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Mission: To bypass the blanket




If Roscommon do, it can be a ‘super’ start



There is a level of nervous excitement running through the entire county this week as the senior footballers prepare to take part in the first ever Super 8 All-Ireland series. It is fantastic to be part of it and regardless of how it goes for Kevin McStay’s side it will add enormously to the reserves of experience being built up by the team.

  Last weekend’s thrilling win against Armagh will give the players a huge confidence boost as they prepare for the three big games on the way, but as good as that win was on so many levels, they must park that now and prepare for what will be a totally different challenge offered by Tyrone.

  Mickey Harte’s men will come with a tried and tested gameplan that has not changed in the past six or seven years. They will sit back and defend in numbers but they will counter attack with devastating speed using their talented players to notch match-winning scores.

  Even though the Red Hand turned in a ruthless display against Cork last Saturday, it as probably the worst Cork team I have seen in my time covering matches. For more reliable evidence of their form it might be better to look a little further back as they edged out Cavan in a competitive game in the qualifiers in Enniskillen. They were professional and ruthless in equal measure that day.

  The way they play is not easy on the eye but it is very effective. They simply choke the life out of teams before putting them to the sword. They choke up the middle of the field and deny the opposition any space at all. They are not afraid to engage in the dark arts either, ask any player who has faced them over the years in big championship games. They are a very hard side to play against and even harder to beat.

  They have some fantastic players and I will especially pick out their half-back line of Tiernan McCann, Frank Burns and Peter Harte who are all lethal going forward. Then, when you add in Colm Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly, Niall Sludden and Conor McAliskey, it is a Tyrone team that has match winners in every line.

  It is a wonder that the multi-talented Ronan O’Neill is only a sub for Tyrone. He would get on to any team in the country but evidently he does not fit into ‘the system’. He is a deadly accurate forward though and will certainly see some game time on Saturday.

  Roscommon will need to review and rejig this week in preparation for the Tyrone challenge. I hope Cathal Compton is fit to start. We need him around the middle. We also have to tighten up in defence. We were under severe pressure there last weekend and you can be sure that Mickey Harte will have told the likes of Mattie Donnelly, Tiernan McCann and Peter Harte to run directly at the Roscommon defence.

  It is easy to predict what way Tyrone will play, and to win Roscommon will have to trust their attackers to shoot from distance. Ciaráin Murtagh, Diarmuid Murtagh, Cathal Cregg and Donie Smith are all capable of scoring from range and Roscommon will have to do that on Saturday.

  Colm Lavin’s kickouts will have to be flawless as Tyrone will be pushing up and tackling hard. Roscommon will not get the space that they had against Armagh. In the intense heat Roscommon will have to let the ball do the work when they can. We also need Enda Smith to perform the way he is capable. He took the game by the scruff of the neck in O’Moore Park and he remains a really special talent when he is on his game.

  Maybe I am getting carried away or have been out in the sun too long, but I am of the firm opinion that this is a very winnable game. Tyrone are a good side but are not near the quality of their teams of latters year in terms of quality forwards.

  The Roscommon attack holds the key to the outcome of this match. It is possible to go over the blanket defence as Dublin proved last year and as Monaghan proved in the Ulster championship only a few months ago.

  It’s very exciting that Roscommon are now part of this brand new series. I think they can make the rest of the country sit up and take notice by winning this game and set up a massive clash against Donegal in Dr. Hyde park the following week. It may not be pretty  to watch but just imagine what a win would do. It’s entirely possible. Go on lads, believe in yourselves, you can do it!

Prediction: Roscommon



The Lead Story: Who’d be a GAA fixtures secretary?





You’ve got to hand it to the GAA: nobody does fixture lists quite like those lads!

  Trying to avoid watching a Champions League Final involving Liverpool? No problem, we’ll throw on a Connacht Football Championship semi-final to get you away from the TV!

  Dreading a (potential) World Cup final victory for England and the inevitable gloating from a smug Gary Lineker and his cringeworthy cronies? Don’t worry about it chief, we’ll put the Super 8 game of the weekend on at the exact same time!

  As a Manchester United supporting Irishman, I am grateful for the GAA’s forward thinking in this regard. To have a genuine reason not to watch successful Liverpool and England teams is surely why the GAA was founded in the first place? (I jest)

  But who really cares about ‘foreign’ sports clashing with our beloved games, what about fixtures closer to home? One member of a local club was in contact via Twitter this week to highlight the fact that there was a full list of league fixtures down for decision at 6 pm this Sunday. How could those involved enjoy Kerry v Galway and the World Cup final, he wondered?

  According to the secretary of another local club, clubs had the option of rearranging fixtures for midweek or later that evening but it still wasn’t easy to suit everyone.  

  Understandably, it’s difficult getting numbers midweek in rural Ireland during the summer months never mind when there’s unseasonably warm weather. Therefore, finding a time and day that suited everyone could prove more stressful than say, a day at the bog!

  The fact is the club secretary was 100% correct; fixture planning can be a thankless task at the best of times. I mean, if those responsible at GAA headquarters find it difficult to avoid clashing with the Champions League and World Cup finals, what hope does the hard-working secretary of a local club have of pleasing everybody?




Seamus Duke on sport - July 13th




Rossies qualify for Super 8s!

I have watched The Sunday Game twice since last Sunday night and I still can’t figure out whether Ciaran Whelan and Tomas Ó Sé were trying to praise or criticise Roscommon. One minute Roscommon were ‘brilliant’, the next they were ‘very vulnerable’. They said Roscommon ‘could give a lot of teams trouble’ and equally that ‘they could be badly caught’. Talk about covering all their bases! Either way, Roscommon are now where they wanted to be, and that’s in the Super 8s.

  One thing is for certain, there will be upsets and surprises in this competition, and it may not be as straightforward as everyone thinks. Roscommon are now in bonus territory and every outing will bring our team on. With Division One to come in the spring, it is a perfect way to progress.

  I was so glad for the players and for the management after Saturday’s win against Armagh. They have put in a savage amount of work over the past few years and they deserve their day in the sun. I said it already in the match report, but last Saturday was one of the great days in Roscommon football. Hopefully, as they say…the best is yet to come.

  I genuinely feel that if we can tighten up in defence that we can give Tyrone a good rattle on Saturday. They have a system that they play to and they have four of five outstanding players. But they are not the team they were and Roscommon have a great chance against them. If Roscommon were to win this game then we would be playing Donegal in Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday week for a place in the All-Ireland semi-final. Just think about that!

Scenes of celebration on Saturday

The fact that the Roscommon fans ran out on to the field to acclaim their heroes after the win against Armagh attracted much comment on social media. The Tyrone and Cork teams came out to do their warm-ups to be greeted by hundreds of Roscommon fans celebrating the win against Armagh. It was a lovely thing to see and it’s another indication of the level of support that there is in the county for this team. There were plenty of people giving out and complaining. You know what they about the begrudgers…I say the same! The only thing is, I doubt if the Rossies will get away with it if we beat Tyrone on Saturday in Croke Park!

Huge weekend for county’s young footballers

It’s a huge weekend for our young footballers, both boys and girls. The minor ladies team face Kildare on Sunday in Moate in the All-Ireland ‘B’ final. The game in the county is on a high right now and there are many people in the background who are working hard to bring it to a higher level. It is always good to back up this work with success on the field and on the back of the recent Intermediate Connacht title it would be great to add this trophy to the cabinet. We wish everyone concerned the best of luck.

  Before that, on Friday night, the minor footballers face Galway in a revenge mission in the Connacht final. Coming home from Tuam after round one of the championship this year very few Roscommon people would have given the team any chance of being in this position after a 22-point hammering at the hands of the Tribesmen. Full credit to all concerned, they have recovered well and wins against Mayo, Leitrim and Sligo see them in this position now.

  Roscommon have a very good team and some very classy players, but the big question is, have they recovered enough to be able to overcome Galway in this final? It has to be said that Roscommon are prone to lapses in concentration. That was evident against Galway, in the first half against Leitrim and again last Friday night against Sligo. If Roscommon don’t play for the entire 60 minutes then it will not be good enough against a really classy Galway outfit. The best of luck to Paul Staunton, his management team and the players. It’s good to have the match at home in Hyde Park too.

Ballyliffin sparkles for Irish Open

The Irish Open Golf Championships at Ballyliffin was one of the best we have seen to date with drama all the way to the very last putt. It was just a pity that there was no Irish player able to contend.

  The decision to play the championship in Ballyliffin was a huge gamble but with the fantastic weather it paid off and as I said here last week, the publicity that Ballyliffin, Donegal and Ireland got last weekend was simply priceless.

  I sat down for half an hour last Friday evening to watch the Sky Sports coverage and they showed the nearby Slieve League cliffs, the local beaches and mountains, and the stunning scenery. They even featured several dolphins swimming and having fun close to the shore. It was like watching a golf tournament in Florida or The Caribbean. Well done to all concerned. Next year they are off to Lahinch. They will have some job to match what went on this year.

All-Ireland SFC Super 8s Round 1 (All games in Croke Park)

Saturday at 5 pm: Roscommon v Tyrone

This match is previewed in more detail elsewhere in the paper this week, but Tyrone will pose far more problems for Roscommon than Armagh did. It would be one of the sweetest championship wins in many years if Roscommon could pull it off, but Tyrone will simply strangle the life out of Roscommon as they do to most other teams. It will not be pretty.

Prediction: Tyrone.

Saturday at 7 pm: Dublin v Donegal

This is one of those games that could be the makings of the Super 8s. Donegal have nothing to lose and they can give this a lash. However, the loss of Paddy McBrearty is massive. Donegal have plenty of very good players but it is hard to see anything other than a Dublin win. It could be close, but the juggernaut to roll on.

Prediction: Dublin.

Sunday at 2 pm: Monaghan v Kildare

Kildare will come in to this game oozing with confidence and Monaghan will have to be about their business to win. I am so impressed with the Kildare attack and Daniel Flynn in particular. But if Monaghan bring their ‘A’ game they should be good enough to start this competition with a win.

Prediction: Monaghan.

Sunday at 4 pm: Galway v Kerry

In direct competition with the World Cup Final, this will be a fascinating game. Will the Kerry young guns be able to break the Galway defensive shield? Galway were less than convincing winners of the Connacht final, while Kerry eviscerated Cork in the Munster final. I am giving a hesitant vote to The Kingdom.

Prediction: Kerry.

All-Ireland SHC Quarter-Finals

Clare v Wexford at Pairc Ui Caoimh on Saturday at 3 pm

What a game this promises to be. Davy Fitzgerald in opposition to his beloved native county. This could be one of the contests of what has already been a memorable championship. Clare might have just enough firepower to survive. It might go to extra-time though.

Prediction: Clare.

Limerick v Kilkenny in Semple Stadium on Sunday at 2 pm

It’s a quick turnaround for the Cats who were excellent in defeat in the Leinster final against Galway. Only a fool would write off the chances of Kilkenny but Limerick look a good side this year and they will come into the match fresh.

Prediction: Limerick.


Minors can gain revenge – and title!





Electric Ireland Connacht U-17 Football Final
Roscommon v Galway at Dr. Hyde Park on Friday at 7.30 pm


Coming home from Tuam after the first round of the Connacht U-17 football championship I was struggling to recall a Roscommon team on the end of such a hammering as was handed out that evening. I had seen this team in action several times in 2017 and I was shocked that they had surrendered so meekly on the night. How could a good team become a bad one in the space of a few months?

  But the round-robin format ensured that Roscommon had a chance to recover, and recover they did. Now they will have a chance to prove that what happened in round one was just one of those things that happen in sport every now and then. One thing is for certain: it will be easy to give the team talk in the Roscommon dressing room on Friday night! Revenge is a dish best served cold!

  The win against Mayo was Roscommon’s best performance since that aberration against Galway. Yes, there were big wins against Leitrim and Sligo but there were lapses of concentration during those games that are a worry as this big game comes up. If Roscommon do not play to their ability for the entire 60 minutes on Friday night then they will not be winning this Connacht title.

  Galway have breezed through this Connacht campaign although they were tested by Mayo in Tuam a few weeks ago. They have some marvellous players like Conor Raftery, Ryan Monaghan, Cathal Sweeney and Oisin Gormley and they will come to Hyde Park in a confident mood especially after the drubbing they handed out to Roscommon a couple of months ago.

  I like this Roscommon attack and the full-forward line in particular. Eoghan Derwin, Adam McDermott and James Fitzpatrick are clever, skilful players who are all able to score. Further out the field Shane Cunnane and Enda Crawley will have to get a grip on the midfield sector to provide ammunition for the forward division.

  But Roscommon will need every player to be ready to give their all for the jersey on Friday night. The odds have to favour Galway, given the way they have played in this championship. Anything can happen at this level and if Roscommon can pull out a performance like the one we saw against Mayo then it could be a great night at Dr. Hyde Park.

  The carrot is huge. The winners will face Clare in the All-Ireland quarter-final while the losers will have to play Kerry. It would be some story if Roscommon could turn a 22-point defeat into a Connacht title against the same opposition. You know something? I think that it’s entirely possible.

Prediction: Roscommon.


Minors can add more ladies’ silverware



All-Ireland Ladies Football Minor ‘B’ Championship Final

Roscommon v Kildare in Moate on Sunday at 2 pm


The rise in fortunes of Roscommon ladies football can continue on Sunday when their minors face Kildare in the ‘B’ final in Moate. After their dramatic win against Antrim in the semi-final, Ollie Colgan’s side will be confident that they can bring home the title.

  I visited the Roscommon camp as they prepared for the big game last week and team manager Ollie Colgan reports a clean bill of health, which is always a bonus going into a final.

  Kildare are a strong, physical team and Roscommon will know them well as the sides met at U-16 level last year with the Lilywhites winning by a point. Their best-known players are Lauren Murtagh, Molly Aspel and Lara Cullen who line out at centre half-back and at midfield and Roscommon will have to be ready for the battle for possession in that midfield sector.

  There are several players on this Roscommon team who will be looking to step up to Michael Finneran’s intermediate team and an All-Ireland title would be a big help for the confidence of the entire squad. The ultimate aim of the people behind the development drive in Roscommon ladies football is to get the elite teams to ‘A’ level at underage and to senior level too.

  It’s all about player development and with players of the quality of Sasha Lavin, Kelley Colgan, Marie Kelly, Aimee O’Connor, Aoife Gavin, Sinead Gavin and Mikaela McHugh on board, the future looks bright for ladies’ football in the county.

  Roscommon have some great attacking players and if they can get enough ball on Sunday they can do damage.

  Of course it’s important to win titles and this Roscommon team looks well equipped to continue the upward curve of the ladies game in the county.

Prediction: Roscommon.

McStay: ‘This team came of age today’



Roscommon manager Kevin McStay believes Saturday’s win over Armagh was a “coming of age” moment in the development of his team.

“It’s fantastic, you can hear the noise coming out of the dressing room there now. We know the other side of it after the dejection of the Connacht final but more important is that we have three huge championship games to further develop this team.

  “Today was a coming of age for this team and Armagh put up a huge battle. We wobbled a few times and we came back great every time and we got the scores we needed. We also missed a few goal chances as well but it is so good to come out the right side of a game like that.

  “On a day like that you are just trying to keep your wits about you and it was so vital to be able to bring fresh legs in. Gary Patterson came on and made a few vital interceptions and every sub we had today made a vital contribution and that is so important in conditions like today,” he said.

  While there was a lot at stake last Saturday, McStay said his charges can only play the game one way and defensive football was never an option.

  “There was a lot at stake for sure and it is nice to hear that it was such a good game but to be honest we cannot play a kind of attritional ‘thirteen behind the ball’ game. We haven’t the physicality to play that game; we are more of a footballing side.

  “It is brilliant now we are getting ready for the Super 8s. It’s what we have been talking about for the past few months. The players have been setting the targets, not us (the management), we have been just steering them in the right direction. Beyond that we have given ourselves a great shot in the arm ahead of next week. I am not saying we will win any games in the Super 8s but we will be very competitive, that’s for sure,” he concluded.



Wins for Athleague, Four Roads and Pearses



Donoghue the difference!


Pádraig Pearses 2-13  

St. Dominic’s 1-12


Pádraig Pearses squeezed past the spirited challenge of St. Dominic’s when they produced a good second half display to get over the line. Cathal Kelly’s goal gave Pearses an early advantage but Dominic’s hit back with John Murray’s goal and by half-time the sides were level at 1-8 apiece.

  But Pearses were sharper after the break and sub Mike Donoghue was the trump card for the champions, scoring 1-1 after his introduction.

Scorers: Pearses: D Glynn (0-8), M Donoghue (1-1), C Kelly (1-0), D Loughnane (0-2), L Fehily and S Naughton (0-1). St. Dominic’s: N Connaughton (0-8), J Murray (1-0), M Byrne, R Kilcline, N Watson and S Naughton (0-1) each.


In a different ‘league!

Athleague 5-24    

Roscommon Gaels 1-7


It was one-way traffic at Athleague last Friday night as the home side had 29 points to spare over a very poor town team. Ben McGahon was the goalscorer in the opening half as Seamus Qualter’s team led by 1-14 to 0-4 at half-time.

  A string of fine points saw Athleague push out the lead to 18 points by the 48th minute. Thomas Connaughton, Eoghan Coyle and Eamon Flanagan (2) weighed in with goals in the final ten minutes to add to the Gaels’ woe. Gearoid Egan’s late goal was hardly a crumb of comfort for them.

Scorers: Athleague: Eamon Flanagan (2-11), B McGahon (1-5), T Connaughton and E Coyle (1-1) each, D Flaherty and C Kelly (0-2) ach, D Heavey and D Mullen (0-1) each. Roscommon Gaels: C Egan (0-5), G Egan (1-1), C Tarmey (0-1).


Roads’ run continues

Four Roads 2-29  

Tremane 3-7


Four Roads laid down another impressive marker when they put up a big score in their dismissal of Tremane in Athleague. A goal from Johnny Coyne early on set the Tisrara men on the road and despite Joe Brennan grabbing two opportunist goals, Four Roads led by 1-14 to 2-4 at half-time.

  Conor Mulry added to Four Roads’ total with an early goal after the break and there followed some very impressive point taking as they put Tremane to the sword. Jack Naughton’s goal was of consolation value only as the game was over as a contest a long time before the final whistle.

Scorers: Four Roads: A Lawlor (0-7), C Dolan (0-5), J Coyne and C Mulry (1-2) each, C Coyle (0-4), E Mulry and B Mulry (0-2) each, J Donnelly, S Curley, M Kelly, E Rogerson, and D McCarthy (0-1) each. Tremane: J Brennan (2-1), J Naughton (1-1), S Mahony (0-2), W Boyle, K Kellehan, L Óg Murray (0-1) each.


Supporters urged to back Club Rossie draw


Roscommon manager Kevin McStay earlier this week encouraged everybody to get behind Club Rossie and the Club Rossie draw.

  He said: “I was involved originally in the review of Roscommon GAA which was carried out about five years ago. That was when we changed the leagues and championship structures and created Club Rossie. I knew at the time we were creating something special.

  “However, I never knew until I got involved with the management of the senior team, just how much work Club Rossie actually do.

We have over 20 players based in Dublin; it costs money for those players to travel to and from training. All players need to be fed after training and matches. This money comes from Club Rossie fundraising. 

  “We’re on a new adventure as we enter the Super 8s, we’re up there with the top teams in the country. Success does not come cheaply and this next month will see additional costs being incurred by the board. Next year we’re in Division One. All this success means additional costs and the Club Rossie draw creates that income”.

  Senior football captain Conor Devaney added: “We have great supporters who travel and support our teams. We as players really appreciate that, now I’m asking you all, if you can, to buy a Club Rossie ticket or join with a friend to buy one between two of you.

  “A top prize of €20,000 would make anybody’s summer, there are great prizes on offer and I counted 22 different prizes including shopping vouchers, holidays, cash prizes and All-Ireland tickets. 

  “Our hurlers are performing well, the U-21 hurlers are out against Meath on Saturday, our Minor footballers are in the Connacht final on Friday, Our U-20s lost the Connacht final to Mayo after defeating a fancied Galway team. Things are going well in the county we need to ensure it continues. Please come on board and join us in Club Rossie”.

  Tickets for the Club Rossie draw, which has been put back to a later date, cost €100 and can be bought via the Club Rossie website www.clubrossie.ie, from each club in Roscommon or by ringing Pat on 087-2361794 or David on 086-8399584.



Promised Land is just beyond The Orchard




All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 4

Roscommon v Armagh at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise on Saturday at 3 pm

Even though caution must be the watchword, almost every Roscommon football supporter was hoping that their team would come out of the hat with the winners of the Armagh v Clare match, and so it transpired. It provides Roscommon with an excellent chance to get to the promised land of the Super 8s and a thrilling series of games against top class opposition.

  Yes, Roscommon will have to go about their business with serious intent, but realistically this is a game that Kevin McStay’s men should win. I’ll put it this way, if Roscommon do not beat Armagh then they simply do not deserve to be in the final 8.

  The three-week break since the Connacht Final loss has been an ideal amount of time for recovery. It afforded time for the players to lick their wounds and take stock before coming back with renewed enthusiasm. According to all reports, training has been going well. The team have played a couple of challenge games in the past week or so and they did well in both, so they should be ready for the challenge.

  Looking back is pointless, but the management will be keen to address the slack second-half display in the Connacht final when the team seemed to lose concentration and focus. It is something that they will want to rule out of their play this weekend.

  It is good to hear that Cathal Compton is back in training; we all know what happened when he went off against Galway. The return to full training of Niall Daly and Ultan Harney is also welcome. We need to stamp our authority on the middle sector on Saturday.

  The Roscommon defence was outstanding against Galway and hopefully that will be the case on Saturday. We need our attack to fire for the 70 minutes and not 45 as happened in the Connacht final. The players are there, they have to go out and do it now because it’s down to this 70 minutes.

  Armagh are not a typical ‘northern’ defensive team but they will certainly have a sweeper patrolling the half-back line on Saturday. Against Clare last week they were behind for most of the game before coming with a late scoring burst of 1-5 to win it.

  They have a good record in the qualifier competition and under Kieran McGeeney they will be very well organised. In fact, if Armagh had a number of the players (including Jamie Clarke) available to them that are either away or injured then Roscommon would be facing a much more formidable side.

  They rely on the strength of Brendan Donaghy and Arron McKay at numbers 3 and 6 respectively, with half-backs Mark Shields and Connaire Mackin pacy and attack-minded.

  Armagh’s strongest sector is arguably their midfield pairing of the experienced Charlie Vernon and Stephen Sheridan. Niall Grimley leads the attack and is playing very well this year. Captain of the team, Rory Grugan, Andrew Murnin and Aidan Forker form a dangerous inside line.

  Armagh ran away with Division 3 this year and are now on a roll after a few good qualifier wins. They will look at this game against Roscommon as a great chance for them to make the Super 8s and will travel with confidence.

  But Roscommon have got the draw they wanted and this is a very winnable game. We are now down to knockout football and while Roscommon will have to play well, I sense a determination and drive among players and management that the Super 8s is where they want to be. It is so important to get there for the development of this team.

  It might be closer than a lot of people think as Armagh will give it everything and there will be a huge crowd there on another scorching hot day. If Roscommon can box clever and get the ball into the Murtaghs, Smiths and the rest of the attack, the Primrose and Blue have the scoring power to win the match by four or five points. The Super 8s beckon!

Prediction: Roscommon.


Athleague hit champions for six!



Kepak Roscommon SHC


Athleague 6-9

Pádraig Pearses 2-15


It was raining goals in the blazing sun in Athleague last Sunday evening as Seamus Qualter’s side opened their campaign with a five point win against the defending champions. No one will be getting carried away at this early stage but Athleague will be very happy with their lot after this opening victory.

  In fact, Pearses played reasonably well in this game but they conceded some really soft goals, and once Athleague got into the game those goals proved crucial. Eamon Flanagan led the Athleague side in impressive fashion and despite the heroics of Adam Finnerty and Daniel Glynn for the champions, Athleague deserved to win.

  The home side had their first goal on the board in the second minute when Eoin Coyle was on target. With the score at 0-3 to 1-0, Athleague struck again in the 11th minute when Robbie Fallon pounced after Eamon Flanagan’s shot was well saved by Padraig Dolan. But Pearses hit back immediately when Glynn fired home a great goal after an incisive run.

  Points from Daniel Glynn left just a point between the teams in the 18th minute before Athleague had their third goal from Aengus Lyons following a great run, and a minute later the rampant Flanagan scored another Athleague goal to leave the score at Athleague 4-0 Pearses 1-5.

  Athleague’s first point didn’t come until the 27th minute, from Eamon Flanagan, and then in injury-time Robbie Fallon crashed home another Athleague goal, and at half-time we had a very unusual scoreline of Athleague 5-5 Pearses 1-9.

  Incredibly the first score of the second half was yet another Athleague goal within a minute of the restart from Cian Murray. The play settled down after that and Pearses tried valiantly to get back into it but the damage had been done with that avalanche of goals earlier in the game.

  Adam Finnerty had a superb game for Pearses but he could not inspire his side to a comeback and despite a well-taken goal from Leon Fehily in the 55th minute Athleague were home and dry.

  Best for Athleague were Eamon Flanagan, Niall Connolly, Alan Moore, Robbie Fallon and Aengus Lyons. Pearses were best served on the night by Adam Finnerty, Daniel Glynn, Leon Fehily, Tomas Seale and Cathal Kelly.

  It was a feast of attacking play and a great win for Athleague but there’s a lot of hurling to be played before the Mickey Cunniffe Cup is handed out.

Teams and Scorers

Athleague: David Connell; JP Murray, David Delaney, Niall Connolly; Aengus Lyons (1-1), Gary Fallon, Pat Nolan; Darragh Heavey, Alan Moore; Eoin Coyle (1-0), Eamon Flanagan (1-6, 2 frees), Cormac Kelly; Cian Murray (1-0), Robbie Fallon (2-1), Ben McGahon.

Subs: David Flaherty for McGahon (42), Mervyn Connaughton for Murray (49), Tomas Connaughton (0-1) for R Fallon (60).

Pádraig Pearses: Padraig Dolan; Mark Naughton, Karl Fehily, Keelan Daly; Andrew Flood (0-1), David Loughnane, Jimmy Donghue; Tomas Seale, Leon Fehily (1-1); Cathal Kelly, Daniel Glynn (1-9, 6 frees, 1 s/l), Jamie Curley (0-1); Adam Finnerty (0-3), Jamie Donoghue, Matt Fehily.

Subs: Paul Dolan for Jimmy Donoghue (20), Oisin Kelly for Jamie Donoghus (h/t), JP Dolan for Matt Fehily (h/t), Eoghan Cogavin for Curley (48).

Referee: Tom Killion


Wides: Athleague 13 Pádraig Pearses 10

Man of the Match: Eamon Flanagan (Athleague)

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