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Kelly’s hurlers return to the Hyde against London


Christy Ring Cup Round Two : Roscommon v London on Saturday at Dr. Hyde Park at 6 pm

Roscommon hurlers face the last chance saloon in the Christy Ring Cup when they play London at Dr. Hyde Park on Saturday evening. It is the first time in a number of years that Roscommon hurlers have played at the venue but the magnificent new pitch will be eminently suitable for a game of this status and the hope will be that Roscommon will be able to make home venue count.

  Roscommon manager, Johnny Kelly, says that his side are playing well but have been out of luck in recent games.

  “We played very well last Saturday against Down but we missed at least five clear goal chances and if we only got half of them we could have won the game. We have to take those chances and if we do that we will have big shout in any game” he said.

  “I told the players after the game that they played really well and I am very happy with their performances and they are putting in a huge effort. We are still without Cathal Kenny and Jason Kilkenny who are injured and it is a pity that we are short so many players who didn’t commit to the panel this year but the lads who are there have put in a mighty effort and it would be great to have a change of luck on Saturday.

  “London will pose a serious challenge. They have some players that I would know well who are ex-Galway club players and who are very good hurlers so they will be a tough nut to crack. They were just pipped by a good Wicklow side last weekend by a point so we will be up against it.

  “But it’s great to have a home game and it is great to be playing on the new pitch at Dr. Hyde Park. It is good to see the Roscommon hurlers get a big of recognition and hopefully we can win it on the evening,” he said.

  With the team playing for the first time in many years at Dr. Hyde Park, it would be nice to see a championship win and if Roscommon get that bit of luck required when it comes to the big games, they can progress to the next round. Let’s hope there is a big crowd to support them.

Prediction: Roscommon


Camogie team set for another tilt at glory


Littlewoods National Camogie League Division 3 Final: Roscommon v Dublin at Coralstown/Kinnegad at 1.30 pm:

Roscommon’s camogie side play in their third national final in two and a half years when they face Dublin in the Division Three final on Sunday in Kinnegad at 1.30 pm. When the sides met early in the league campaign in Dublin, the home side prevailed by 2-10 to 1-6 but this Sunday will be different according to joint manager, Noel Finn.

  Finn and his co-manager Noel Murphy are relishing the challenge of facing Dublin again and says that Roscommon are well capable of landing this title.

   “We are back in a national final again with a totally new team. We lost seven players from last year and we are two more down now because of the Leaving Cert so it is almost a new team. We have no injuries to report and the girls have been training really well for this match,” he said.

  “I was thrilled the way we battled against Kerry in the semi-final. It was a real physical battle and we rose to the occasion and what I really like about the team this year is that they have great heart and determination and those are great qualities to have going into a big game.

  “I wouldn’t pass too much heed on the game against Dublin earlier in the league. When we played them we had three training sessions done and they had 26, and we ran out of steam in the last 15 minutes but this Sunday will be different. We have a lot more work done now.

  “This is our third national final in the two and a half years that we have been with the team and hopefully it will be third time lucky. There are plenty of very good young players in Roscommon Camogie and the team need to get out of this division to progress. It would be a big help to the young players to be playing in a higher division both in league and in the championship. These big games are all on the day of course but if we can get the majority of our girls playing the way they are capable they can definitely win this final,” he concluded.

  The younger brigade will be joined by the likes of Caroline Connaughton, Susan Spillane, Elaine Daly, Kelley Hopkins and Joanne Beattie and when you add in the talents of Rachel Fitzmaurice, Laura Fleming and Shauna Fallon it looks a very strong Roscommon outfit.

Roscommon have been unlucky in the two recent finals that they contested and maybe this time around it will be their day.

Prediction: Roscommon

Dooner's weekend predictions

The game of the week takes place this evening as Ballinasloe Town take on Ballymoe FC. A win for either team would be huge and would catapult the victors to the top of the Premier Division.

Thursday, April 27th

The Herald Premier Division

Ballinasloe Town v Ballymoe FC. 8 pm

Very little to choose between these two sides and Castlerea will be hoping they cancel each other out.

Prediction: Ballymoe FC

Saturday, April 29th

RDFL Challenge Cup Quarter-Final

Strokestown United v Castlerea Celtic. 7.30 pm

Castlerea will expect to progress to the last four.

Prediction: Castlerea Celtic

First Division Cup Semi-Final

Kilkerrin United v Cloonfad United. 6.30 pm

League form usually goes out the window for these cup competitions but Cloonfad will be confident.

Prediction: Cloonfad United

Sunday, April 30th

RDFL Challenge Cup Quarter-Final (2 pm)

Lough Harps v Ballinasloe Town

The visitors have a busy weekend ahead. They’ll win at least one of their big games.

Prediction: Ballinasloe Town

Brazukas v Moylough ‘79

Brazukas will be hoping to bounce back this weekend.

Prediction: Brazukas

The Herald Premier Division (12 pm)

Skyvalley Rovers v Ahascragh United

The home side will be hoping results go their way this Sunday.

Prediction: Skyvalley Rovers

St. John’s Athletic v Ballaghaderreen FC

Both sides enjoyed wins last weekend but the visitors have been slightly more consistent this season.

Prediction: Ballaghaderreen FC

First Division Cup Semi-Final

Dysart FC v Ballinasloe Town B. 12 pm

The champions are heavy odds-on favourites to claim this trophy.

Prediction: Dysart FC

Division One/Two Promotion/Relegation play-off

Glen Celtic v Hodson Bay Athletic. 2 pm

What a debut season the visitors have had! Promotion may be slightly premature however.

Prediction: Glen Celtic

Killeen Sportsgrounds Division Two

Ballinagare FC v Skyvalley Rovers B. 2 pm

Skyvalley have been better overall this season but very little separated these two the last time they met.

Prediction: Draw

Monday, May 1st

Second Division Cup Round 1

Cam Celtic v Castlerea Celtic B. 2 pm

Home advantage should see Cam through to the next round.

Prediction: Cam Celtic




Club GAA: League round-up


AFL Division 1 (O’Rourke Cup)

There were some very interesting results last weekend in the final round of games before the start of the club championship.

  The most eye-catching result in Division One was Strokestown 2-20 St. Brigid’s 0-14. Peter Domican made a welcome return for Brigid’s, who led by a point at half-time. But the game changed when two Brigid’s players and a Strokestown player were shown red cards for an incident early in the second half. Strokestown went on to win easily with county senior player Colin Compton scoring a very impressive 2-8.

  Cian Connolly with 0-9, was the star for Roscommon Gaels as they beat Tulsk by 0-18 to 0-11 at Lisnamult. The sides were level at 0-7 each at half-time but the Gaels turned in an impressive second half performance to record a badly needed win.

  Clann na nGael scored another impressive win when they had five points to spare against Pádraig Pearses at Johnstown. Clann led by 0-9 to 1-2 at half-time.

  Kilmore and Elphin shared the spoils in a hard fought derby game at Kilmore. Paul Garvey scored a first half goal but Elphin led at the break by 0-8 to 1-3. Derek Connellan scored a fine second goal for Kilmore in the second half but five points each from Shane Killoran and Frankie Cregg secured a draw for Elphin.

  Western Gaels pipped St. Croan’s by 1-15 to 3-7 in a high scoring game at Ballintubber. Western Gaels led by 1-6 to 1-2 at half-time. Goals from Shane Smyth in the first half and from Aidan Brogan and Kevin Smyth in the second half were not good enough to overcome a very impressive Gaels’ outfit whose goal came from a penalty in the first half.

AFL Division 2 (O’Gara Cup)

Fuerty were the impressive 2-16 to 0-11 winners against Éire Óg. County player Niall Kilroy was the star of the show with 0-9 while Christy Leahy scored the two Fuerty goals. Liam Creaton scored 0-6 for Éire Óg.

  Goals from Kevin Farrell and Aidan Dooney saw St. Faithleach’s stroll to a 2-21 to 1-5 win against St. Dominic’s.  Diarmuid Murtagh continued at midfield for the Ballyleague side. 

  High scoring Boyle continued on their winning ways when they beat junior champions Creggs by 3-14 to 1-8.

  Oran got back on the winning trail when they had ten points to spare over Western Gaels (2-11 to 0-7).

  Castlerea earned the bragging rights in the local derby when they beat Michael Glavey’s by 1-13 to 0-11.

AFL Division 3 (Tansey Cup)

St. Aidan’s continued their good form with an impressive win against Kilglass.

  Kilbride easily accounted for Clann na nGael with Conor Devaney scoring 1-7.

  Ballinameen pipped St. Barry’s by three points in what was a very closely fought encounter. The sides were level with ten minutes to go but Ballinameen got the final three points to win it.

  St. Michael’s had four points to spare against Elphin on Saturday.

Handball: Triple for Roscommon!


Roscommon Handball enjoyed a very good weekend in Cavan winning three 40x20 All-Ireland doubles titles.

  The Curraghboy pair of Philip O’Connor and Paul Kelly took home the Over 35 ‘B’ doubles after a tough two hour battle with Cork duo, Jamie O’Donnell and Patrick Buckley. The Roscommon representatives came good on a 21-14, 12-21, 21-5 scoreline.

  Next up was the pairing of St. Coman’s’ Linda Connolly and Siobhan Tully who overcame Tyrone duo Michelle Warren and Clodagh Donaghy 21-4, 21-2 in their ladies junior ‘B’ doubles All-Ireland Final.

  The ladies intermediate doubles pair of Lauren O’Riordan and Fiona Tully received a walkover in their final as one of their Clare opponents was forced to pull out through injury.


Boyle Celtic edge closer to the big boys


Boyle Celtic’s superb season continues this weekend when they make the long trip to take on Killarney FC in Kerry in the preliminary round of the FAI Cup.

  However, the decision to play the game at 7 pm on Saturday evening has caused some controversy as it now means that the team will be forced to stay over following the game.

  Boyle Celtic manager, Darren Hurd, said “It’s a joke. We’re going down on Saturday morning and staying over Saturday night. It’s not fair on Boyle Celtic and the FAI and Killarney are at fault.”

  The decision was made by Killarney, according to Darren and he believes it’s evidence of the level of fear the Kingdom side have ahead of Celtic’s visit.

  “Killarney asked for it to be played at that time. It shows that maybe there’s a bit of fear. It’s water under the bridge now though. We have to go down there and do the business. The lads will be a little bit stiff but that’s football,” he said.

  The Celtic boss lamented the fact that his side had been rather harshly knocked out at the semi-final stage of the FAI Junior Cup against Evergreen but said that the senior competition brought its own excitement.

  “We win this weekend and we could come up against Dundalk or one of the big clubs!”

  Killarney have already proven that they have no intention of making it easy on Boyle but Darren is confident in the players he has at his disposal and highlighted the fact that they’re still competing on several fronts this season.

  “We’re in the Connacht semi-final too. The talent has always been there (at the club) they just needed someone to give them a structure,” he said.

  This weekend will be business as usual for Boyle Celtic as they travel the length and breadth of the country taking on the big boys of junior soccer. The dream of playing the likes of Dundalk and close neighbours Sligo Rovers is still there for the taking!


Seamus Duke on Sport - 28th of April

Tribesmen serve notice ahead of the summer

What makes sport so attractive is that it is so unpredictable. In the run-up to last Sunday’s hurling league final, most people expected Galway to ‘give Tipp a game’ but that the All-Ireland champions would sweep to another title without too much fuss. But Galway were in command from the throw-in and they totally swamped Tipperary and never let them get into the game at all. It was hard to work out whether Galway were so good or whether Tipp just had an off day. As usual with these things the truth lies probably somewhere in between.

  It was hard to believe that this was the Tipperary team who blew away everything that appeared in front of them last year, putting up massive scores. They were terrible on the day last Sunday and they will have to pick it up again to make a strong defence of their title.

  On the other hand, there is no doubt that Galway are now serious contenders for the Liam McCarthy cup. They played with great assurance and authority and most of the plaudits went to their excellent attackers like Joe Canning, Conor Whelan and Jason Flynn. But I thought their defence was majestic, led by Daithi Burke and Gearoid McInerney and either one would have been my man of the match.

  I still think that Tipperary are the team to beat in the race for All-Ireland glory this year but it will not be as straightforward as many people think.

  I was also surprised at the small crowd at the match in Limerick last Sunday (16,089), there were almost 60,000 at the football league final. I know that it is hard to match the appeal of a Dublin v Kerry match but I thought there would have been at least 25,000 at the hurling final.

  Having seen what Galway did to Tipperary on Sunday, it will put a pep in the step of many counties around the country who might be meeting Tipperary this summer. The video of last Sunday’s game in Limerick will get many a showing before this summer is out in the tactics rooms of the big hurling counties.

Hurlers to entertain London in the Hyde

Roscommon were just not in luck once again last Saturday when they were beaten by Down in the Christy Ring Cup in Ballycran. With 40 minutes gone, Johnny Kelly’s men were leading by five points and looking good but in a repeat of what happened in a number of recent games Roscommon just ran out of steam and it was hard to believe that Down actually won by seven points in the end.

  That game is now in the past and at least the second round draw has been kinder to Roscommon and a home game against London is definitely winnable. London are not as strong as they were a number of years ago and Roscommon are well capable of beating them.

  The team have had no luck in the league or championship so far but this might be their day. We wish them the best of luck.

  It is also great to see that the game will be played at Dr. Hyde Park. The new pitch is eminently suitable for hurling and it would be fantastic for the team to win there. It’s been a while since the team have played in ‘the Hyde’ and I hope that there is a big crowd there to see them.

Excitement builds ahead of club championship

The club football scene is fairly warming up ahead of the championship opening rounds which will start in about ten days’ time. It is interesting to see how the various teams are going in the league but as we all know: what happens in the league has no bearing whatsoever as to what will happen in the championship.

  Nevertheless, people are looking for pointers as to who might win the club championship and who is playing well from the county panel. If you look at our league round-up elsewhere this week, a lot of the county players have been doing well for their clubs, as they should be.

  It will also be interesting to see what players emerge who are not on the panel or who are on the fringe of the panel in the first two rounds of the championship. I am sure there will be a number of players who will put their hand up over the next few weeks.

  League form is notoriously unreliable when it comes to picking possible winners of the championship and at this stage both the SFC and IFC look very open to me.

Galway’s football renaissance continues

This Saturday, Galway can add to their growing reputation in football by beating Dublin in the All-Ireland U-21 final. They were ever so impressive as they swatted hot favourites Kerry aside in the semi-final and they have a great record in this competition in recent years.

  Good luck also to Roscommon’s camogie team who face Dublin in the National League Division 3 final on Sunday. With many talented young players coming on stream to join the more experienced members of the panel, it an exciting time for Roscommon Camogie and we wish them the best of luck.

Former stars come together this weekend

The great Roscommon team of the 1977 to 1981 era will have a get together next weekend. While we have seen some great Roscommon teams over the years, notably the one which Marty McDermott trained from 1989 to 1991, in my lifetime, the greatest Roscommon team that I saw was in the period 1977 to 1981. I know that it is a generation ago but at that time we won an incredible four Connacht titles in a row, one National League title, an U-21 All-Ireland title, several All Star awards and we also appeared in an All-Ireland senior final.

  People will know the fuss that we all made of being in Division One over the past two years, well this team was in Division One in that era too. Not only that but they travelled all over the country and could compete with and beat the likes of Dublin, Kerry, Cork, Armagh, Offaly and all the other teams who were doing well at that time.

  Of course, they could not match the feats of the team of the 1940s but some of the greatest players who ever played for Roscommon were on that team and I have to say it was a pleasure to have been around to see them. I know that to a man they are all still hopeful that Roscommon can go on and emulate their feats someday soon, but to date it has not happened. I hope they all enjoy their get together next weekend. They deserve it. They gave some enjoyment to football fans who were around at the time.

Memorable season

No luck for the Irish rugby teams last weekend and I got to see both games. Munster put up a brave show against Saracens but they never looked like winning the match. The sheer power of Saracens was just too much.

  On Sunday it was a different story. Leinster were very slow to start and when they went 15 points down it looked an impossible task but they fought back well. To have had to travel into the lions’ den in France was probably the deciding factor in the end.

  But is has been another memorable season for Irish Rugby and a real possibility that Munster and Leinster might be competing in the Pro12 final yet. Then when it’s all over the Lions Tour will begin in June.

Forde ban extremely harsh

The fact that Davy Fitzgerald got an eight week ban for his pitch incursion in the league semi-final can be argued one way or another but even if he has to sit up in the stand for a couple of games, it will not be a huge inconvenience.

  However, the fact that the Tipperary’s Jason Forde, who was involved in the altercation with Fitzgerald and got a two-match ban, is far more serious. Forde simply defended himself when Fitzgerald confronted him and it was Fitzgerald who was the aggressor. However, if Forde misses the game against Cork and the Munster semi-final if Tipp win, he might not get his place back on the Tipperary team for the rest of the year which would seem to me to be an incredibly harsh penalty to pay.

  The GAA have dealt with this matter in a very unfair manner and I hope that they see sense. Forde probably shouldn’t have gone near Davy when he came onto the field but he had to defend himself at the same time.

United face stern derby test

Manchester United returned to their frustrating worst last Thursday night but I suppose that they did make it through to the Europa League semi-finals, but they were very poor.

  They paid a heavy price for that win as Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were both carried off and I would say that Ibrahimovic could have a career-ending injury.

  United were a little bit better on Sunday when they beat Burnley, who I thought were a very poor side. We will see just how good United are when they take on Man City tonight (Thursday) in the derby match.

  The FA Cup semi-finals brought together last season’s top four teams in the Premier League  and the match between Chelsea and Spurs was a cracking encounter and there were some fantastic goals scored. But Chelsea were that little bit more clinical in front of goal and that was the difference.  

  The win by Arsenal against Man City probably saved Arsene Wenger from the sack and he will probably stay now until the end of the season.

  One interesting aside to the defeat suffered by Liverpool at home to Crystal Palace last Sunday, Jurgen Klopp sold Christian Benteke at the end of last season and held on to Daniel Sturridge. That didn’t go too well! 

  However, the soccer highlight of the weekend was the brilliant ‘El Clasico” which Barcelona won with a goal from Lionel Messi in the final minute of injury-time. In my very humble opinion, he is the greatest player that there has ever been in the game and there have been a number of great ones over the years. Only he could have scored that goal to win it for his side.

  A mention too for Lecarrow’s own Johnny Caulfield who has steered his Cork City side to an incredible ten wins in a row in the League of Ireland Premier Division. It is early in the season yet but already Cork are nine points ahead of Dundalk. Sensational stuff for sure.

Roscommon GAA: Hurlers return to Down for Christy Ring opener


Christy Ring Cup Round One: Down v Roscommon in Ballycran on Saturday at 1 pm

Roscommon hurlers return to Ballycran on Saturday to meet Down in the Christy Ring Cup and the hope will be that Roscommon’s improvement in recent games can continue. Roscommon played Down at the same venue in the league earlier this year and following a very good display Down eventually prevailed by five points but Roscommon felt that they could have won that game.

  Roscommon manager Johnny Kelly said on Tuesday that if the team can improve their scoring rate, they can win this championship encounter.

  “We will be operating from much the same panel as we had in the league but Noel Fallon is a welcome addition to the panel in the last few weeks. Injuries are still a problem and Jason Kilkenny is almost certain to be out for Saturday as he sustained an injury at the weekend.

  “We played well against Down when we met in the league and in general our performances have been improving and we need to keep that going on Saturday. In fact, we controlled large parts of all our games in the league except for the game against Wicklow but we have been missing too many chances and that has been a recurring theme for us.

  “We have to show more composure in front of goal and if we do that we have a great chance of winning this game. We were desperately unlucky to lose against Mayo and if we play to our potential and have a bit of luck on the day, we can go there and win,” he concluded.

  Roscommon were very unlucky not to have won against Mayo in the league relegation play-off, a late goal for the Mayo men being decisive. Roscommon will be depending on the likes of captain Peter Kellehan, Shane Curley, Pat Nolan, Eamon Flanagan, Johnny Coyne and Cathal Kenny to lead the charge in what will be a difficult game.

  Down will be expecting to win at home but they have not been shooting the lights out this year, losing recently to Armagh in the Ulster championship. But Roscommon are certainly not without hope in this match and if they can take their scoring chances and have a change of luck, which they are due, they could cause a shock. However, it’s hard not to go for a home win.

Prediction: Down.

Sporting World: Tired of cricket scores in underage football!


Before I begin, I genuinely believe the level of coaching has improved across all codes in Roscommon over the last number of years. However, there are still issues at the grassroots level of Gaelic football which need to be addressed if the county wants to make the most of the undoubted talent available in all clubs and schools.

  Every week I receive results from the underage ranks of Roscommon GAA and every week they get the same reaction: utter bemusement.

  Last week’s standout result was 11-8 to 1-7, which is more like the weekend opening hours of a local supermarket than a football scoreline.

  Now, similar results happen across a number of sports so I’m certainly not picking on the GAA. But the reaction from some people I spoke to about this particular game really worried me.

  “Ah sure, that’s the usual. They have to go to Corofin or Dublin for a proper game,” said one.

  It has become obvious that ‘weaker’ clubs merely accept a hammering when faced with certain clubs at underage level. On the flipside, the all-conquering clubs celebrate success at underage level year in, year out.

  This can’t be good for anyone in the county: it’s certainly demoralising for the teams on the receiving end while the victorious ‘conveyor belts’ stroll through competitions without ever reaching their full potential. Then we wonder why Roscommon struggle to be competitive on the national stage.

  Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for this. Underage development is a slow, patient process. The trick is to get the right coaches involved in grassroots football, the kind of coaches who understand that short-term successes are less important than long-term development. Clubs, even the successful ones, need to be on board with this also. A rising tide lifts all boats after all.

Ladies GAA: Five star Wexford end ladies’ league hopes


Lidl Ladies National Football League Semi-Final: Wexford 5-8 Roscommon 0-9

It stands to reason that if you concede five goals then you are not going to win any important game and that was the case here as Roscommon’s defence was simply too porous in this semi-final played in fine weather conditions at Clane, Co. Kildare last Sunday.

  Wexford dominated this game from the start and only for some poor shooting the margin could have been even more. Wexford exploded from the blocks at the start of the game and they blitzed Roscommon. The scoring rate was low early on as Wexford dominated possession but had only two points to show until their first goal arrived in the 14th minute when a poor kick out led to Fiona Rowe converting.

  Then, a couple of minutes later, Roscommon conceded another soft goal and in the 19th minute Wexford were 2-3 to 0-0 ahead. But Roscommon improved before half-time and points from Rebecca Finan and Natalie McHugh (2) saw the situation improve and by half-time it was Wexford 2-4 Roscommon 0-4.

  Fiona Rowe added a third Wexford goal in the 39th minute. Then Clara Donnelly got the Slayneysider’s fourth after 50 minutes and five minutes later Niamh Butler grabbed Wexford’s fifth goal. Wexford will now play Tipperary in the Division Three final.

  For Roscommon, Natalie McHugh, Aisling McAuliffe, Jenny Higgins and Sinead Kenny played well but it was a disappointing performance and now all eyes will turn to the championship.

Wexford: M R Kelly; M Doyle, M Cullen, S Harding-Kenny; C Donnelly (1-2), R Murphy, G Hearne; B Breen (0-1), K Kearney; E O’Brien (0-1), C Murray (0-2), N Butler (1-0); F Rowe (2-0), A Murphy (1-2), S Cloake.

Subs: R Bennett for Hearne, N Mernagh for Rowe, E Cahill for O’Brien, E Neville for Butler, B Doyle for Cullen.

Roscommon: C Manning; H Ennis, A McLoone, A McAulliffe (0-1); S Kenny, B McHugh, G Dufficy; L Fleming, J Higgins (0-2); A Kelly, M Freyne, J Cregg; R Finan (0-2), N McHugh (0-3), C Beirne.

Subs: K Roddy for Manning. S Brady for Beirne, R Fitzmaurice (0-1) for Freyne, J Downey for Kelly.

Referee: G Corrigan (Down)

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