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SFC Final Preview: Gaels can end Brigid’s’ reign!

 

 

 

It’s the new kids on the block against the experienced old heads as Roscommon Gaels make their first senior county final appearance since 2004 this Sunday when they face champions St. Brigid’s, who have won six of the last seven titles. It looks set to be a tight and competitive final and while Brigid’s will be favourites, the Gaels go into Sunday’s game with a great chance of taking home the Fahey Cup.

  In this instance the formbook isn’t that helpful a guide. In the early rounds of the championship, Roscommon Gaels were impressive, qualifying for the semi-finals with a round to spare. Brigid’s stuttered early on, but in fairness they were without several of their more established players. Once those players returned, the champions got their mojo back. 

  Maybe the most significant ‘unknown’ is how the game between the clubs at the group stage will affect Sunday’s proceedings, if at all. On that occasion, Brigid’s needed to win to guarantee them a play-off place. Roscommon Gaels had already qualified and were without some of their main players. The Gaels were clearly not that motivated and a Brigid’s win was not hard to predict. However, no-one expected Brigid’s to hand out a 25-point beating.

  The biggest obstacle to Roscommon Gaels making meaningful progress in the championship over the last decade has been their inability to perform in a knockout game when the chips are down. Too often they came up short when it was put up to them. This year they got that monkey off their backs with an impressive semi-final display against Boyle. The big question now is – can they make the step up to do it once more against St. Brigid’s on Sunday?

  Brigid’s’ management, players and supporters will be the first to admit that this has not been a vintage championship for them. However, they have definitely improved as the year has gone on. Multiple champions this decade, they are laden down with players who know what’s required to get over the line in a county senior final.

  That Roscommon Gaels have the players to win a county senior title is not in doubt. In fact this is a very big and physical Gaels team. James Fetherstone is a superb young goalkeeper, who is constantly improving. The Gaels full-back line of Ronan Gleeson, John McManus and Liam McNeela has been very solid all year and it is likely that McManus will be handed the task of marking Senan Kilbride.

  Paul Gleeson, Cathal Dineen and James O’Gara is the likely combination at half-back. Dineen has been a big addition to the Gaels this year. James O’Gara will probably be charged with  shadowing Brian Stack after impressing when marking Enda Smith in the semi-final.

  James McDermott and David O’Gara have arguably been the two most important players for Roscommon Gaels this year. The midfield clash on Sunday will be so important – if the Gaels can edge it in this department then they have a great chance of winning.

  Up front, the town team have been hit and miss in this championship. They rely a little too much for scores on county star Cian Connolly. Others must step up if they are to win this final. Ciaran Kilcline, Mark Healy, Mark Nally, Richard Hughes and the industrious Scottie Oates are all fine players but they must get on the scoreboard more.

  Brigid’s have so many familiar faces. Shane Mannion is another excellent young goalkeeper. Darragh Sheehy and the outstanding Niall McInerney should be flankers with Peter Domican at full-back. McInerney will probably mark Cian Connolly.

  Ronan Stack and Ian Kilbride are likely to be in the half-back line alongside George O’Hara or Conor McNiece. In the engine room the vastly experienced Garvan Dolan will probably team up with Eddie Nolan.

  In attack, Brian Stack is going from strength to strength and is now one of the best players in the county. Senan Kilbride will once again be the key Brigid’s attacker at full-forward and Cathal McHugh and Padraig Kelly are top class operators. Jack McDonnell and Eoin Sheehy are also likely to start for the champions.

  The match-ups for Sunday will be absolutely crucial. If the Gaels do not get to grips with Brian Stack and Senan Kilbride then they are sure to be beaten. They will have to win the midfield battle and also share some of the scoring burden for Cian Connolly. Brigid’s have the cuteness and know-how and those are qualities that you just cannot teach players.

  As long as they have put that 25-point drubbing by Brigid’s out of their minds and play with real championship intensity, then the Gaels will be in with a shout. Brian Stack and Senan Kilbride are of course potential match-winners for Brigid’s.

  I am certainly not expecting a classic – county finals seldom are because there is too much at stake – but it will be ultra-competitive and hard-fought and a fascinating contest.

  I know that I will be accused of letting my heart rule my head but I genuinely think that this Gaels team has a great chance. If they play as well as they are capable of playing then they can edge it by a point or two. Brigid’s have been wonderful champions but thirteen years without a title is a long time and maybe the hunger will tip the balance in the Gaels’ favour.

Match odds: St. Brigid’s 4/6 v Roscommon Gaels 6/4; Draw 15/2;

Prediction: Roscommon Gaels.

 

 

 

The Lead Story: At the club every weekend…

 

Growing up on a housing estate in West Dublin in the 90s, soccer became the sport of choice for most of my friends and I. The local GAA club may have been Lucan Sarsfields but most of us trained and played with Esker Celtic, Beech Park, Hillcrest and Lucan United.

  While some of us togged out in the green, white and black of the parish, soccer was always the sport we played on the street in winter. It’s one of the reasons I laugh off any suggestions that Dublin’s population should guarantee GAA success.

  Since moving to Roscommon three years ago, I’ve come to realise the importance of the GAA club to the local community. The vital role the club plays is never more evident than at this time of year as teams at all age levels compete in county finals. The enduring popularity of our national games could be seen in Athleague and Dr Hyde Park last weekend and will be witnessed this Sunday when Roscommon Gaels take on the mighty St. Brigid’s.

  I enjoy this time of year but it also leaves me with a tinge of regret. Soccer was a worthwhile pastime and one I continue to enjoy but, much like study, I wish I’d taken Gaelic football more seriously or given it more time. The camaraderie between clubmates and even club rivals is a uniquely Irish thing.

  So, with all the talk of testimonials, Super 8s, the inevitable slide towards professionalism, let’s not forget the importance of local clubs and the people who drive them. This Sunday should be a celebration of all that is good about the national game.

  So forget Goodison Park and White Hart Lane, Dr. Hyde Park in Roscommon Town is where the real Super Sunday is at this weekend.

Glavey's return to the top table!

 

Mulryan Construction IFC Final

Michael Glavey's 0-12

Fuerty 0-10

 

The record books will show that Michael Glavey’s won their second Roscommon IFC title in three years at Dr Hyde Park last Sunday, but for the vanquished Fuerty team it will be another winter of “what might have been” as once again they came agonisingly close to a dramatic win this ultra-competitive and very entertaining final.

  With the clock past the 31st minute of the second half, the excellent Niall Kilroy kicked a 30 metre free to narrow the gap to one. Fuerty attacked intensely looking for the equaliser. Two refereeing decisions went against Fuerty and so too did the bounce of the ball. Suddenly Glavey’s were breaking forward and sub Tiernan Murphy pointed to give his side the cushion they needed. Soon afterwards it was all over; Glavey’s were the champions and the Fuerty heartbreak continues.

  On the balance of play Glavey’s were just about the better side. They recovered from a poor start to score five points in a row to lead at the break but it was a narrow two point lead. It didn’t take Fuerty too long to reel them in. It may not have been vintage football in terms of quality, but the final quarter was frantic, intense and thrilling for the neutral as the destination of the Jimmy Murray Cup was in doubt right until Patrick McTiernan blew his final whistle.

  It is not an easy task to go into a county final as the hot favourites and Glavey’s looked nervous in the opening 20 minutes. But once Conor Hussey, Gary Patterson, Caoileann Fitzmaurice, Stephen Comer, Andy Glennon and Cathal Heneghan got going, they found their mojo.

  Hussey was everywhere, driving on his team. Fitzmaurice kicked three mighty points from way out the field and Glennon was always a threat - Fuerty put two defenders on him. Patterson was always buzzing and Heneghan came into it in the second half.

  But Fuerty must be devastated because they did little wrong.  Tom Bannon and Adam White were excellent on defence. Eamon Bannon turned in a fantastic display at midfield while up front Niall Kilroy was tremendous (as usual) and sub Christy Leahy and Robbie Fallon also did well in attack. If Fuerty had another Niall Kilroy up front they would be champions today.

  The difference between the sides was that Glavey’s were just better able to get the vital scores at just the right time and when Glennon was tied up, as he was for most of the first half, others like Fitzmaurice, Heneghan and Comer were able to weigh in.

  This Glavey’s team is much stronger than the one that beat Fuerty in the final in 2015 in Strokestown. They have the age profile and strength in vital positions to do well in Connacht and I expect them to do well in the Roscommon senior championship from 2018 onwards too.

  Fuerty will wonder what the footballing Gods have against them. Defeated by an injury-time point in the 2015 final, they lost by one point again to Kilmore in the semi-final last year and now they have come up agonisingly short this year too. It is not much consolation to say that surely their day will come. If they can keep their spirit and work ethic going they will be back at the business end of the championship again in 2018. Under Eamon Towey they have made great progress this year again. It’s easy to say but they should stay at it.

Gutsy Athleague take the long road

 

 

 

Senior Camogie Final

Athleague 2-7

Four Roads 0-11 AET

 

In the aftermath of last Sunday’s drawn out battle, Athleague’s joint captain Kelley Hopkins addressed the gathered media as her teammates celebrated close by.

  “I’m ecstatic. I’m lost for words,” she began breathlessly.

  “This is one of the best days of my life. The last few (county title wins) were sweet but this has to be the best one of them all.”

  Last Saturday’s victory over rivals Four Roads was one borne of guts and doggedness rather than sublime skill. It was a skirmish that swung to and fro as the light dimmed in Athleague. The winners displaying the will to win which has now seen them crowned Roscommon Camogie Queens three years running.

  They may, however, have been expecting a more straightforward finale last weekend, particularly when Fiona Connell-Jones fired them in front with a free within the first minute. Four Roads were nothing if not stubborn though and the sides went in at the break tied at four points each. Shauna Fallon was a thorn in the Athleague side as both provider and scorer while Sinead O’Brien showed steel from the placed ball.

  The second half began in similar vein to the first with Hopkins converting a long-range free before O’Brien took on scoring responsibility for Four Roads. It was five apiece at the first real turning point.

  That arrived at the midway point of a frenetic half. Rachel Fitzmaurice, who had been quiet by her own high standards, glided towards goal before being unceremoniously upended by a combination of Four Roads defenders, leaving referee Mike Ryan no choice but to award a penalty.

  Hopkins stepped up and smashed a captain’s goal beyond Cait Kenny. A real shot in the arm for the champions and they pushed forward with renewed belief afterward. Only a last ditch goal line clearance from Eimear Lennon minutes later prevented them from winning this in regulation time.

  Four Roads took full advantage of Lennon’s rescue mission and fought their way back from the brink. Sinéad O’Brien’s nerveless display in front of the posts continued as she hit three without reply. Fiona Connell-Jones momentarily stopped the rot before O’Brien brought us to extra-time at the death.

 It was Athleague who struck the decisive blow. Super sub Leanne Walsh capitalising on slack Four Roads defending, walloped the sliothar into the top corner. 2-6 to 0-9 and another long way back for Four Roads.

  Athleague manager, Seamus Qualter, was then sent to the stand, or at least behind the gate, as tensions rose and questionable decisions went against his team. A Four Roads comeback proved just beyond them in the second period of extra-time, however. Two more frees from O’Brien were too little, too late as Athleague held out thanks to some heroic defending from Niamh Farrell, Meabh Tiernan and their fellow backs.

  Afterwards, Athleague manager Qualter provided an honest assessment of his team’s showing.

  “We didn’t get going in the first half but we were still drawing at half-time and we were quite happy with that because we hadn’t performed.

  “In fairness to Four Roads, when we got the goal they came back and scored three points and brought it into extra-time. We knew they were going to battle to the very end and so did our girls as well. The rub of the green was getting the goal in extra-time because you’ve only ten minutes each side and time passes by very quickly.”

  Qualter then had a confident glance at the horizon.

  “Look, they’re a great bunch and that’ll bring them on leaps and bounds for a Connacht Final and for an All-Ireland Quarter-Final as well. We’ll fancy our chances against anyone from now on.”

  Following last Sunday’s stubborn defence of their county crown, it’s easy to see why. The London champions, Tara Camogie Club, will pose the next challenge this Sunday at 1 pm in Athleague.

 

Seamus Duke on sport - 20th of October

 

At the business end of club season

We had one very competitive county final and one easy win in the two big games in Dr Hyde Park on Sunday. I spoke to the St. Brigid’s chairman Tomás Beades as part of the junior preview and he was stressing that this year Brigid’s were determined to treat the junior competition seriously and that their junior team were entitled to the same respect as the senior team and any other team in the club. It certainly worked because they turned in a terrific performance. They have some fantastic young players on the way up and they played some great football on the day. They certainly won this junior title in style.

  Spare a thought for Kilglass Gaels. Pipped at the post by Creggs in a replay last year, they have a number of players that have given wonderful service to their club. Hopefully they will keep it going and remember that Kilglass will be the Roscommon representatives in the Connacht club championship so we wish them the best of luck.

  The intermediate match may not have been the greatest ever played in terms of quality football but it was a tremendous contest.

  Fuerty will be heartbroken to have lost so narrowly again. It was a game that they could have won for sure. They could have got two late marginal refereeing calls and the ball literally hopped the wrong way for them in injury-time. Once again they just missed out. That’s not to take anything away from Michael Glavey’s who recovered from a poor start to get back into the game and on the balance of play they probably deserved to just about shade it.

  But surely Fuerty’s day will come soon. Since they won the Junior title they have given great entertainment to their fans and the people of the county. They contested an All-Ireland club final and have been beaten in two of the last three IFC finals, losing by a point in the semi-finals in 2016.

  But this looks a different Michael Glavey’s this time around. They are much stronger and have big men all over the field. They should be able to give the Connacht intermediate championship a rattle this year. But far more important is that if they can keep their team together they should be well able to survive in the senior ranks over the next few years.

  In ladies’ football there was a great crowd in Kilbride on Friday night as the locals took on the Cora Staunton powered Carnacon in the Connacht club championship. The Mayo girls were too strong but Kilbride gave a very good account of themselves.

  Well done also to Athleague who won three in a row senior camogie titles last weekend. It took extra-time to do it but it’s a great achievement.

Novel pairing set for Sunday

The 2017 senior club final is previewed in detail elsewhere this week but we have a fairly unique pairing on Sunday when Roscommon Gaels take on the champions St. Brigid’s. In fact, given that both clubs have been very much involved at the business end of the Roscommon senior football championship for the past 40 years, it is 1969 since they last met in a final.

  It is probably too much to expect a football classic on Sunday because there is simply too much at stake. County finals by their nature are dour, intense and very competitive games, and at the end of the day, it is always about winning.

  It will be fascinating to see if St Brigid’s still have the hunger for titles or will the 13-year famine for Roscommon Gaels end after a very frustrating time for them? Like most major sporting contests the match will be decided by the four inches between the ears of the players on each team. If the Gaels truly believe, then they can cause an upset. If Brigid’s retain their hunger, then the status quo will remain. I am really looking forward to it.  

  In the curtain raiser we will see St. Brigid’s v Clann na nGael in the minor final. These are always great games and it’s always fantastic to see the stars of the future in action. All we need now is a fine day and a big crowd!

Eir coverage is excellent

It is interesting that Eir Sport are now showing live GAA club championship games every weekend. I watched some of the Dublin semi-finals at the weekend and while the football wasn’t great, the coverage was excellent with good commentary, good analysis and good camerawork too. I just can’t figure out how they can make money out of showing these games. I am sure the viewing figures for these live games are very low but it is an excellent service.

The GAA’s important decision…

The Director General of the GAA Padraig Duffy is to step down next March and one thing that you can say about Duffy is that he was a very capable administrator. I remember having plenty of dealings with him when he was Monaghan PRO and he was excellent at his job.

  I’m not so sure about his legacy as Director General though. He pushed through the new format in the hurling championship and also the establishment of the Super 8 in football. The jury is certainly out on those changes until we see them in action.  

  During Duffy’s time the GPA have become a hugely powerful group within the GAA, in receipt of millions of Euro per year.  The disastrous Sky TV deal was also signed up with the blessing of Duffy, not something he should be proud of. 

  Last week I listened to a very interesting debate about the future of the GAA. Martin Breheny of the Irish Independent said that he is convinced that the association is on an unstoppable journey to professionalism. I am not as convinced as he is about that but it is hard to see it going any other way. The GAA will have to be very careful who they appoint to this really important job. This is a vital time for the association.

  An elite has developed within the GAA in terms of administration, fixtures and inter-county games and players. Strong leadership is needed because there are many powerful vested interests within the association. All the controversial decisions I listed above can be changed if the right person is there to lead that change. They have five months to decide who Padraig Duffy’s successor is. It is such an important decision.

United have lost their way!

People who know me will know that I have been a Man United follower for many years past and I enjoy an odd trip to see them live. What drew me to follow United the first day was their attacking style. I followed them for many years before they won anything at all but they always played football that was easy on the eye. Then Alex Ferguson came along and the rest as they say is history.

  When Jose Mourinho was appointed I thought he was the right man for the job after a few disastrous years. Yes, he won two trophies last season but United had never played with the freedom that we were used to when Fergie was in charge. However, at the start of this season United played some good football in the opening league fixtures and scored a few goals. However, it was also a fact that that they had played none of the other big teams.

  Last Saturday they travelled to Anfield to take on Liverpool and the game was one of the most boring, nondescript and negative that I have ever seen. Liverpool are not a good side, but at least they made an attempt to win the game. United just sat back and soaked up whatever pressure came their way. They never tried anything positive in the whole game.

  I don’t care what justification Mourinho has for these performances and I don’t care how many trophies he wins, it is horrible stuff to watch. I would prefer to watch United lose 4-3 than watch the drivel we saw last Saturday. United made one chance in the whole game. Remember that they spent over €250 million during the summer on players. If that’s the new way United are playing now then you are welcome to them.

Boyle finish season on a high!

 

Mulryan Construction AFL Division 2 (O’Gara Cup Final)

Boyle 1-18

St. Faithleach’s 1-9

Boyle finished their season in style with a decisive win against St. Faithleach’s in the O’Gara Cup final at Abbey Park on Saturday. On the day the club honoured one of their legends, the late John Joe Nerney, Boyle started well and with Enda Smith, Roch Hanmore, Donie Smith, David Callaghan and Cian McKeon all playing well, the home side knocked over some excellent points in the opening quarter.

  Faithleach’s responded and scored 1-4 without replay with Ciaráin Murtagh on target with frees and Dave Rooney finding the net in the 23rd minute. However, Boyle responded with four points in a row to lead 0-10 to 1-5 at the halfway mark.

  The key score arrived seven minutes into the second half when International Rules team member and All Star nominee, Enda Smith, scored a fine goal following clever play from David Callaghan. Ciaráin Murtagh replied for Faithleach’s but then Boyle reeled off five points without reply to see them home comfortably. Faithleach’s’ challenge was not helped when Diarmuid Murtagh was red carded with ten minutes to go but the game was slipping away from them at that stage.

Boyle scorers: T McKenna (0-2), R Hanmore (0-3), E Smith (1-3), D Smith (0-8), C McKeon (0-1), D Callaghan (0-1).

St. Faithleach’s scorers: B Murtagh (0-1), D Rooney (1-0), C Murtagh (0-6), D Murtagh (0-2).

Referee: Gerry Carmody.

Breaking Ball - October 20th

 

More hurling success for Pearses

Pádraig Pearses claimed U-14 A Hurling League honours recently when they overcame Four Roads on a score of 2-13 to 3-7 in a cracker in Athleague.

  Cormac Mulry was to the fore for the black and amber in the first half as he scored two goals to give his side a 2-4 to 0-4 lead at the break.

  Pearses stormed into contention in the second half with three points from Eoin Colleran and a goal from Eoin Canning.

  A Sean Hynes goal for Four Roads wasn’t enough in the end as Aaron Burke’s goal sealed more silverware for Pearses.

  Pearses’ scorers: E Colleran (0-10), A Burke (1-0) L Walsh (0-1), S Canning (1-1). Four Roads: M Dillon (0-1), M Lohan (0-3), C Mulry (2-1), C Kelly (0-2), S Hynes (1-0).

Rossies hoping to Master Galway

Roscommon Masters take on Galway at 1 pm in the semi-final of the Masters Shield this Saturday. The game will be played at Mountbellew. Roscommon have registered wins over Antrim, Westmeath and Offaly. They have drawn with Kildare and lost narrowly away to London and at home to Galway in an earlier group game.

Rossies advance in Fr Manning Cup

Roscommon overcame Meath in round one of the Fr Manning Cup last Saturday in Kiltoom.

  In a blistering first half, Roscommon came back from three points down to take a 2-7 to 0-5 lead in at the break. Charlie Carthy and James Fitzpatrick with the goals.

  The Royal County came out all guns blazing in the second and got off to a great start when Brian O’Hanlon punched in their first goal.  Then, Meath’s midfield powerhouse, Cian McBride, stormed through and scored their second goal before Luke Newe blasted narrowly over the crossbar.

  Roscommon held on, with Robbie Dolan and Jonathan Hester solid at the back, and Liam Ormsby made it safe with a late free.

Roscommon scorers: S Cunnane (0-5, all frees), A McDermott (0-1), C Carthy (1-0), R Dolan (0-1), L Ormsby (0-5, 2 frees), F Lennon (0-1), J Fitzpatrick (1-0).

The sporting Brief - October 20th

 

Handball

All-Ireland success!

There was local involvement in recent national events with Liam Egan competing in the 60x30 U-15 All-Ireland Singles Final in Carlow and Fiona Tully in action in a 3rd Level Colleges All-Ireland Final in Kilkenny.

  Egan had to overcome the challenge of Tipperary’s Cormac Doheny to take a well deserved All-Ireland just six months after returning from a two year absence.

  Egan came from a game down to win 5-15, 15-8, 15-12 after an enthralling match. Shot of the day arrived in the closing stages to thwart a Doheny comeback. Egan, who had lost seven straight points, took a ball on the fly and killed it around the right corner to leave him serving for the match.

  In Kilkenny, Fiona Tully teamed up with Meadbh Ní Dhalaigh for DCU to take the 60x30 3rd Level Colleges All-Ireland title in Kilkenny.

  Tully and Ní Dhalaigh comfortably beat fellow DCU pair Ella Donnellan and Caoimhe O’Shea in the semi-finals before dismissing Trinity duo Ciara Mahon and Emer Delaney in the final on a score of 21-7, 21-11.

Golf

Still swinging!

We start our golf round-up in Castlerea where Mary O’Gara and Laura Griffith were the most recent winners of ladies’ competitions.

  In the men’s tournaments, Daryl Kelly came up trumps in the O’Conor Don Cup, beating Liam Walsh into second place. Meanwhile, Liam O’Connell beat Kieran Rosney in the Tony Reilly Accountant competition last week.

  The men’s competition last week in Roscommon was close. Charlie McDonnell won with 41 points while Brian Feeley came second, also on 41 points.

  The ladies’ seniors’ competition for Christmas hampers was won by Frances Penny while the men’s competition was won by Tom Judge.

  We finish it Athlone this week a roll call of the latest winners: Bryan O’Looney (Club Hamper), P. Byrne (Wednesday Open), E Rafferty (AWGS), Yvonne Walsh (Ladies’ club competition) and Mary Madden (9-Hole competition).

Pitch and Putt

Bridie on the double!

Player of the week at Woodview has to go to Bridie Nugent, who claimed the best nett scores over the last two weekends.

  Kathleen Shaw and Marie Naughton respectively hit the best gross scores over the same period.

Gymnastics

Coach Colgan’s award

Great news from Athlone Gymnastics Club, Elisha Colgan has been chosen as ‘Coach of the Year’ by Gymnastics Ireland. Club members are understandably proud of Elisha, who has worked hard over the last number of years. Elisha will receive her well-deserved award at a presentation night in Dublin in November. Well done coach!

Pool

Ned’s lead!

Ned’s lead the Roscommon Town & District Pool League following their 6-2 win over Larry’s last weekend. They’re closely followed by The Claypipe who will be looking to leapfrog the Knockcroghery outfit this weeked when they take on The Holly Tree. The Hollywood are in third place and they face Larry’s. Elsewhere, Carty’s entertain Rattigan’s and The Railway Bar hosts Dalton’s.

Darts

The Roscommon Darts League kicks off next Friday (27th) with a full round of matches. McDermott’s take on The Forge, An Bothar Rua host Creaton’s,

The Holly Tree entertain The Hollywood Bar and Flanagan’s welcome Molly’s.

Dooner's weekend predictions - October 20th

 

 

This weekend sees round three of the FAI Junior Cup with some cracking all-Roscommon ties. The pick of the action is in Ballinasloe where the home side will be hoping to see off the challenge of Castlerea Celtic.

Friday, October 20th

Umbro FAI Junior Cup Round 3

Boyle Celtic v Glenview Stars. 8 pm

I fancy Boyle to go far in this competition.

Prediction: Boyle Celtic

Killeen Sports Grounds Division Two

Glen Celtic v Castlerea Celtic B. 8 pm

Glen have been slightly better so far.

Prediction: Glen Celtic

Saturday, October 21st

Norio’s Takeaway Division One

Hodson Bay Athletic v Kilkerrin United. 7 pm

This should be close.

Prediction: Hodson Bay Athletic

Strokestown United v Dunmore Town. 7.45 pm

This probably won’t be.

Prediction: Strokestown United

Killeen Sports Grounds Division Two

Cloonfad United B v Boyle Celtic B. 7.30 pm

Seventh heaven for the visitors.

Prediction: Boyle Celtic B

Sunday, October 22nd

Umbro FAI Junior Cup Round 3 (2 pm)

Dysart FC v Carbury FC

A tough test for the home side.

Prediction: Carbury FC

Ballinasloe Town v Castlerea Celtic

A thriller in store in Ballinasloe.

Prediction: Castlerea Celtic

St. John’s Athletic v Melville United

The home side are consistently inconsistent.

Prediction: Melville United

Ballymoe FC v Moore United

Ballymoe have beaten Moore at home already this season.

Prediction: Ballymoe FC

St. Peter’s FC v Ballisodare United

This St. Peter’s side will be hard to beat.

Prediction: St. Peter’s FC

The Herald Premier Division

Ballaghaderreen FC v Cloonfad United. 2 pm

The visitors will fancy this.

Prediction: Cloonfad United

Norio’s Takeaway Division One

Lough Harps v Ahascragh United. 2 pm

Ahascragh to bounce back.

Prediction: Ahascragh United

Killeen Sports Grounds Division Two

Skyvalley Rovers B v Roscommon United. 12 pm

The visitors should edge this.

Prediction: Roscommon United

Moylough ’79 v Rahara Rovers. 2 pm

The leaders will maintain their unbeaten run.

Prediction: Moylough ‘79

 

 

Pearses end 30 years of pain!

 

Kepak Roscommon SHC Final: Pádraig Pearses 1-20 Four Roads 1-13 

Thirty long years of pain which included losing eight finals since their last triumph in 1987, were swept away at Athleague last Sunday when Pádraig Pearses’ young side turned in a stunning display to deservedly beat pre-match favourites Four Roads in one of the most enjoyable senior deciders in many years. With the utmost respect to Four Roads, it was also a great result for Roscommon hurling to see a new name on the cup after so long.

   Pearses had many heroes on and off the field last Sunday and all will rightly go down in Roscommon and club folklore, but standing head and shoulders above them all on the day was 19-year-old Daniel Glynn, who turned in a sensational performance, scoring 0-15 from frees and play. It was one of the most outstanding individual performances that this writer has seen in over three decades of watching Roscommon hurling finals. Yes, young Glynn was accurate from frees, but he scored a number of brilliant points from play and set up more scores for his teammates as well.

   On a perfect day for hurling, it was clear from the early stages that Pearses meant business. With Glynn and Shane Naughton rampant, they built up a nice first half lead against a subdued Four Roads for whom Padraig Kelly and Johnny Coyne were playing well. Pearses were sharp in the tackle and were taking their scores well and an 0-11 to 0-6 half-time lead was well merited on the balance of play.

   Those who made up the very decent attendance expected the Four Roads backlash on the restart and when James Fitzmaurice flicked home their goal in the 34th minute the lead was down to two. Pearses teams in the past would have buckled, but not this time. Instead they fastened their seat belts and got their challenge going again. Glynn and Naughton knocked over points and the lead was out to four again. Then in the 46th minute came the crucial score when sub Oisín Kelly flicked home a Pearses goal after Daniel Glynn’s free fell short.

  Four Roads tried as hard as they could but they just couldn’t break the Pearses resistance on the day. Frees were driven at the Pearses goal in desperation and there were a few scares for the men from Taughmaconnell and Moore, but they emerged time after time with ball in hand and it was fitting that their final score came from the stick of young Glynn, a spectacular effort from 50 metres out, in the second minute of injury-time.

  The final whistle saw incredible scenes as the Pearses faithful raced on to the pitch scarcely believing what they had just seen. I saw several people clad in red and white shed tears of joy as the decades of utter frustration and heartbreak were finally at an end.

  Speaking at the final whistle, Pearses’ manager, Mike Malone, was understandably proud of his side’s performance.

  “I was not worried when Four Roads scored the goal because we worked on that all year long. We knew that we would come back again stronger, and we did it.

  “This is massive for the club. I look at all the national school children here today and all the people that are here. I have to say that I am very proud of the way the lads performed today,” he said.

  Watching the full-time celebrations it was hard not to think of all the great Pearses club men and players who had soldiered over the years trying to win that elusive county title and this victory was as much for them as for anyone else. Exceptionally well coached by Galway man Mike Malone, trainer Mike Kelly and selectors, this is a youthful side who will surely be a factor in the Roscommon club championship for many years to come.

   For Four Roads they can have no complaints on the day but they are a magnificent team who will surely be back to reclaim the Mickey Cunniffe Cup. Apart from Johnny Coyne and Padraig Kelly, Micheal Kelly, David Dowd, David Dolan and Noel Fallon did well.

   The majestic Glynn apart, Shane Naughton, Padraig Dolan, Karl Feehily, Eoghan Cogavin, Mike Donoghue, Cathal Kelly and Daniel Staunton were outstanding on a day that will never be forgotten by Pearses and by those who were lucky enough to be there. The eternal bridesmaids finally made it to the altar!

 

 

 

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