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Pearses reach the Promised Land at last

 

 

 

 

Hodson Bay Group SFC Final

Pádraig Pearses 2-10 Roscommon Gaels 1-10

“I’ve failed over and over again. That’s why I succeed”

 

Basketball legend Michael Jordan may not have had Pádraig Pearses in mind when he made that statement but it certainly applies to the men from Taughmaconnell, Moore and Creagh as, after appearing in seven finals with no return, they finally got their hands on the Fahey Cup and their first ever Roscommon SFC title at the eighth time of asking at Dr. Hyde Park last Sunday.

  The three-point margin would suggest a closely fought encounter, however Pearses thoroughly deserved to win the game on the balance of play. They did however stutter with the winning post in sight and that opened the door for a Gaels team who were well beaten, but refused to throw in the towel. Maybe it was the weight of history on their shoulders and the enormity of what they were about to achieve, but Pearses retreated into their own half and almost paid the price.

  In fact, the final fourteen minutes of the match were tension-filled and dramatic. In the 55th minute, Pearses led by seven points when Roscommon Gaels were awarded a free. A mini-melee broke out with players on both sides involved. When the dust settled referee Marty Parker decided to issue two straight red cards to Cian Connolly and Bryan O’Gara, which incensed the Gaels management and many supporters as they felt that both sides were equally guilty, yet Pearses had escaped without sanction.

  It could be argued that Roscommon Gaels played their best football when they were down to 13 men as they scored a goal and a point after that incident. But despite over eight minutes of injury-time, during which the town team were camped in the Pearses half, there was to be no more late drama and Pearses held out for a historic victory. When they look back this week the new champions will wonder how they made it so difficult for themselves as they were by far the best team for most of the game.

  Pearses won this game in the twenty minutes leading up to half-time. Conor Daly was majestic as he popped up everywhere around the middle. The Gaels midfield was under pressure and Pearses played some wonderful football in that twenty-minute spell. Conor Payne’s goal in the 13th minute was beautifully constructed. Super points from Paul Carey, Emmet Kelly and Conor Daly increased their lead, and then when Emmet Kelly and Paul Carey set up Hubert Darcy for another great goal in the 23rd minute, Pat Flanagan’s men were on their way.

  By contrast, the Gaels were under pressure and struggling to cope with Pearses’ power game. A seven-point half-time lead (2-7 to 0-6) was no more than Pearses deserved.

  But credit to the Gaels, they changed formation in the second half and brought John McManus and Mark Nally into midfield and it strengthened them in that area. But the town team could still not find the spark they needed to trouble Pearses. In truth, it was only in that final frantic period that they gave Pearses a fright. Another spectacular goal from Richard Hughes in the final minute of normal time was just too little too late.

  A lot of the after-match talk centred around Pearses having played against tougher opposition on their way to the final. It was surely a factor that Pat Flanagan’s men had come through tough battles against Clann, Western Gaels, Brigid’s and Boyle, and it certainly appeared that this left them better prepared for last Sunday’s decider.

  Anthony Butler, Mark Richardson and Davy Murray were outstanding in defence and Niall Carty and Niall Daly were once again very effective around the middle third, while up front Lorcan Daly turned in his best performance of the year. Not far behind him were Paul Carey and Hubert Darcy. However my Man of the Match was Conor Daly. He was majestic from the first whistle and his leadership and clever use of the ball was key as Pearses built up that strong first-half lead.

  It was a day that anyone who has ever been associated with the Pearses club will never forget. I met many former players and officials out on the field after the game who had tears of joy in their eyes. They have waited 57 long years since the foundation of the club to get their hands on the Fahey Cup. There have been so many near-misses and heartbreak over the years but all that was washed away last Sunday.

  Spare a thought for Roscommon Gaels who have come up short once again this year. They have been so close over the past four or five years and once again they have found that it was not to be. Too many of their players under-performed on the day and it cost them dearly. In the cold light of day they will admit that they were beaten by a better team, but under Liam McNeill they have become a formidable force. They put in a huge effort this year and left no stone unturned in their preparations and they will be heartbroken to have lost. The big question now is, will they have the resilience to come back and give it another try in 2020?

  But to the victor the spoils, and after waiting almost six decades Pádraig Pearses are now the Roscommon senior football champions. Sport is like that. Dreams actually do come true and as Michael Jordan says, you fail over and over again and that’s why you succeed.

 

Pádraig Pearses

Paul Whelan; Shane Carty, Mark Richardson, David Murray; Anthony Butler, Ronan Daly, Gavin Downey; Niall Daly, Conor Daly (0-2); Lorcan Daly (0-1), Niall Carty, Paul Carey (0-2); Emmet Kelly (0-3, 1 free), Hubert Darcy (1-1, 1 free), Conor Payne (1-1).

 

Subs used: Tom Butler for Kelly (47), Alan Duffy for Carey (49), Sean Ryan for Payne (63), Sean Fahy for Downey (66), Niall Finneran for L Daly (67).

 

Roscommon Gaels

James Fetherstone; Tim Lambe (0-1), John McManus (0-1), Mike McNeill; Kevin O’Gara, Richard Hughes (1-0), Paul Gleeson; Mark Healy, Kieran Kilcline; Scott Oates, David O’Gara, Brian Kelly; Ronan Carolan (0-2, 1 free), Cian Connolly (0-5, 4 frees), Peter Gillooly (0-1).

 

Subs used: Mark Nally for Gillooly (39), Bryan O’Gara for Healy (42), Ronan Gleeson for McNeill (44), Cathal Dineen for Kelly (49), James O’Gara for K O’Gara (62), Richard Walsh for Kilcline (66).

 

Referee: Marty Parker.

 

 

 

Brigid’s youngsters complete four-in-a-row

 

 

 

 

Earley Consulting MFC ‘A’ Final

St. Brigid’s 1-10

Clann na nGael 0-6

St. Brigid’s made it four minor ‘A’ football titles in a row when they were too strong for Clann na nGael in what was a disappointing curtain-raiser at Dr. Hyde Park last Sunday. The lads from Kiltoom were by far the better team throughout but they found it difficult to shake off a determined Clann outfit.

  In fact, with just three minutes to go there was only three points between the teams and it was only in the final few minutes that Brigid’s tacked on four points without reply to run out the easy winners.

  The heavy showers made the surface slippy and scores were hard to come by. Fionnan Henry and Ben O’Carroll swapped pointed frees inside the opening five minutes before the only goal of the game arrived in the 9th minute when Eoghan Derwin set up Ben O’Carroll and he finished with aplomb.

  But despite looking the better side, Brigid’s couldn’t pull away and Clann were always in touch. Points from Cian Fallon-McGowan (2 frees) and Josh Lennon levelled the scores after 24 minutes. But points from Eoghan Derwin (a ’45) and Ben O’Carroll saw Brigid’s ahead by 1-3 to 0-4 at half-time.

  Cormac Canny hit the post when through on goal in the 38th minute and Brigid’s followed up with points from Derwin and  Robbie Dolan to open up a four-point lead by the 41st minute. But Clann were not relenting and it was a struggle for Brigid’s at times.

  Eventually Brigid’s got a grip on proceedings late on and the best player on the field, Ben O’Carroll, was at the centre of most of their good play. He kicked two points within a minute (one free), and when Brian Monaghan and sub Shane Kelly scored in injury-time the cup was on its way back to Kiltoom.

St. Brigid’s: Evan Gallagher; Faolan Kennedy, Sean Trundle, Liam Egan; Luke Griselain, Robbie Dolan (0-1), Shane Keenan; Brian O’Hara-Duggan, Ruaidhri Fallon; Brian Monaghan (0-1), Cormac Canny, Ultan Ó Ruairc; Ben O’ Carroll (1-5, 2 frees) Darragh Murray, Eoghan Derwin (0-2, ’45 free). Subs: Ciaran Quinn for Ó Ruairc (37), Conor Hand for O’Hara-Duggan (58), Gavin Daly for Egan (59), Luke O’Rourke for Keenan and Shane Kelly (0-1) for Derwin (both 62), Adam Samuels for Canny (63).

Clann na nGael: Declan McManus; Cian Gavin, Jason Ryan, Dan Westman; Paddy Gavin, Michael Kelly, Ian Harney; Aaron Oyiki, Tom Shine; Dean Reynolds, Josh Lennon (0-1), Mark Naughton; Cian Fallon-McGowan (0-3, frees), Fionnan Henry (0-1, free), Fearghus Lennon (0-1). Subs: Joe Duignan for Westmean (h/t), John Shine for Henry and John Feeney for Reynolds (51), Conor O’Reilly for Fallon-McGowan (63).

Referee: Brendan Healy.

 

Man of the Match:
Ben O’Carroll (St. Brigid’s)

 

 

Tulsk favourites for intermediate glory

 

 

Mulryan Construction IFC Final

 

Oran v Tulsk Lord Edwards on Sunday in Dr. Hyde Park at 4 pm

 

 

There is a familiar narrative surrounding this intermediate football final on Sunday: Tulsk are the favourites and Oran are the outsiders. Tulsk supporters will not need me to remind them that their team has flattered to deceive over the years. Is it finally time for them to deliver a first title in 35 years at this grade?

  The formbook would say yes as Tulsk have been very impressive on their way to this decider. They look strong throughout the field and have posted impressive totals as well. They look well-balanced with some excellent performers. Of course, the likes of Padraig Scott and Tadgh O’Rourke will be expected to lead their charge but there are some very eye-catching youngsters too like Thomas O’Rourke, Gerry Galvin, Timmy Fitzmaurice and Jack Conlon.

  I have seen Tulsk play twice in this campaign and have been very impressed by their overall strength and their ability to wear teams down with their powerful running game. Some of their attacking play has been a joy to watch.

  Oran have certainly been plagued by injuries but they will go into this match as underdogs and that will suit them. They have some really talented young players like Kieran Whyte, Darragh Walsh, Colin Walsh, John Martin, James Fitzpatrick, Charlie Carty and Ciaran Lawless to name just a few.

  But while Oran have always got class  footballers in their ranks it is only fair to say that the loss of players like Tom Fetherston and Gearoid Keenan will be massive in a game like this.

  It would be a major shock if Oran were to win this intermediate final. Tulsk’s time has finally come.

Prediction: Tulsk

 

 

Dominic’s land first title in 28 years!

 

 

 

 

 

Roscommon Camogie Senior Club Final

 

St. Dominic’s 3-9

 

Four Roads 1-9

 

 

 

History was made in Athleague last Saturday when St. Dominic’s became the first team from the club to win a county senior title in 28 years. Four Roads had come into the match as the hot favourites but they were defeated by the better team on the day and there were wild celebrations as the Knockcroghery based club took the title against the odds.

  With Caroline Dowling and Susan Spillane in control around midfield it was Dominic’s who seized the initiative from the opening whistle. Spillane, Niamh Watson and Aimee O’Connor grabbed some great scores from play and the placed ball. Gertie Down was doing well for Four Roads but they were very dependent on Shauna Fallon’s free taking.

  Just before half-time Aimee O’Connor stole in behind the Four Roads cover to slip in a goal and a point from Niamh Fitzgerald meant that Dominic’s led by 1-9 to 0-4 at half-time.

  But Four Roads were back in business shortly after the break when Aisling Dempsey scored a fine goal. Further points from Dempsey and Shauna Fallon (2 frees) saw the sides level mid-way through the second period.

  There was a controversial decision in that second half when referee Joe Dermody adjudged that Shauna Fallon was guilty of second yellow card offence and he sent off the Four Roads ace.

  Then Dominic’s struck for two crucial goals to wrest the title away from Four Roads. Firstly Anna Campbell flicked home from close range and then shortly after that a long-range free from Spillane went all the way to the Four Roads net. Dominic’s had finally broken the Four Roads resistance and celebrated in style.

  Best for Dominic’s on a memorable day for the club were Susan Spillane, Aimee O’Connor, Emear McNally, Niamh Watson and Aine O’Meara. For Four Roads, Gertie Dowd, Shauna Fallon and sub Lizzie Glennon were most prominent.

 

St. Dominic’s: C Connaughton: A Dolan, E McNally, C Cox; R Dolan, A O’Meara, J Beattie; C Dowling (0-1), S Spillane (1-3); C Miley (0-1), N Watson (0-2), J Healy; C Kilcommins, A O’Connor (1-1), N Fitzgerald (0-1).

Subs: A Coyle for Cox, A Campbell (1-0) for Kilcommins.

 

Four Roads: C Mulry; K Carty, E Lennon, D Kelly; S Coyle (1-0), G Dowd, A Fallon; P Lennon, S Fallon (0-6); L Gacquin, O Kelly (0-1), N Crean; A Dempsey (0-1), N Coyle (0-1), S O’Brien.

Subs: L Glennon for S Coyle, M Lohan for P Lennon, LCarty for O’Brien.

 

Referee: J Dermody

Seamus Duke on sport - October 18th

 

 

 

Pádraig Pearses’ historic day at the Hyde

Sunday, October 13th 2019 is a day that will go down in the annals of the Pádraig Pearses GAA Club as the day they finally ascended to the top of the Roscommon club football tree. Since their formation 57 years ago and particularly over the past 15 years, they have been knocking on the door, and on Sunday it opened wide for them. I don’t think there is anyone who would begrudge them this marvellous victory and they were the better team on the day.

  However, they almost let it slip. When the magnitude of what they were about to achieve dawned on them, they froze and allowed Roscommon Gaels back into the match. It doesn’t matter now, but they will be wondering how they were hanging on at the finish having been in control for so long.

  Overall they have had a super campaign and they have some really fine players. The Daly brothers have been outstanding, Davy Murray, Mark Richardson and Shane Carty too. Niall Carty, played in his 6th final - what a servant to the club he has been!

  There are new heroes too like Paul Carey, Hubert Darcy and Conor Payne and of course Tom Butler, who has made a huge contribution off the bench.

  Having spent a lifetime in Roscommon GAA, I know many of the Pearses people very well. Out on the pitch after the game I met several stars of the past as well as people who served the club over the years and they were crying openly as the Fahey Cup was being presented. That’s the beauty of club football. Family and the parish are what it’s all about.

  But sport is cruel. Not far away from the ecstatic Pearses people stood the Roscommon Gaels players and mentors who were devastated. Having being involved at a lower level in the club this year I know the massive effort that they put into this championship. Under Liam McNeill no stone was left unturned and I know many of the lads personally and they will be hurting this week.  

  However, it has to be admitted that Pearses were the better team, they played the better football and they deserved to win. Too many of the Gaels players played poorly on the day.  

  One thing that really annoyed the Gaels however were the two red cards late on. Gaels mentors and players felt that there were two teams involved in the incident and yet Pearses escaped any sanction, which was unfair. It is hard to argue with that view but it certainly didn’t affect the result. The best team won on the day by a long way.

  It was also good to see such a healthy crowd. It was the biggest that I have seen at a county senior final in many years which is very positive.

 

Intermediate and junior finals this Sunday

 

This Sunday there will be more excitement when the intermediate and junior finals are played in Dr. Hyde Park.

  In the intermediate final, Tulsk have been knocking on the door for the past number of years and they will surely hope that they can get across the line this year. They have a good all-round team and will be the deserved favourites to win. But they will take Oran lightly at their peril. The outsiders are plagued with injuries yet they have some very talented younger players.

  In the junior final, Ballinameen will be hoping to win the title for the ‘junior’ clubs. It would signal a great end to the campaign for them if they were to win but Brigid’s will have something to say about that. They faltered against Clann in the first match in the semi-final but they put up a huge total in the replay. A lot of the talented young players that we saw in the minor final last Sunday will be in action. The Kiltoom men will be very hard to beat.

 

Two-tier or not two-tier…

 

The GAA Special Congress this Saturday will consider whether to introduce a two-tier football championship and there are a number of new playing rules up for debate as well. The so-called ‘weaker counties’ are divided over whether the competition should be established and the players in those counties are divided on it as well.

  Personally I think that it’s a good idea, and as long as teams get to play in the main competition first then I would be all for it.

 

Can Schmidt’s men shock the world?

 

It was always going to come down to a clash between Ireland and the All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup and the reality of the situation will mean that no one will give Ireland a snowball’s chance in hell of beating the All Blacks, which makes Joe Schmidt’s men dangerous opponents. Whether they are capable of pulling off a shock is another thing altogether however!

  New Zealand look a class apart and the most impressive team in the championship so far. Ireland have been very mediocre so far although they produced their best performance against Samoa last weekend.

  They will have to play better than they have for the past twelve months if they want to have any chance. They will be able to take inspiration from Japan who have been a breath of fresh air in this competition and their frantic all-action style has been fantastic to watch. It’s doubtful, however, if any Joe Schmidt team will deploy such tactics. It’s probably too much to hope for that Ireland would win it but let’s hope they put in a big display.

 

United fans fearing the worst this Sunday

 

This Sunday most Manchester United fans will be watching their Premier League game against Liverpool from behind the couch. United are just so poor at the moment it is hard to see anything other than an easy Liverpool win. There was a time not that long ago when United relished playing Liverpool because they usually had their measure but how times have changed. There are always shocks of course but United fans will be clutching at straws and hoping for the best.

 

Dominic’s clinch first title in 28 years

 

If Pádraig Pearses made history last Sunday then St. Dominic’s camogie side were not far behind them in terms of achievement when they won the senior title, upsetting Four Roads in the final.

  This championship has been dominated by Four Roads and Athleague over the past two decades and it is a marvellous achievement for Dominic’s to come in and win a title in such style. Well done to all concerned!

 

An astonishing feat in Austria…

 

On Saturday, in Austria, Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge ran a marathon in 1 hour 59.40 seconds, becoming the first human being to run the 26 ¼ miles in under two hours which is some achievement.

  Some of the statistics are truly astounding. Every mile he ran was under five minutes. It also meant that every 100 metres was run in about 17 seconds. Just think about that for a minute. It’s truly astonishing.

 

Abseiling Croke Park for a worthy cause

 

I travelled with my daughter Syrea to Croke Park to take part in a charity ‘Abseil for Breast Cancer Research’ on Saturday last. It was a great success and over 90 people took part when they came down from the roof of Croke Park onto the pitch and they raised money in their own local area. A big thanks on her behalf to everyone who contributed.

 

Another wonderful county final programme

 

Congratulations to County Board PRO Hugh Lynn on his efforts for the county final programme. Last year’s programme was an award winner and this year’s was even better. Programmes of the quality that we saw last Sunday are not cheap to produce and a lot of them lose money. There is a mountain of work involved too so credit where it is due.

 

 

Time to manage our expectations?

 

 

 

 

Make or break for Irish teams

While I did see Ireland’s Rugby World Cup game against Samoa last Saturday I was mercifully spared having to sit through the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Tbilisi later that afternoon. From what I heard, RTÉ Sport producers probably drew straws to see who would have the dubious honour of compiling the ‘highlights’.

  On Tuesday night, Ireland weren’t much better against a decent Switzerland team. No surprises there really…

  It means that Mick McCarthy’s men now face a winner-takes-all match against Denmark at the Aviva in November. As we know, that has gone very well in the past!

  Meanwhile, the rugby team have their own do-or-die match this Saturday against the mighty All Blacks. Joe Schmidt’s charges have been pretty uninspiring in the past twelve months and much like the soccer team, have even struggled with the basics recently. There has been little evidence at this World Cup to suggest they’ll overcome the best team in the world this weekend to reach the semi-finals for the very first time.

  So, are Irish teams under-performing or have we set our expectations too high? In my opinion it’s a little of both.

  Firstly, the soccer team regularly finds itself as third seeds, which is an accurate reflection of where we are at the moment. I say ‘at the moment’ because there’s no guarantee teams like Georgia won’t overtake us in years to come. They have a similar population and while they also play rugby and basketball, soccer is their number one sport. They also proved once again on Saturday that they can produce technically accomplished players at senior international level.

  Our rivals for qualification, Denmark and Switzerland, meanwhile, have already proven they are better footballing countries with better players. And while that’s no excuse for some of our players not to be able to pass a football, we are third if not joint-fourth best team in our group and have no reasonable right to expect to qualify.

  As for the rugby, we have a poor record against the likes of Argentina, Wales and France at the World Cup. Ireland has never reached a semi-final and currently isn’t even the second best team in the Northern Hemisphere.

  In short, Joe Schmidt will need a minor miracle if Ireland are to advance this Saturday. As for winning World Cups, a semi-final place is far more realistic but should never be expected based on past performances.

 

    

The Sporting Brief - October 18th

 

 

The sporting brief

 

Handball

Tully on top!

Fiona Tully won the 60x30 Third Level Colleges Ladies Singles and Doubles titles last Saturday in Wexford representing DCU.

  Tully overcame her longtime Kilkenny rival Aoife Holden 15-8, 9-15, 15-12 to take her first 60x30 Colleges singles title.

  Later she teamed up with Dublin’s Meadhbh Ni Dhalaigh again to take their third 60x30 Third Level Colleges doubles title on the trot. In the final they defeated Dearbhail O’Keeffe and Clionadh O’Connell of University of Limerick 15-7, 15-10 having beaten Ciara Doyle and Anne Dunne of Waterford IT in the semi-final.

  Rory Carthy’s younger brother Eoghan made it a memorable few days for the family when he won the 60x30 Boys’ U-13s singles title with an outstanding display against Moycullen’s Christopher Hanley on a scoreline of 15-0, 15-7.

 

Basketball

Lonleitros returns

Last season, the Castlerea Kings became the first team in the Lonleitros League to do the double. This year they face an uphill battle to repeat that feat with the arrival of Athlone Town and Donegal Town into the league.

  Meanwhile, Longford Torpedoes and Mayo Gladiators have withdrawn, however, while the two Carrick teams have joined forces. Ballinamore, Mohill, Sligo All Stars, Athlone IT and Boyle make up the nine-team division.

  The Kings have managed to retain the core group which dominated last season and have also added David Quinn. They face Donegal Town at The Hub this Saturday night at 8 pm in what will be one of their toughest tests this season. Admission is free and there’s a raffle at half-time. It promises to be an exciting evening of basketball! 

 

Darts

Action resumes

The Hannon’s Hotel Roscommon Darts League will return on Friday, October 25th with the following fixtures: Flanagan’s v McDermott’s; Cosy Bar v An Bothar Rua; Dalton’s v Sideline Bar; The Hollywood v Molly’s. The Holly Tree have a bye.

 

Golf

King Harmon

Padraig O’Connell won the second King Harmon qualifier in Boyle last weekend with an impressive 44 points. The top eight from the qualifying competitions will go through to the finals and O’Connell has certainly given himself a chance. Brendan Gaffney finished second with 41, almost certainly securing his own passage to the finals. Next week’s qualifier should provide a clearer picture.

  Athlone’s Sean Doyle finished second in the GUI All-Ireland Gold Medal Championships at the K Club recently. A terrific performance in a competition for Handicaps of 9 and under.

  Peadar Keane also impressed, finishing just outside the prizes in fourth place in Cat 3 (18 and above).

  Back at the club, and after eight qualifying competitions Thomas O’Connor leads the way in the Golfer of the Year competition with 58 points, followed by Paul Costello in second place with 44 and James Joyce in third on 42.

  Recent winners at Athlone: Paul Costello (68, Monksland SS 18-Holes); Yvonne Walsh (32 points, Ladies’ Utopia Competition); Des Rushe (36 points, Summer Series); Ann Geoghegan (42 points, Summer Series Ladies’ Final); Eamon Flanagan (43 points, Summer Series Visitors’ Final); Ned Broughall (50 points, Summer Series Members’ Final); Denis O’Donoghue (27 points, AWGS outing); John Barry (44 points, Dr. Harry Rice Singles).

  To Carrick, where Sean Mulvey won last weekend’s Arigna Fuels competition with 45 points. Gary Ward was second with 42 while third-placed Frank Duffy also had 42 and David McDermott took gross.

  The Garvey and Lynch Cups semi-finals and finals will be played over the next couple of weeks.

  Last but certainly not least, the recent Winter Alliance competition saw Siobhan Talbot taking top spot with Dolores Mulvey in second.

 

 

 

 

Dooner's weekend predictions - October 18th

 

 

There were a whopping 84 goals scored across the three Roscommon & District Football League divisions last weekend.

  This weekend sees an all-Roscommon showdown in the FAI Junior Cup as Castlerea Celtic entertain Boyle Celtic.

  Elsewhere, Ballaghaderreen have come alive in the First Division and will be hoping to heap more pressure on Dysart at the top of the table.

 

 

Friday, October 18th

 

RDFL Premier Division

Shiven Rovers v St. Peter’s FC. 8.15 pm

Difficult to see past the visitors.

Prediction: St. Peter’s FC

RDFL First Division

Cloonfad United v CP Ajax. 8 pm

Cloonfad were given a wake-up call last weekend.

Prediction: Cloonfad United

RDFL Second Division (8 pm)

Skyvalley Rovers B v St. Cuan’s United

Skyvalley to continue their good start.

Prediction: Skyvalley Rovers B

Ballinasloe Town B v Glen Celtic

Away win.

Prediction: Glen Celtic

 

Saturday, October 19th

RDFL Premier Division

Kilkerrin United v St. John’s Athletic. 8 pm

The visitors get a hesitant nod.

Prediction: St. John’s Athletic

RDFL Second Division

Moore United B v Boyle Celtic B. 8 pm

Away win.

Prediction: Boyle Celtic B

 

Sunday, October 20th

 

RDFL Premier Division

Moylough ’79 v Moore United. 2 pm

Not much between them.

Prediction: Draw

RDFL First Division (2 pm)

Ballaghaderreen FC v Dysart FC

The hosts have impressed in two games so far.

Prediction: Draw

Roscommon United v Rahara Rovers

United will be the slight favourites.

Prediction: Roscommon United

Ahascragh United v Cam Celtic

Cam to get their first league win.

Prediction: Cam Celtic

RDFL Second Division (11 am)

St. John’s Athletic B v Roscommon United B

Both teams have improved.

Prediction: Draw

Cloonfad United B v Ballaghaderreen FC B

Home win.

Prediction: Cloonfad United B

New Balance FAI Junior Cup (2 pm)

MCR FC v Skyvalley Rovers

Home win.

Prediction: MCR FC

Castlerea Celtic v Boyle Celtic

Narrow home win.

Prediction: Castlerea Celtic

Ballinasloe Town v Carbury FC

A tough task for the hosts.

Prediction: Ballinasloe Town

Merville United v Ballymoe FC

Narrow home win.

Prediction: Merville United

 

Day of destiny for pretenders to the throne

 

 

 

 

Hodson Bay Group SFC Final

Pádraig Pearses v Roscommon Gaels on Sunday in Dr. Hyde Park at 4 pm

 

 

Sometimes this job throws up fixtures that are very hard to preview and this county final is certainly one of those. Views on the new championship format this year are mixed and those arguments are for another day, but I don’t think that too many people will argue with the assertion that the two best teams in the championship are through to the final.

  As to who will win, there are compelling arguments to be made for both sides. Pearses have faced far sterner opposition on their route to the final. They edged past Boyle and Western Gaels in their group before going under to Clann. It has to be said that Pearses knew they were through when they lost to Fergal’s Shine’s men, but it was a shock, and speaking to Pearses players over the past week, I was left in no doubt that it was the wake-up call they needed.

  By contrast, the Gaels have reached this final with the minimum of fuss, winning all their games with a bit in hand. It could well be argued that the opposition the town team have faced has not been anywhere near as good as that played by Pearses. But the Gaels could only beat the teams that appeared in front of them, and they have done that in style.

  Pearses would have been seen as an excellent defensive team but one that needed to improve in attack in order to reach the summit. They have done that in their last two games, putting up big totals and crucially, scoring goals too. The likes of Conor Payne, Hubert Darcy, Paul Carey and Emmet Kelly are chipping in on the scoreboard now.

  Further back, Davy Murray, Mark Richardson, Shane Carty and Ronan Daly have been outstanding in defence and the Gaels will have to be on song up front to get any traction on Sunday.

  There is no doubt that the heartbeat and leader of this Pearses team is Niall Daly. Even though he was named at number 12 for their last three games, the All-Star nominee has been everywhere, blocking and clearing in defence, catching and distributing at midfield, and prompting and scoring up front. It will be a mammoth task for the Gaels to restrict his influence on Sunday. With his brothers Conor and Ronan, and Niall Carty, you have a very strong mix of outstanding experienced performers.

  Pearses play on the edge and will openly admit that. They tackle hard, and every ball is contested with vigour and massive intensity. It has meant that they have received several yellow cards (and worse), finished the semi-final with twelve men. Any repeat on Sunday will be costly. But they know that, and I would be of the opinion that far too much is made out of this anyway. Pearses have the footballers to win this final without any discipline problems getting in the way.

  For the Gaels, the introduction of a couple of young players over the past year or two has given them new energy. Tim Lambe, Peter Gillooly and Richard Hughes have proven outstanding performers.

  But it is the more experienced players that the Gaels will be relying on to get them over the line on Sunday. Paul Gleeson, John McManus, David O’Gara, Cian Connolly and Mark Healy will have to play out of their skins .

  Scott Oates and Cian Connolly have been coming back from the Middle East for the Gaels this summer and both have made huge contributions. The Gaels’ full-forward line of Gillooly, Connolly and Mayo man Ronan Carolan will have a huge role to play on Sunday. They have scored freely so far.

  The return of Brian Kelly and Kieran Kilcline from injury this year has been a huge boost to the Gaels and both players will be under the spotlight on Sunday.

  I’m assuming that John McManus will be marking Hubert Darcy and that Paul Gleeson will be on Paul Carey. Those clashes will be very important. Mark Healy and Kieran Kilcline will have the job of trying to keep Niall Daly and Niall Carty in check around the central area. As always, the midfield battle will be absolutely critical. I presume we will see Davy Murray on Cian Connolly with Anthony Butler on Ronan Carolan and Mark Richardson shadowing Peter Gillooly.

  In a county final, the heroes could come from anywhere. It could be Kevin O’Gara or Tim Lambe or Brian Kelly. It could be Gavin Downey or Lorcan Daly or Conor Payne. That’s the beauty of the club final – anything can happen!

  Another unknown is the psychological aspect to this game. There is no doubt that Pearses have the players to win this final, but they are bidding to become the first group to ever win a senior football title for the club. Great Pearses teams of the past have failed at the final hurdle. It has to be a factor. Can they banish over a half century of hurt? 

  Roscommon Gaels have been at the business end of the championship for the past five years. They’ve been close, not close enough. They will need a huge performance to break that 15-year hoodoo stretching back to 2004.

  There is so little between these two teams that I would not be one bit surprised if it takes a second game to sort it out – but I am paid to predict a winner! If Roscommon Gaels can get their running game going with the likes of Tim Lambe, Scott Oates, Mark Healy, David O’Gara and Kieran Kilcline, they might just have enough to shade it. Pearses feel that their long, long wait is finally over. It is beautifully balanced. A very hesitant nod to the Gaels.

Prediction: Roscommon Gaels by a point.

 

Four Roads regain county hurling crown

 

 

 

Kepak Roscommon SHC Final

Four Roads 1-19

Athleague 1-8

 

Four Roads returned to the top of the club hurling order of merit in Roscommon with a commanding performance against old rivals Athleague in Athleague last Sunday. Having lost three finals in a row, Joe Mannion’s men were in no mood to add to that tale of woe, and they set about their task with determination and no little skill from the throw-in, emerging as deserving winners.

  The deposed champions Athleague battled away, and if they had taken a couple of the goal chances that came their way in the middle of the second half, they might have been closer. But in truth, Four Roads were on top for most of the game and they played the better hurling all through.

  With Jamie Lawlor, Johnny Moran and Micheal Kelly majestic in defence, Athleague were restricted in attack. Shane Curley and Conor Coyle were on top in midfield while up front Cathal Dolan, Noel Fallon and Brendan Mulry were sharp throughout. But it was Padraig Kelly who was sharpest of all. The dual star covered acres of ground and scored five tremendous points from play in a brilliant individual display.

  On a beautiful evening for hurling, both sides made a tentative start and the first score of the game was a goal for Four Roads in the fifth minute. Brendan Mulry did the spadework and James Cunniffe finished well. Cathal Dolan and Eamon Flanagan swapped points before Dolan (2) and Padraig Kelly points made it 1-4 to 0-1 it by the 12th minute.

  Eamon Flanagan’s accuracy from the placed ball kept Athleague in the game and some very good defensive work from Alan Moore, Gary Fallon and Pat Nolan kept the Four Roads attack somewhat in check. Flanagan was always a threat and his rasping shot from 25 metres struck the angle of post and crossbar in the 25th minute. Athleague needed that goal but it was not to be.

  Then in first-half stoppage time Noel Fallon was in for a second Four Roads goal but David Connell made a superb save and by the half-time break it was Four Roads 1-7 Athleague 0-5.

  In fairness to Athleague, they kept battling away but Four Roads could always keep them at arm’s length. The Tisrara men introduced Johnny Coyne on the re-start and the ace marksman only took two minutes to register his first point. But points from Flanagan, Ben McGahon and Cormac Kelly kept Athleague in the game in the third quarter.

  Three points on the spin from Noel Fallon (2) and Padraig Kelly saw the gap open up to eight points by the 45th minute. Then Eamon Flanagan poked home a goal from close-range after a goalmouth skirmish and Athleague were back to within striking distance.

  For a couple of minutes Athleague were on top but crucially they missed goal chances, as first Robbie Fallon and then Cian Murray were guilty of poor decision making in front of goal.

  Four Roads took over completely after that and they tacked on six points without reply to run out the easy winners. Padraig Kelly scored two beauties, Shane Curley and Johnny Coyne also adding to the Four Roads total with excellent efforts from play.

  Athleague tried hard to the end but there was no denying this well-coached and well prepared Four Roads side on the day and it’s the Black and Amber who bring the Mickey Cunniffe Cup back to the village for the winter. It’s like it’s never been away!

 

Four Roads: David Dowd; Cormac Coyle, Jamie Lawlor, Martin McLoughlin; Johnny Moran, Micheal Kelly, Jack Donnelly; Shane Curley (0-1), Conor Coyle; Cathal Dolan (0-9, 5 frees), Noel Fallon (0-2), Padraig Kelly (0-5); Andy Lawlor, Brendan Mulry, James Cunniffe (1-0). Subs: Johnny Coyne (0-2) for Andy Lawlor (h/t), Diarmuid Treacy for Cunniffe (52), Donal Kelly for Donnelly (55), James Fitzmaurice for Fallon (58), Mark McLouglin for Martin McLoughlin (61).

Athleague: David Connell; David Delaney, Alan Moore, Aaron Donnelly; Niall Connolly, Gary Fallon, Pat Nolan; Darragh Heavey, Cormac Kelly (0-1); David Flaherty, Ben McGahon (0-1), Stephen Kilcommins; Cian Murray (0-1), Eamon Flanagan (1-5, 3 frees, ’65), Robbie Fallon. Eoghan Coyle for Kilcommons (h/t), Thomas Clatyon for Donnelly (39), Paul Flaherty for McGahon and Tomas Connaughton for C Murray (53).

Referee: Christy Browne (Ballygar)

 

 

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