Whenever a Roscommon team triumphs on final day in Croke Park, it invariably comes with an element of high drama. The county’s sole All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship success to date arrived on St. Patrick’s Day 2013 when Frankie Dolan kicked a late point to give St. Brigid’s the edge over a star-studded Ballymun Kickhams.
Even more pulsating was the Nicky Rackard Cup victory at the expense of Armagh in 2015, decided by Micheal Kelly’s extraordinary injury-time goal off a close-range free. However, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that last Saturday’s Paddy Drummond Cup decider matched them every step of the way.
When Roscommon CBS embarked on eight minutes of injury-time at the end of the second half – largely brought about by the unfortunate withdrawal of Jack Lohan – it was nigh on impossible to predict how the action would unfold.
Both teams had built considerable cushions over the course of the contest, only to be pegged back by their resilient opponents. Traded Ciaran Lawless and David Dineen frees looked like keeping the sides inseparable, but CBS’ James Fitzpatrick had other ideas.
With time almost up, he was picked out in space just on the edge of the scoring zone. He hadn’t found the target up to that point in the contest, but the hard-working full-forward made no mistake with a sublime curled effort at a right-hand angle.
This was the second title at this grade for CBS, following their extra-time win over Scoil Mhuire, Clane in Mullingar in 2011. They also reached the Hogan Cup (Senior ‘A’) final four years ago, when Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne of Dingle got the better of them.
This goes some way to making amends for that loss and it was heartening to see the CBS supporters in full voice before, during and after Saturday’s game. While Fitzpatrick, Liam Ormsby (excellent throughout) and captain Ciaran Lawless will take much of the plaudits, Roscommon had heroes right across the field.
Full-back Colin Walsh and Lohan (prior to his injury) were inspirational in the key central positions, with Cian Murray breaking forward from wing-back to register an astonishing haul of 1-2. The midfield of Albert Looby and Keith Doyle provided a strong platform for CBS and the latter’s two-point salvo galvanised his side during a remarkable third-quarter dominance.
Seeing Lawless climb the steps of the Hogan Stand will undoubtedly boost spirits within the county ahead of the respective minor, U-20 and senior championship campaigns for Roscommon. For now, Roscommon CBS can bask in the glory of another national success.