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Rossies should seal promotion this Sunday



Allianz National Football League Division 2 (Round 7)

Roscommon v Cork at Dr Hyde Park on Sunday at 3 pm

After last Sunday’s battling win against Cavan, Roscommon now know that victory against Cork this Sunday in Hyde Park will see them promoted back to Division One for 2019. On the basis of the progression that we have seen over the past few weeks, Roscommon will be expecting to win this match against a Cork side who have under-performed throughout this campaign.

  Roscommon are improving with each performance and the character and will to win shown by the team when they were in a tight corner against Cavan last Sunday was very pleasing. Equally as positive was the impact that the bench had on the game. To have the likes of Conor Daly, Cathal Cregg, Enda Smith, Fintan Cregg, Seanie McDermott and Ultan Harney to bring on shows the strength of the squad and that’s what will be needed for the forthcoming championship and (hopefully) for Division One come the spring of 2019.

  Roscommon were put to the pin of their collars to win against Cavan so no one should be getting carried away but these tough games are just what the squad needs with the championship around the corner.

  For a county with 259 GAA clubs, it is astonishing that Cork football is at such a low ebb. They have won an incredible 10 Munster U-21 titles since 2004. If they were only to get one good player from each of those teams they should be able to compete at the very top, but they are struggling for some reason.   They have changed their manager this year and Ronan McCarthy is now at the helm, but there doesn’t seem to have been much of an improvement in their fortunes.

  Last Saturday night at Pairc Uí Rinn, they were beaten by Clare by two points and they are still not 100% certain of avoiding relegation to Division 3. It is not clear whether their Nemo Rangers contingent will be back for the Roscommon game but even if they are, one wonders how they will feel after being thrashed by Corofin in the club final on St. Patrick’s Day.

  Mark Collins, John O’Rourke, the multi-talented Colm O’Neill and Ian Maguire look good players and if Luke Connolly, Paul Kerrigan and Brian O’Driscoll are back from club duty then Cork could pose a danger. But on the evidence of what we have seen in this league campaign so far there is something seriously wrong with football in the Rebel County.

  It has been a topsy-turvy campaign for Kevin McStay’s men as they made an uncertain start in their opening two games. The last three games have seen a marked improvement, however, and if that can be maintained on Sunday then the two points that would make promotion an absolute certainty will be secured.

  However, Cork are a sleeping giant and one of these days they are going to get their act together. Hopefully that won’t happen this Sunday but Roscommon will have to be ready for a battle.

Prediction: Roscommon


Dogged Roscommon solve cold case – it’s Rebels next!




We’d missed the first half, but were determined to see the second half up close and personal. It was eerily quiet as we approached Roscommon’s own theatre of dreams. My son and I, flag in (his) hand, in good spirits on a memorable Grand Slam winning weekend.

  A beautiful day mischeviously made imperfect by piercing cold wind. Everything quiet and peaceful. Few enough cars, suggesting a smaller than expected crowd. A woman walked her dog past St. Coman’s Cemetery, away from whatever was unfolding at the Hyde.

  The first person we met on entering the stadium was well entitled to have his opinion respected…his late father captained Roscommon to All-Ireland glory in 1943 and ’44. I chatted with John Murray for a couple of minutes. His report was succinct; after starting badly, Roscommon had finished the first half very well, and were now three up. “Ah they should win by a couple of points” John concluded, and we quickly banked his optimism.

  We settled in the old stand on the Athlone Road side, merging into the web of fans. Familiar faces here and there, and young people availing of the opportunity to meet up and stare into their smartphones. Behind us, a couple of passionate Cavan fans provided an expletive-dotted but fair commentary. I met the great Roscommon supporter, Noel Coyle, who informed me that Roscommon had scored eight points in a row after trailing 0-5 to 0-1. Roscommon led 0-9 to 0-6 at half-time.

  Cavan started the second half sharply, with purpose. It looked ominous for Roscommon. Cavan were finding scores that bit easier to get, with Gearoid McKiernan merciless.

  Conditions must have been very tough for the players. Roscommon were working their socks off, but most of their second-half attacks were just falling short of achieving scores. Three Roscommon efforts rebounded off uprights, to communal groans. To be fair, Cavan had a couple of goal chances that, had they been taken, might have maintained Roscommon’s then mediocre home record in this season’s league. But Roscommon hung in, and in the final minutes, Kevin McStay’s team – reinvigorated off the bench – began to take control.

  The Cavan men behind us continued to cast  blunt judgement, falling just short of making a Specsavers appointment on the spot for a  linesman! By the final whistle, Roscommon, showing great character and hunger in bitterly cold conditions, had turned possible defeat into a very welcome victory.

  We’re fans, and we assume a right to criticise, the verdict often harsh and unfair. But let’s give credit to these players. As I watched Roscommon rescue this game on Sunday, I was so impressed by their commitment. These guys dug deep, their mindset not indifferent to that of our rugby heroes in Twickenham. Against very decent, in-form opposition, Roscommon dug into their reserves, withstood the ferocious cold and quarried out a good win.

  At the final whistle, Noel Coyle and I agreed that it was a damn good result. It wasn’t that small a crowd after all; the aisles in the Stand were congested for a few minutes. The reviews varied. A Cavan man beside me said ‘The Dublin subs would bate the pick of them’, but you’ll hear that sort of rash stuff from fans. It turns out that Galway were in the process of drawing with Dublin. And the general consensus was that this was a very good game, and a great two points for Roscommon. Cavan fans were certainly a bit taken aback by the defeat, pockets of supporters holding postmortems here and there.

  The Rossies were happy. John Murray had been right. We won by two points. My son (7) asked what the win meant. Would we be going to Croke Park next? The wide-eyed wonder experienced through trips to Croker in 2017 has created an enduring impact. In fact it’s Cork in the Hyde next week, another day of great league ordinariness.

  Each passing week I find myself growing fonder of the league. The Championship may be the big beast…exciting, headline-grabbing, usually season-defining. But the league is a thing of beauty, of honesty. The league is raw, revealing.

  This was a great St. Patrick’s Weekend. We won a Rugby Grand Slam in style. Leo, planning permission codology aside, had some important game time in The White House. The world turned green, and that’s no small thing. At the Hyde, the rhythm of life continued. A woman walked her dog, both perhaps oblivious to the Roscommon/Cavan match. Inside the theatre of dreams, we gathered to inhale the greatness of the GAA, to breathe in that great ordinariness of the league. Ciaráin Murtagh. A Seanie Johnston cameo. Passionate Cavan and Roscommon fans. Parents and their kids. Old men with furrowed brows and ready sighs. Utterly honest endeavour on the pitch. All eyes on the ebb and flow of the game, the thrills and spills. Pride and points at stake, the game at the mercy of the smallest margins, a turnover here, a shaved upright there. Grand entertainment in the Hyde on St. Patrick’s Weekend. The most Irish of things on the ultimate Irish weekend. Something to be very proud of. And a good Roscommon result. Even the dog in the street probably knew that.

Rossies move one step closer!




Allianz NFL Division 2 (Round 6): Roscommon 0-15 Cavan 0-13

Almost there! A late surge from Roscommon led by Ciaráin Murtagh saw Kevin McStay’s men whisk away the two vital league points on offer at a freezing Dr Hyde Park on Sunday and now it will take a most unlikely set of circumstances to deny them a quick return to the top division. As it stands, a win against Cork in the final game will see Roscommon promoted or even if there is a winner in the game between Tipperary and Cavan, Roscommon will also go up.

  But back to last Sunday, and given the Siberian type weather, it was a thrilling game and all credit to the players on both sides for that. I would wager that Kevin McStay and his selectors learned more about their team in this encounter than in any of the other games this season. The resolve and character of the squad was tested to the limit by a determined and skilful Cavan outfit that arrived hell-bent on breaking the hoodoo that Roscommon have held over them in recent years. But once again they left empty-handed and they must now wonder if they will ever beat Roscommon in a competitive match.

  There were a number of very satisfying aspects to this win from a Roscommon point of view. They recovered from a disastrous start to put themselves in a good position at half-time but they had to dig in and fight so hard in that second half. The subs that were introduced all made a big contribution. When you have men like Conor Daly, Enda Smith, Cathal Cregg and Ultan Harney in reserve, it is a sign of a very strong squad. That will please the manager and his selectors as much as anything.

  But there was great leadership shown on the field from the starters too. Ciaráin Murtagh was sensational and this was his best game in a Roscommon jersey in many a long day. His final three points under pressure won the game for the home side. Peter Domican was outstanding at full-back and is proving a huge asset to the side since his return. Brian Stack grew into the game and was excellent in the last 20 minutes in particular in his unfamiliar role at centre half-back.

  Conor Devaney worked hard again after an ‘iffy’ start and Donie Smith always looked dangerous in attack. Cathal Cregg and Enda Smith added much needed punch to the forward division when they came on and both men got on the scoresheet. But it was the resolve and will to win that was most pleasing to behold last Sunday. The argument that Roscommon might have been better off to stay in Division Two for another year is now redundant. The Rossies will be supping at the top table in 2019, it’s as simple as that.

  One incident summed up the work ethos of the team in this game. In the 53rd minute, Enda Smith gave the ball away needlessly. Dara McVeety was through and a Cavan goal looked certain, but Smith was back to make a brilliant tackle and the danger was cleared. It was that kind of day.

  No one is getting carried away but this is a hugely important win in terms of Roscommon’s season. There are definite signs of improvement over the past month and the squad is taking shape at just the right time. I am still not convinced that we have found the right midfield partnership but our defence looks more settled and we have excellent attacking options. This was a day that tested the character and fighting qualities of the team. They passed that test with flying colours. More big days on the way in the spring of 2019!



The Lead Story: Feeley delighted to pull on green jersey





Roscommon cyclist Daire Feeley’s career continues to go from strength to strength. The UC Monaco cyclist has made the Irish U-23 team that will compete in this weekend’s UCI Nations Cup which takes place in Ghent in Belgium.

  Daire, who is now based in the south of France on a full-time basis, was thrilled to be back representing Ireland.

  “Of course I was delighted I made the team for the upcoming U-23 Nations Cup in Ghent in Belgium this weekend and I’m also included for the second round of the Nations Cup which will also be staged in Belgium in just three weeks’ time,” he said.

  The Donamon cyclist and former Roscommon CBS student told the Roscommon People earlier this week just how important representing Team Ireland was to him.

  “As always, it’s an honour to be pulling on the Irish jersey, I have to say I get goose bumps every time I pin the numbers onto the back of the green jersey the night before a race”.

  Daire says that while being picked for the international team is a proud achievement, it is also a chance for the young up and coming cyclist to make a name for himself on the European stage.

  “It’s a case of knowing that I will be representing my country but also relishing the opportunity to put myself in the shop window in terms of top class European cycling,” he concluded.

  Another important and highly competitive weekend ahead for the young Rossie as he once again looks to turn heads in mainland Europe.


Seamus Duke on sport - March 23rd



Fixtures chaos can’t happen again


The chaos with the GAA fixture list that was first highlighted in this column as far back as last October has now come to pass and even if there are no postponements for the rest of the year, there are serious problems ahead especially with regard to the club scene.

  It looks likely now that the league finals (which Roscommon will almost certainly be contesting) will not be played until the second weekend in April. So much for April being free for club action! Remember that there are two rounds of the club football championships down for April. The club managers are entitled to have access to their county players for two weeks before a championship game under rule so what will happen now? 

  There are counties who have three rounds of championship games down for decision in April. It’s some mess. It was utter madness to try to shoe-horn all these fixtures into a couple of months but it looks like it will be the clubs that will miss out once again.

  The GAA will have to sit down as quickly as they can, hold their hands up and admit they got it wrong and start again with a blank sheet. Paying lip service to the club scene is not going to cut it anymore. If we have to go back to playing three rounds of the National League before Christmas then let’s do that. What is going on this year simply cannot happen again.


Rossies squeeze past Cavan


Last Sunday’s win against Cavan was a mighty test of character for Roscommon and they came up with the goods. To win a tough game like that one was a major boost to the confidence and morale of the players, and to get out of a tight corner like Roscommon were in last Sunday and to come strong late on and win it is very satisfying.

  The argument about whether promotion is a good thing for the development of the squad is now redundant because promotion is almost a certainty now and big tests will lie ahead in 2019. But of more immediate concern is a league final in Croke Park and another big game in preparation for the championship. Well done to all concerned.

  Elsewhere, Mayo are now in big trouble and they now have to win in Ballybofey next Sunday or they will be relegated from Division One for the first time in 23 years. It would be a serious blow for Stephen Rochford’s men. I know it has been said many times in the past but is this great Mayo team on the way down?

  Dublin and Galway were involved in a very nasty game in Salthill. Galway wanted to put down a marker and Dublin were in no mood to accommodate them. It turned out to be a very poor advertisement for the game. The forthcoming league final will be interesting!


Golden era of Irish Rugby


When I was growing up the notion that the Irish rugby team would ever win a Grand Slam was fanciful in the extreme. It was seen as impossible to be honest. In the 80s, the two Triple Crowns we won were celebrated wildly throughout the country. Now we have seen two Grand Slams in the space of 9 years which is simply phenomenal.

  Last Saturday’s deciding game against England was over at half-time. It was incredible to behold. The tackling, determination, will to win, courage, bravery, discipline and clear thinking from all the players at Twickenham last Saturday was awesome and it was one of the greatest sporting performances we have ever seen from any Irish team. 

  I was especially glad for Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray. Two class players who have directed Ireland’s gameplan for most of the past decade and they finally got their reward. It was also so heart-warming to see so many young players on the team and with the likes of Ringrose, Larmour, Porter, Leavy, Stockdale, Carbery, to add to the more experienced guys the future sure looks good.

  Joe Schmidt has done a wonderful job with the team. he has found a style that suits them and has implemented it ruthlessly. It is vital that we kick on now and give the World Cup a real go next year. But this Irish team have really captured the imagination of the public. I have seldom seen as many people out celebrating any Irish sporting success as were out last Saturday and it was great to see. We should certainly enjoy this golden era of Irish Rugby. It probably won’t last.


Salah looks a real bargain now!


With all the sport that was on over the weekend the achievement of Mo Salah scoring four goals against Watford in the Premier League last Saturday is certainly worth a mention. With a quarter of the season left to go the Egyptian has scored an incredible 37 goals this season and 28 in the Premier League alone. With the way transfer fees have gone over the past couple of years the £42 million Liverpool paid for him is now a bargain. Would 125 million buy him now?

  He has been a sensational player for Liverpool and don’t rule out Salah playing a starring role when Liverpool meet Man City in the Champions League Quarter-finals in a couple of weeks’ time. I give Liverpool a great chance in that tie over two legs. And this is coming from a Man United fan!



Corofin a joy to behold


What a display Corofin put on in the All-Ireland club football final. The first twenty minutes was as fine a display as I have seen in a club final. The football they played was a pleasure to watch as they tore Nemo Rangers to shreds. Corofin play football the way it should be played. Clever running, long accurate kick passing, clever movement and superb score-taking. Their second goal was one of the best I have ever seen. The hurling final was interesting all the way without being a classic. It will be hard to separate them in the replay.

Rory McIlroy is coming into form ahead of The Masters at Augusta next month.



Exciting build-up to the Masters


The golf season is certainly coming nicely to the boil. Rory McIlroy made a great comeback to the winner’s enclosure last weekend at Bay Hill and not too far behind him was Tiger Woods who has shown that he is ready to compete for the big prizes now that he is recovering from his back troubles. It will be the most exciting build-up to The Masters in many years.

  Tiger does not qualify to play this weekend in the World Matchplay so his next appearance will be in Augusta. He has now moved up from a lowly 668th in the world rankings to 109 this week and heading towards the top 50. He will win again but whether he can win another major or two is the big question.


Irish dominate Cheltenham again


Cheltenham was another massive success for the Irish this year with 17 winners and it is amazing the way the tide has turned in recent years. There was a time when 5 or 6 winners was regarded as a major achievement but now with Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliot the top trainers and owners like JP McManus, Michael O’Leary and Rich Ricci investing huge amounts in top class horses, most of the big prizes are being won by Irish horses.  

  Horse racing wouldn’t be at the top of my sporting agenda but Cheltenham is always worth a look and it is great TV. But I always find it amusing to see the representatives of the big bookie forms giving tips on the TV and radio. Can anyone explain to me the reasoning behind that? Sure if the tipsters from the bookie firms were any good they would lose their jobs! It’s not in the interest of their employers for them to be giving out winners. I think it’s hilarious. The worst thing is that there are people who are listening and paying heed to them too!

The Sporting Brief - March 23rd




Harriers’ 5k Series!

Roscommon Harriers Athletic Club will once again host their annual 5k race series this April. The series runs over four Fridays in April with a start time of 7.30 pm for each race.

  Start and finish lines are located at the entrance to race HQ, Hannon’s Hotel in Roscommon town. Register on the evening from 6.30 - 7.20 pm or online with Pop-Up Races. For more information, check out Roscommon Harriers on Facebook.


Connacht double!

Denis Creaton made it a Connacht double in the 40x20 Junior grade when he and Sean Jennings beat Galway’s talented youngsters Seamus Conneelly and Diarmuid Mulkerrins last Friday night.

  Playing in Ballaghaderreen, the Roscommon pair imposed themselves early and won 21-11, 21-14.

  Roscommon handball fans are in for a treat this Sunday when two of the greatest handballers ever play in St. Coman’s. Cavan’s five-time world champion Paul Brady and Michael Finnegan, who have won eleven Senior All-Ireland doubles together, will be defending their title.

  Following that, Meath’s Tom Sheridan, who has won more All-Ireland doubles titles than anyone in history, will team-up with Brian Carroll in the hope of landing yet another title.


Forge first!

The Forge finished top of the Roscommon Darts League thanks to a 7-2 win over Flanagan’s last Friday. A 7-2 win for An Bothar Rua over The Hollywood Bar ensured they leapfrogged Flanagan’s to take fourth spot. An Bothar Rua took fourth by one point as an 8-1 win for McDermott’s against Creaton’s had put them in contention to overtake the Elphin men. The Holly Tree beat Molly’s 5-4 to finish one place ahead of them in second.

  The top four teams in the league will now compete for the cup, with the bottom four competing for the shield.

  Cup Semi-Finals: Molly’s v The Holly Tree, Forge v An Bothar Rua. Shield Semi-Finals: McDermott’s v Flanagan’s, Creaton’s v The Hollywood. Home advantage to first team listed in the first leg. The first leg is this Friday (23rd) with the second leg the following week.


Winter League winners

We tee-off in Athlone where team Ros Glos triumphed in the Men’s Winter League. Alan Hough, Declan Murphy, Mark Connelly, Declan Flannery and Captain Mike Glynn from Ballinasloe won the final 3-2 against locals John Duggan, Ned Broughall, Martin Fitzgibbon, Ray Fagan and Gerry Rowland.

  In the White Elephant competition last week, Eleanor Larkin (24 points) pipped Cathryn Mannion on a count back. The AWGS was won by T Meaghar and the ladies’ 97 Club was won by Lily O’Sullivan.

  To Castlerea, where Mary Kenny (35 points) beat Kay O’Loughlin by the narrowest of margins to claim the recent ladies’ competition.

  In Roscommon, Noreen O’Grady claimed the senior ladies’ competition ahead of Kay Ruane.

  Finally, to Boyle, where the Holmpatrick Cup for gents takes place this Sunday. This is played as a ‘Fourball Betterball’ and the winners will go on to play the other winners from Roscommon.

  The winners in each of the four provinces will then get to play the final at St. Andrews in Scotland. The Holmpatrick is a fundraiser for the National Council for the Blind, and this is its 85th year.


Dooner’s weekend predictions - March 23rd


League titles remain up for grabs in all three divisions but the likes of St. Peter’s, Kilkerrin United and Moylough ’79 will be hoping to edge closer to league glory this weekend.


Saturday, March 24th

Herald Premier Division (7.45 pm)

Ballinasloe Town v Ballaghaderreen FC

It was 8-0 to Ballinasloe the last time these sides met. The visitors may have improved since then but The Town should still be comfortable.

Prediction: Ballinasloe Town

Moore United v Shiven Rovers

Both sides will be hoping to bounce back from defeats last weekend.

Prediction: Draw

Norio’s Takeaway Division One

Strokestown United v Ballinasloe Town B. 7.45 pm

This should be an entertaining encounter between second and third.

Prediction: Strokestown United

Killeen Sportsgrounds Division Two (7.45 pm)

Castlerea Celtic B v Cloonfad United B

The hosts are slight favourites.

Prediction: Castlerea Celtic B                 

Glen Celtic v Skyvalley Rovers B

Skyvalley have lost 13 out of 16 so far.

Prediction: Glen Celtic

Shiven Rovers B v Boyle Celtic B

The visitors could face an interesting run-in provided they win here.

Prediction: Boyle Celtic B

Sunday, March 25th

RDFL Challenge Cup Round 2

CP Ajax v Lough Harps. 2 pm                 

Lough Harps should prove too strong for CP Ajax.

Prediction: Lough Harps

Herald Premier Division

Ballymoe FC v Castlerea Celtic. 11 am

With just five games left, Castlerea will need a minor miracle to catch St. Peter’s.

Prediction: Castlerea Celtic

Skyvalley Rovers v St. Peter’s FC. 11 am

The Athlone side edge ever closer to the Premier Division title.

Prediction: St. Peter’s FC

Dysart FC v Boyle Celtic. 2 pm                 

Boyle will want to get last weekend’s Connacht Cup defeat out of their system quickly. Prediction: Boyle Celtic

St. John’s Athletic v Cloonfad United. 2 pm

Cloonfad have enjoyed some memorable wins lately but St. John’s will be difficult to beat at home.

Prediction: Draw 

Norio’s Takeaway Division One

Ahascragh United v Kilkerrin United. 2 pm

The league leaders could extend their lead this weekend.

Prediction: Kilkerrin United

Killeen Sportsgrounds Division Two (2 pm)

Moylough ’79 v Rahara Rovers                  

The hosts will be favourites this weekend.

Prediction: Moylough ‘79

Roscommon United v Cam Celtic

A 3-3 draw last time they met so hopefully something similar this weekend.

Prediction: Draw

Breaking Ball - March 23rd



Ladies back in the hunt

Roscommon are back in the promotion hunt in Lidl Ladies NFL Division 3, following a 4-10 to 2-6 win against neighbours Longford in Kenagh last Friday night. The seeds for this win were grown in the opening half when Roscommon scored three fine goals from Alice Kelly, Sinead Kenny and Sinead Farrell. Roscommon led by 3-5 to 0-3 at half-time.

  Longford, led by Mairéad Farrell were much better on the resumption and Farrell and Aisling Greene scored goals for the home side. But they were of consolation value as Roscommon were always well ahead and Alice Kelly scored a fine goal, her second of the game, midway through the half.

Roscommon: Helena Cummins; Honor Ennis, Feena Beirne, Rachel Brady; Roisin Wynne (0-2), Aisling McAuliffe, Niamh Feeney (0-3); Joanne Cregg (0-1), Sinead Kenny (1-0); Rachel Fitzmaurice, Laura Fleming, Alice Kelly (2-1); Niamh Fleming, Rebecca Finan (0-2), Sinead Farrell. Subs: Sheila Brady, Louise Tully, Rebecca Coyle, Martina Freyne (0-1), Triona Kelly, Niamh Warde.

First half demolition!

Roscommon overcame Clare in their second game in the Littlewoods Ireland National Camogie League Division 3 in Ennis last Sunday on a scoreline of 1-9 to 0-7.

  Roscommon took full advantage of playing with the conditions in the opening half and they led by 1-7 to 0-1 at that stage. Sinead O’Brien scored the vital goal in the 26th minute.

  Clare were much better in the second half but the Roscommon defence held firm with goalkeeper Caroline Connaughton and Niamh Farrell outstanding. Roscommon face Kerry in their next game on Easter Sunday.

Roscommon: Caroline Connaughton; Eimear McNally, Niamh Farrell, Meabdh Tiernan; Siobhan Coyle, Joanne Beattie, Eala Coyle; Niamh Coyle, Laura Fleming (0-1); Niamh Watson, Sinead O’Brien (1-0), Susan Spillane (0-4); Aisling Dempsey (0-1), Fiona Connell, Rachel Fitzmaurice (0-3). Coleen Kelly for Connell, Rachel Neilan for O’Brien, Leah Rowe for Watson, Grainne Whyte-Lennon for Fitzmaurice, Laura Keenan for Dempsey.

Minors beat Sligo and Leitrim

The Cox’s Steakhouse sponsored Roscommon minor ladies opened their Connacht Championship campaign with a comprehensive 4-14 to 2-5 win over Sligo at Tourlestrane on March 10th.

  The girls then faced Leitrim last Monday and were in ruthless form, running out 14-17 to 1-6 winners.

All-Ireland Schools Semi-Finals

St. Nathy’s College will face Lucan CBS in the All-Ireland Post Primary Schools ‘B’ Championship Semi-Final this Saturday. That game will be played in Moate and, at the time of going to press, is pencilled in for 12.30 pm.

  Meanwhile, Coláiste Chiaráin were beaten in their All-Ireland Post Primary Schools ‘C’ Championship Semi-Final by Leinster champions, Ardee Community School from Co. Louth, on a scoreline of 4-11 to 2-8 at St. Loman’s, Mullingar on Tuesday afternoon.


Roscommon attack blows Banner away





Allianz NFL Division 2: Roscommon 2-19 Clare 2-12

The pot is boiling nicely now! After a number of indifferent displays in the opening three rounds of the league and an easy win against a very poor Louth side, Roscommon are growing into the season with every passing week. While this latest victory in the Banner County was certainly not a perfect performance, there was far more to be positive about than negative - the signs are certainly good.

  The team put up a huge score again, and it could have been even more. They recovered from a number of setbacks to kick on in the game, and there were some outstanding displays throughout the field. It was a very impressive attacking display and despite there being a few scares along the way, Kevin McStay’s men never looked like losing the encounter.

  Yes, Clare did have to play almost the entire second half with 14 men after the sending off of Ciaran Russell, and Roscommon were guilty of letting the home side back into the game at least twice. Roscommon also missed at least four more gilt-edged goal chances in the second half too. But it would be far worse if they were not creating those chances. In fact, some of their attacking play was a joy to behold with clever kick passing, quick hands and superb approach work. To score 2-19 in a competitive football game any day you go out is a good day’s work.

  Seanie McDermott and Peter Domican did well in defence and John McManus was shaping up well until he had to go off with a hamstring injury. Cathal Compton and Tadgh O’Rourke worked hard at midfield against a very good Clare pairing of Gary Brennan and Cathal O’Connor. The jury is still out on which might be Roscommon’s best partnership in the middle of the park.

  Up front, Donie Smith was sensational once again. His return of nine points and eight from play shows that the Boyle man is well worth his starting place on the team. Conor Devaney was superb once again. He was an excellent choice as captain as he leads from the front and gets through a mountain of work. He is an inspiration to the rest of the players. Niall Kilroy was excellent too and he swept up a lot of ball in the second half in particular. A word too for Cathal Cregg, who added a lot of extra punch to the attack when he came on in the final quarter and he scored a fine goal.

  The fact that Clare scored 2-12 is a source of worry for Roscommon as they prepare for the big tests ahead, and the team are still vulnerable to direct running at the defence. However, that is something that can be worked out on the training ground. Roscommon have still to tighten up in defence and around the middle.

  After a lot of huffing and puffing the team are beginning to play far more consistently and the game against Cavan on Sunday next will have a championship feel to it. Cavan will come with all guns blazing. They know a win will see them promoted to Division One. But if Roscommon can play as they did for long spells last Sunday and be more ruthless in front of goal then they can beat the Breffni men in front of what is sure to be a huge crowd.

   Yes, a lot of work still needs to be done but for the big crowd of Rossie fans who went to Ennis last Sunday it was a very satisfactory day out. Roll on Cavan!


Teams and Scorers


Roscommon: James Featherston; Seanie McDermott, John McManus, Peter Domican; Ronan Daly, David Murray, Niall Daly; Tadhg O’Rourke, Cathal Compton; Ciaráin Murtagh (0-6, 5 frees), Niall Kilroy, Conor Devaney (0-2); Donie Smith (0-9, 2 frees), Ciaran Lennon, Diarmuid Murtagh (1-1, 1 free). Subs: Fergal Lennon for J McManus (26), Enda Smith for N Daly (half-time), Brian Stack for Murray (49), Cathal Cregg (1-1) for C Lennon (57), Ian Kilbride for O’Rourke (65), Shane Killoran for D Murtagh (70).

Clare: Killian Roche; Cian O’Dea, Cillian Brennan, Eoghan Collins; Ciaran Russell, Aaron Fitzgerald, Pearse Lillis (0-1); Gary Brennan (1-0), Cathal O’Connor; Kieran Malone, Eoin Cleary (0-05, 3 frees), Sean Collins; Sean O’Donoghue (0-1), Keelan Sexton (0-2), David Tubridy (1-3, 3 frees). Subs: Gearoid O’Brien for E Collins (54), Conor Finucane for Tubridy (58), Sean Malone for Lillis (60), Darragh Bohannon for Sexton (63), Conan Ó hAinifein for S Collins (66).

Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh)




The Lead Story: Grace dances at the Broad Street Ballroom


Following an appearance at Madison Square Garden last year, Roscommon town native, Grace Morris, who is a personal trainer and Muay Thai fighter based in New York, made the decision to sign up with Evolution Muay Thai, under trainer Brandon Levi. She recently fought for the first time under her new coach and won by unanimous decision against Jillian Bosserdet at a Friday Night Fights event on March 2nd at the Broad Street Ballroom.

  Grace was understandably pleased with her debut for Evolution.

  “I was happy with my performance, especially the finish! The fight camp was my first one alongside my new teammates at Evolution Muay Thai, under Brandon Levi, so it was a whole new experience. They’re all at a very high level; it’s a really strong team to be a part of and to work with. Brandon expects a lot from his fighters, and puts a lot into our camps. He worked on a lot of things with me this camp and I’m very happy to see where I’ve improved from my last fight,” she told me earlier this week.

  The Roscommon girl was fighting on the undercard of the Travis Clay v Ognjen Topic main event and enjoyed the experience.

  “The fight was great - my favourite one yet! I think we had a good game plan going into it, and the things we worked on came out on the night. We trained really hard for it. I enjoyed every minute in there.

  “Jillian’s an experienced fighter, so I knew she’d be tough and a great match-up. She got me with a few nice shots including a spinning back elbow and even got one sweep on me. My straight punches and low kicks were landing for the most part and I got some nice elbows in the clinch”.

  As for the future with her new team, Grace can’t wait to get back into the ring.

  “It was my first fight out of Evo, so it sets a baseline for where I’m at and what we need to work on moving forward. Bringing back the win to the team was the best. I’m looking forward to and training for my next one, which will hopefully be in May!”


*Grace’s fight can be seen on ufc.tv



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