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!