Game of the Weekend
Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC Group C (Round Two)
Clann na nGael 1-8
There were a couple of remarkable things that happened during this mis-match in Ballyleague last Saturday. Firstly, seldom (if ever) in the proud history of Clann na nGael have they ever been on the end of such a hiding in the club championship. It consigns the reigning champions to the bottom three, and having only won the championship last autumn, they will now have a relegation battle to plan for.
But the highlight of a balmy evening on the banks of the River Shannon was that Donie Smith turned in one of the best individual performances that I have seen in all the years I have been attending Roscommon club championship games. The mercurial attacker scored a goal and fifteen points from play and placed balls, and not only that, he set up several more scores for his colleagues on the day. It was a mesmerising performance from an immensely talented player and surely some sort of record in Roscommon championship football.
Boyle had Clann in trouble from the start, Enda Smith and Ciaran Cox were on top at midfield and with Donie Smith on fire, the scores soon began to pile up. It was 0-3 to 0-2 after seven minutes before Basil Mannion’s men scored seven points without reply (Donie Smith with six of those) to open up a handsome seven-point gap. Cathal Callinan was flying a lone flag for Clann up front and it was all the more surprising when he was taken off in the second half having scored three fine points from play.
With five minutes to go to the break Cian McKeon was fouled by Philip Greene and referee Ollie Kelly awarded a penalty. It looked a harsh call, however Donie Smith made no mistake from 12 yards and at half-time Boyle led 1-9 to 0-6.
But if Clann were second best in that first-half, it was nothing compared to what happened after the break as Boyle pressed the accelerator and sped off into the distance with a series of brilliant scores, with Donie Smith at the centre of almost every attacking move.
In the 35th minute Enda Smith scored a spectacular goal and followed that up with a point almost immediately. It was exhibition stuff now and Clann were bystanders as the Boyle attack and Donie in particular ran riot. In fact, Boyle settled for points on at least three occasions in the second half when a goal was on, such was their dominance. Donie Shine scored a goal in the 5th minute of injury-time for Clann but it didn’t even have the feel of consolation about it.
For those of us who can remember the days when Clann ruled Roscommon football with an iron fist, this was a shock. Remember too that just last October the men from Johnstown scored 4-15 in a stunning attacking display as they defeated St. Brigid’s to win the Fahey Cup. They are short top-class players like Fergal Lennon, Ultan Harney and Jack Connaughton but even so, this was a demoralising and shocking defeat. It will be hard for them to recover from this.
For Boyle it was a day to remember. Apart from the spectacular performance from Donie Smith, Enda Smith, Cian McKeon, Tadgh McKenna, Seanie Purcell and Ciaran Cox all played really well. For them the trick will now be to follow up this display with more of the same. It will be interesting to see how they do against Western Gaels in round three.
Boyle: Robert Kearney; Killian Cox, Conor Flanagan, Evan McGrath; Tadgh McKenna (0-1), Sean Purcell, Michael Hanmore; Ciaran Cox, Enda Smith (1-1); Dylan East, Cian McKeon (0-4), Jim Suffin (0-1); Donie Smith (1-15, 1-0 pen, 8 frees), Mark O’Connor, Mark O’Donoghue (0-2).
Subs: Colin Goldrick (0-1) for O’Connor (38), Ryan Finneran for McGrath (51), Seamus Keane (0-1) for O’Donoghue (55), Jack Moran for East (58), Brian Furey for Purcell (59), Ben Kerins for Suffin (63).
Clann na nGael: Philip Greene: Damien Duff, Stephen Flynn, Darren Duff; Darragh Pettit, Shane Pettit, David Connaughton; Dylan Sumner, Graham Pettit; Emmet Kenny, Cathal Shine, Cian McManus; Donie Shine (1-4, 1 free), Ciaran Lennon (0-1), Cathal Callinan (0-3).
Subs: Sea Henry for Kenny (12), Callum O’Brien for Shine (28), Oisin Lennon for Sumner (37), Johnny Dunning for Lennon (50), Darragh Kildea for Callinan (52), Cathal Duignan for D Pettit (56).
Referee: Ollie Kelly