (50 mins), D. McDermott for Daly (61 mins), D. Smith for Mannion (68 mins).

Tyrone: P. McConnell; A. McCrory, C. Clarke, D. Carlin; C. McCarron, C. Gormley, S. O’Neill (0-1); J. McMahon (0-2, one free), C. Cavanagh; Mattie Donnelly, Mark Donnelly, P. Harte (1-0, a penalty); M. Penrose (0-2), J. Lafferty (0-1), O. Mulligan (0-5, two frees). Subs: R. McMenamin for McCarron (39 mins), D. McCurry (0-4) for Lafferty (39 mins), B. McGuigan for Mark Donnelly (55 mins), A. Cassidy for Cavanagh (59 mins), N. McKenna (0-1) for Penrose (61 mins).

Referee: R. Hickey (Clare). 

 Issue dated: 20 JULY 2012
© Roscommon People