Four Roads 1-12 Athleague 1-6
There was a lot at stake at Athleague on Saturday last between these two great local rivals. Athleague were seeking to go on to complete their three-in-row of county titles, while Four Roads were looking to get back to the county final for the first time in three years. Something had to give and it was Four Roads who showed the greater resolve and hunger to progress to the county final against their south Roscommon opponents Padraig Pearses.
The first half was particularly disappointing with both defences on top with a lot of scrappy and intense hurling. We had to wait eight minutes for the first score, a pointed free by Ray Mulry for Four Roads. This was followed quickly by a fine point from play by Michael Kelly from inside his own 65 and another free by Mulry to put his side 0-3 to 0-0 ahead. Mervyn Connaughton opened Athleague’s account with a pointed free in the twelfth minute.
A point from a free by Shane Curley and another from play by Michael Kelly put Four Roads 0-5 to 0-1 ahead, half-way through the first period. A point from a 65 by Mervyn Connaughton kept the county champions in touch but this was matched by a fine point by Brendan Kelly. Then almost on the stroke of half-time came the game’s first goal, which brought Athleague back into it. Full-forward Joe Fallon crept in behind the full-back to receive a long delivery from Gary Fallon to score a somewhat easy goal. This sent the current champions in only a point adrift (0-6 to 1-2) at the break.
The second half was a much more entertaining and competitive affair. The pendulum seemed to be swinging towards Athleague when two frees from their star player Mervyn Connaughton put them ahead for the first time, by a point. The crucial score however came in the 12th minute when Four Roads centre-forward Ronnie Kennedy showed tremendous skill to control a through ball and finish to the net from a narrow angle. This was the platform on which his side built his victory.
Two fine points from play by Ray Mulry and Brendan Kelly stretched their lead to four points. They lost their full-back, Paul Connolly, to a straight red card as the game entered the last quarter but even that didn’t upset their march to victory. Mervyn Connaughton and Ray Mulry exchanged pointed frees before Connaughton finished the Athleague scoring with a free five minutes from time. Four Roads substitute David Dolan fired over two fine points while Ray Mulry completed their tally with a pointed free. Towards the end Padraig Mulry made a couple of fine saves to prevent an Athleague resurgence.
Four Roads: P. Mulry, S. Curly (0-1), P. Connelly, M. McLoughlin, N. Cunniffe, M. Kelly (0-2), P. Kelly, L. Gately, T. Lennon, B. Kelly (0-2), R. Kennedy (1-0), D. Lohan, J. Moran, R. Mulry (0-5), A. Lawlor. Subs: J. Coyne/ A. Lawlor; D. Dolan (0-2)/ D. Lohan.
Athleague: D. Connell, D. Delaney, C. Moran, P. Glennon, J. Connolly, D. McGeeney, A. Cunniffe, M. Connaughton (0-6), A. Moore, T. Reddington, N. Fallon, G. Fallon, S. McGeeney, J. Fallon (1-0), C. Kelly. Subs: K. McGeeney/N. Connolly; I. Connaughton/A. Moore; D. Flaherty/C. Kelly; K. Boyle/ J. Fallon.
Referee: B. McDermott.
Roscommon SHC semi-final
Padraig Pearses 3-19 Tremane 0-9
As expected Padraig Pearses powered their way to their third consecutive county final, when they completely overwhelmed a disappointing Tremane side at Athleague on Saturday last. Tremane did manage to hold their own in the first half but they had no answer to the power and conviction of a very impressive south Roscommon outfit in the second.
The first quarter was pedestrian and dull, with no hint of the flood of scores to come. After sixteen minutes Pearses led by 1-1 to 0-3. Michael Donoghue scored the Pearses point with the goal coming from Shane Sweeney. The three Tremane points were from Michael Kearney frees. In fact, it was a sign of weakness in Tremane that they had to wait until injury-time in the game before they scored a point from play.
Further Pearses points followed from Shane Sweeney (2) and Leo Flynn before Adrian Coyne pointed Tremane’s fourth free. Man of the Match Dara Mulvey got the first of his 1-9 total with two points (1 free), which was answered by another Michael Kearney free. A point by Ollie Dolan and a Dara Mulvey free completed Pearses’ scoring to leave them ahead by 1-8 to 0-5 at the break.
Tremane were still in the game but had no reply to the hurricane they were to face in the second half. Pearses set their stall out early, as they rattled over five points from Thomas Seale, Dara Mulvey (3 frees) and Michael Donoghue to open up an eleven point lead. Michael Kearney pulled a point back from a free but Pearses were soon on their scoring spree again.
Dara Mulvey crashed in a fine goal from a Seale pass. Michael Kearney pointed a 65 but his side was now 2-13 to 0-7 behind with only 10 minutes gone in the half. The result was a foregone conclusion now and it was only a matter of going through the motions. Dara Mulvey (2) and Ollie sent over further points before Tremane’s Marty Healy pointed a long range free. A Michael Donoghue point and a Mulvey free added to the Tremane agony with Thomas Seale really rubbing salt in their wounds with Pearses third goal. Conor Melia scored Tremane’s only point from play as the game slipped into injury-time and Christy Sweeney completed the Pearses tally with a point from play.
Padraig Pearses: P. Dolan, D. Loughnane, R. Donoghue, C. Kelly, J. Mulvey, A. Sweene, K. Glynn, M. Mulvey, L. Flynn (0-1), M. Donoghue (0-3), O. Dolan (0-2), S. Sweeney (1-2), P. Galvin, D. Mulvey (1-9), A. Sweeney. Subs: C. Sweeney (0-1)/ D. Healy; T. Seale (1-1)/ P. Galvin; A. Naughton/ M. Mulvey; D. Dolan/ D. Mulvey.
Tremane: B. McGarry, J. Blighe, B. Haughey, M. Lynch, D. Healy, M. Healy (0-1), M. Somers, S. Melia, M. Kearney (0-6), A. Purcell, J. Kellehan, P. Lynch, N. Kilroy, A. Coyne (0-1), P. Kellehan.
Subs: F. Carr/ D. Healy; M. Blighe/ J. Kellehan; B. Keenan/ M. Somers; C. Melia (0-1)/ A. Purcell; J. Haughey/ P. Lynch.
Referee: M. Mannion.