Eirgrid Connacht U-20 Football Championship Semi-Final
The records will show that Galway advanced as expected to the Eirgrid Connacht U-20 final against Mayo but behind the headlines is a story of a huge Roscommon effort and at no stage did Padraig Joyce’s men look like they would have the easy passage that most pundits were expecting.
Roscommon can point to at least two missed clear goal chances and a penalty in the 61st minute which was kicked over for a point by Brian Derwin. It has to be said that while Galway were the better side and played some great football at times, they were given the fright of their lives by a very gritty and determined Roscommon outfit.
On a balmy evening in perfect conditions Shane Curran’s men could not be faulted for effort as they flooded the half-back line and attempted to deny a very highly-rated Galway outfit space to play and they succeeded in that for the most part in the early stages.
Slick movement and superb attacking play saw Rory Cunningham, Darragh Silke (free) and Padraig Costello put the visitors into the lead by the 8th minute. But Roscommon had edged into a surprise lead by the 13th minute. First, goalkeeper Aaron Brady stroked over a ’45 in the 11th minute and two minutes later Gerry Galvin’s shot looked an easy save for Galway goalkeeper Oran Burke but the Corofin man let the ball slip through his hands and Roscommon were ahead.
But it was Galway who responded with some quality scores after the goal. Matthew Tierney (a long-range free), Liam Boyle and Ross Mahon clipped over points from play to re-establish Galway’s superiority. Paul Carey (free) and a super Ronan Dowd point added to Roscommon’s score but Galway always looked dangerous going forward and Roscommon’s inability to win their own kick-outs was proving costly for them. At half-time Galway led by 0-11 to 1-3.
In the third quarter Roscommon dug in and they denied Galway any space to play at all. There were only three points in the third quarter with Roscommon scoring two from James Fitzpatrick and a Ronan Dowd free. But the effort that the Roscommon players were putting in was beginning to take its toll and Galway eased home to victory after that.
Outstanding attackers Rory Cunningham and Matthew Tierney could always engineer a score and they were able to point from distance to the home side at arm’s length. Roscommon were awarded a penalty as the clock slipped into injury-time but Brian Derwin’s shot flew over the crossbar and any chance Roscommon had was gone.
So an expected win for Galway but Roscommon have gone out with their heads held high after a huge effort. Aaron Brady, Niall Higgins, Dylan Sumner and Ronan Dowd were all excellent on the night for a highly motivated Roscommon side. But football class told in the end and heart and determination was just not good enough.
Galway: Oran Burke; Ross Mahon (0-1), Sean Mulkerrin, Eoghan McFadden; Liam Boyle (0-1), Ciaran Potter, Jack Kirrane; Matthias Barrett, Michael Collins; Matthew Tierney (0-3, 2 frees), Gavin Burke, Ben O’Connell; Darragh Silke (0-3, frees), Padraig Costello (0-2, 1 free), Rory Cunningham (0-4). Subs: Liam Costello (0-2) for Collins (26), Jack Glynn for Kirrane (45), Jason Reilly for Mulkerrin (b/c 47), Eoin Mannion (0-1) for Costello (50), Conor Newell for O’Connell (53), Jason Reilly for Burke (58).
Roscommon: Aaron Brady (0-1 ’45), Robbie Dolan; Michael Conboy, Niall Higgins, Gerry Galvin (1-0); Dylan Sumner, Padraig Halpin; Daire Keenan, Ronan Dowd (0-3, frees), Jonathan Hester; James Fitzpatrick (0-1), Paul Carey (0-1 free), Dylan Ruane, Ciaran Lawless for Keenan (h/t), Sean Hanly for Killoran (34), Tim Lambe for Conroy (36), Brian Derwin (0-1, pen) for Fitzpatrick (44), Cian Corcoran for Sumner (51), Thomas O’Rourke for Ruane (56).
Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)