Connacht Minor Football Championship (Round 2)
Having been beaten by a whopping 22 points by Galway just a week previously, Roscommon minors put their Connacht championship campaign firmly back on track when they swatted away the challenge of Mayo with ease at Kiltoom last Friday night.
It was hard to believe that this was the same team that went down so badly against the Tribesmen. This time around Paul Staunton’s men were on top in every position on the field, they tackled hard, were first to every ball and they took some super scores. Enda Crawley and Shane Cunnane totally dominated at midfield and up front Roscommon cut loose, with Adam McDermott leading the way with a haul of three goals and two points.
Indeed if it was not for the heroics of Mayo goalkeeper Ronan Connolly, who made four point-blank saves, Roscommon could have added handsomely to their 13 point win such was their dominance. Now they are back in the hunt for a place in the Connacht final with games to come against Leitrim (away) and Sligo (at home).
On a beautiful evening, the sides shared four points in the opening six minutes. But even at that stage Roscommon looked a different prospect as Cunnane and Crawley were bossing the central area and the Roscommon scores began to flow. Points from Adam McDermott 2 (one free), Shane Cunnane (2 frees) and Enda Crawley without reply, saw the home side open up a five point gap by the 16th minute. Mayo did reply with three points with their captain Enda Hession converting two frees and by half-time Roscommon led by 0-9 to 0-5.
The gap should have been far more though, as on two occasions lively Roscommon wing-back Robbie Dolan was clean through, and later centre half-forward Liam Ormsby was also in on goal only for Ronan Connolly to effect marvellous saves to keep his side in the game,
But Roscommon were far more clinical in the second half. With just a minute played, Cunnane’s laser-like pass was finished to the net expertly by James Fitzpatrick. Six minutes later Robbie Dolan was in on goal again, and although Connolly saved once again, Adam McDermott fisted the rebound to the net.
Roscommon were rampant now and when McDermott ran through to score Roscommon’s third goal in the 47th minute it was a matter of how much Roscommon would win by. With three minutes to go McDermott completed his hat-trick in tremendous style and memories of that heavy defeat by Galway were well and truly banished.
Cunanne stroked a couple of long-range frees over the bar with ease as Roscommon strolled to the easiest of victories. The next round of games will not take place until the 23rd of June but Paul Staunton, Stephen Lohan, Michael Gallagher and the Roscommon players have to be congratulated for turning the ship around in just a week. The changes they made to the team were a contributory factor but it was the change in attitude that made such a big difference on the night.
Roscommon: Daniel Connolly; Cathal Brogan, Darragh Murray, Kealan Gunning; Robbie Dolan, Ruaidhri Fallon, Jack Lohan; Enda Crawley (0-1), Shane Cunnane (0-7, 4 frees, 1 ’45); Aaron McDermott (0-1), Liam Ormsby (0-1), Richard Walsh; Fearghus Lennon, Adam McDermott (3-2,1 free), James Fitzpatrick (1-0). Subs: Eoghan Derwin for Lennon (55), Charlie Carthy for Walsh (56), Niall Moran for Crawley (60), Jason Doory for Adam McDermott (60), David Wynne for Ormsby (62), Daniel Farrell for Cunnane (62).
Mayo: Ronan Connolly: Sean Holmes, Eoghan McHale, Aidan Cosgrove; Ruairi Keane, Liam Óg Horkan, Conor Dunleavy (0-1); Jack Carney, Harry Burke; Frank Irwin (0-1), Ultan O’Reilly, Lee Traynor (0-1); Martin Ball (0-2), Fionn Ryan, Enda Hession (0-6, 5 frees). Subs: Evan Ivers for Traynor (14), Ethan Henry for O’Reilly (27), Luke Dawson for Holmes (h/t), Liam O’Donoghue for McHale (39), Ciaran Mylett for Burke (44), Peter Timlin for Ivers (56).
Referee: James Molloy (Galway)
Wides: Roscommon 5 Mayo 11
Man of the Match: Enda Crawley (Roscommon)