Allianz NFL Division One
It was Breffni re-visited for Roscommon footballers on Saturday last in Salthill when the Primrose and Blue never got going at all against a lively Galway side. In the end, a seven point defeat was an accurate reflection of the play in what was a very poor spectacle on a blustery and cold day.
This latest performance must have left manager Anthony Cunningham and his selectors scratching their heads wondering how the team can play so well against Monaghan, Tyrone and Dublin and then so poorly against Cavan and Galway.
The result now means that Roscommon must beat or draw with Kerry at Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday and hope that neighbours Mayo can do them a favour by beating Monaghan at MacHale Park, if they want to survive in the top division. Not too many people outside the county will be surprised that Roscommon’s Division One fate has come down to the final game, but having seen all their games, it would be a pity if they were relegated after putting in such an effort since the start of the year.
But make no mistake, this was very disappointing. Roscommon won very few breaking balls in the centre of the field and the defence struggled to cope with the pace of Aintaine Ó Laoi, Shane Walsh and Danny Cummins. After Roscommon had played so poorly it was hard to believe that there were only two points between the teams by the 32nd minute (0-9 to 0-7) but a goal and two points for the home side before the half-time whistle put a completely different complexion on matters as the teams went in for the break. Now Galway led by a comfortable seven points. Roscommon were never going to bridge that gap the way they were playing, and so it proved.
The second half of this game was a turgid affair with Galway holding on to the ball and scoring when they were able to engineer the space to do so. Roscommon did battle away but they could never get close to the home side and despite Conor Cox (by far Roscommon’s best player) rifling home a penalty in the 45th minute, Galway never looked troubled.
Conor and Niall Daly battled incredibly hard throughout in defence although Conor was very lucky not to have been sent to the line for a rugby tackle on Shane Walsh early in the second half (he was shown yellow). Shane Killoran did well at midfield although Roscommon were second best in that department.
Conor Cox ploughed almost a lone furrow up front for most of the match but he won some great ball and looked a threat all through. Cathal Cregg had a great first half but he faded out after the break.
For Galway, Shane Walsh was again outstanding and he was well assisted by Aintaine Ó Laoi, Danny Cummins, John Daly, Tom Flynn and Gary O’Donnell. With Damien Comer and the Corofin players to come back into their team, this is a very accomplished Galway outfit who could yet have a say in the destination of the All-Ireland title before the year is out.
For Roscommon, it’s down to one final throw of the dice at Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday next. The Jeckyll and Hyde nature of their performances in the league so far is a worry and the hope will be that Sunday next will be one of the good days. Maybe our ‘friends’ in Mayo will do us a favour too. It’s not over yet!
Galway: Ruairí Lavelle; Eoghan Kerin, Sean Andy Ó Cellaigh, David Wynne; Gary O’Donnell (0-2), John Daly (0-1), Gareth Bradshaw (0-1); Tom Flynn, Ciaran Duggan (0-1); Peter Cooke, Shane Walsh (0-4, 3 frees), Johnny Heaney; Danny Cummins (1-2), Michael Daly (0-1), Antaine Ó Laoí (0-4, 2 frees).
Subs used: Sean Kelly for O’Donnell (58), Finnian O’Laoi for Cummins (68), Padraig Cunningham for Walsh (70), Cein D’Arcy (0-1) for Flynn (72).
Roscommon: Colm Lavin (0-1, a ‘45); David Murray, Conor Daly(0-1), Gary Patterson; Conor Devaney, Niall Daly, Ronan Daly; Tadhg O’Rourke (0-1), Shane Killoran; Niall Kilroy, Cathal Cregg (0-1), Enda Smith (0-1); Ciaran Lennon, Conor Cox (1-4, 1-0 pen, 2 frees), Donie Smith (0-1, a free).
Subs used: Ultan Harney for E Smith (h/t), Sean Mullooly for R Daly (h/t), Aengus Lyons for D Smith (51), Colin Compton for Cregg (56), Hubert D’Arcy for Kilroy (63).
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)