Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC (Group B)
St. Faithleach’s 2-7
Strokestown were the fully deserving winners of this feisty clash of the neighbours in Strokestown last Sunday afternoon. The home side needed at least a draw to ensure they were not dragged into a relegation scrap while the visitors had to win following two losses. But the home side got their noses in front in the second quarter, and while Faithleach’s never gave up, the home side always looked in control and they had a bit to spare in the end if truth be told.
Faithleach’s’ season is imploding after a promising league campaign. The three Murtagh brothers started but none finished the game as Brian and Diarmuid were shown red cards (two yellows each) and Ciaráin (just returned from his summer in the USA) was carried off the field with seven minutes to go with a nasty looking ankle injury.
Strokestown, on the other hand, were well organised and well up for this match. Cathal Brogan and David Neary were outstanding in defence, Paddy Brogan brilliantly directed traffic at midfield and up front Colin Compton was outstanding.
It was three points each after a low-key opening quarter with Colin Compton scoring three frees for the home side and Diarmuid Murtagh (free) Dave Rooney and Darragh Hussey on target for Faithleach’s.
The key score of the opening half arrived in the 23rd minute when Brogan and Diarmuid McGann did the spadework and Tony Lavin punched to the net to give his side a four-point lead. Points from Diarmuid Murtagh (free) followed by a splendid effort from play from Ciaráin Murtagh and an equally impressive strike from Keelan Beirne meant that at half-time it was Strokestown 1-6 St. Faithleach’s 0-6.
On a couple of occasions in the second half Faithleach’s reduced the margin to two but every time they threatened Strokestown were able to go downfield and get that vital score.
In the 36th minute Darragh Hussey was clean through on goal but Paddy Brogan made a superb tackle to disposes the Faithleach’s man and the danger was cleared. Eight minutes later Brian Murtagh was red-carded after getting two yellow cards within a minute, but Faithleach’s battled on.
By the 52nd minute points from Darragh Hussey, Ciaráin Murtagh and a converted free from Diarmuid saw the gap down to just one. But Ciaráin Murtagh had been carried off in the incident that led to the awarding of the free. It was a huge blow for Faithleach’s.
But Strokestown never panicked and they swept downfield two minutes later and McGann was the creator once more with Colin Compton supplying a cool finish. It was game, set and match to Strokestown after that and indeed there was more disappointment to come for Faithleach’s as Diarmuid Murtagh was shown a second yellow by referee Gerry Carmody in injury-time.
Strokestown march on into the quarter-finals after a poor start to the campaign, while for Faithleach’s they will have to face a relegation battle without Ciaráin Murtagh and they have really slipped back in terms of their form since reaching the O’Rourke Cup final earlier in the year.
Strokestown: John McHugh; Kevin Shiel, Cathal Brogan (0-1), David Neary; Dylan Owens, Keelan Beirne (0-1), Michael Fallon; Paddy Brogan, David Butler; Tony Lavin (1-1), Daniel Rogers, Cian Lavelle; Keith Murphy, Colin Compton (1-6, 5 frees), Diarmuid McGann (0-2). Subs: Ruairi Molloy (0-1) for Lavelle (54), Cian Corcoran for Butler (58), Luke Kelly for Brogan (63).
St. Faithleach’s: Mark Tarmey; Stephen Ormsby, Mikey Cox, Karl Nerney; David Harrison, Adrian Murtagh, Kevin Farrell; Brian Murtagh, Cathal Gunn; Diarmuid Murtagh (0-6, 5 frees), Ciaráin Murtagh (0-3), Dave Rooney (0-1); Aidan Dooney, Darren Carbery, Darragh Hussey (0-3). Subs: James Browne for Nerney (24), Senan O’Grady for Gunn and Connell Kennelly for Carbery (both h/t), Jonathan Hussey for Rooney and Colm Mangan for Dooney (both 45), Darren Carbery for C Murtagh (52).
Referee: Gerry Carmody