Allianz NFL Division 2 (Round 4): Roscommon 1-21 Louth 0-12
This was better, much better. Roscommon shook off their inhibitions in the second half of this one-sided clash in Drogheda last Sunday to record a badly needed win and now Kevin McStay and his troops can look ahead to the rest of the league with confidence after this morale boosting victory.
The Roscommon team was much changed from that which took to the field against Down, and against an admittedly very poor Louth side, there were plenty of positives as harder tests approach.
Peter Domican was excellent at full-back and Niall Daly performed solidly at centre half-back. It was a pity that Ross Timothy had to go off early with a leg injury but he will get another chance I’m sure.
Roscommon started really well at midfield with Enda Smith and Conor Daly on fire, which was very positive. Enda tired visibly as the game went on but Conor Daly put in a massive shift and was the ‘man of the match’ on the day - and deservedly so too.
Not far behind him was team captain Conor Devaney, who worked his socks off all through and scored three excellent points. Diarmuid Murtagh looked sharp once again and Ciaráin Murtagh also had a few good moments.
I don’t know what else I can say about Donie Smith. He was only on the field for 30 minutes on Sunday yet he managed to score seven points in what was a sensational performance. He has performed miracles off the bench for Roscommon in this league. He must be the best sub in the game at the moment!
Overall it was a satisfactory performance but there were a few things that gave cause for concern too. Roscommon kicked eleven wides and some of those were of the very poor variety. Roscommon also missed at least two easy goal chances when they were on top and they have to start being more clinical when they are in on goal. Against better teams they will pay dearly for those misses. There were also some very poor passages of play where Roscommon lost the ball when in good positions but all those things can be ironed out on the training field.
To win by twelve points will give the players and everyone involved a big lift ahead of the three tough games that lie ahead. Clare in Ennis on Sunday is not going to be as easy as this game was, but it is still one that Roscommon should win.
After the doom and gloom of the Down game the train is firmly back on the tracks and while no one should get carried away, the rest of the league campaign should be very interesting.
Teams and Scorers
Roscommon: James Fetherstone; Seanie McDermott, Peter Domican, David Murray; Ronan Daly, Niall Daly (0-1), Ross Timothy; Enda Smith (0-2), Conor Daly (0-2); Ciaráin Murtagh (0-2, frees), Niall Kilroy, Conor Devaney (0-3); Diarmuid Murtagh (1-3), Ciaran Lennon (0-1), Cathal Cregg. Subs: John McManus for R Timothy (12), Donie Smith (0-7, 3 frees) for C Cregg (40), Cathal Compton for D Murray (53) Fintan Cregg for C Murtagh (63), Ian Kilbride for E Smith (67), Shane Killoran for D Murtagh (69).
Louth: Craig Lynch; Darren Marks, Emmet Carolan, James Craven; Derek Maguire (0-1), Bevan Duffy (0-1), Anthony Williams (0-1); Tommy Durnin (0-1), Andy McDonnell (0-1); Eoghan Lafferty, Conor Grimes, Ronan Holcroft (0-1); William Woods, Declan Byrne, Ryan Burns (0-3, frees). Subs: Ross Nally for W Woods (b/c ht), James Stewart for T Durnin (h/t) Gerard McSorley (0-3) for R Holcroft (ht), Fergal Donohoe for A Williams (b/c 57) Eimhin Keenan for D Maguire (63).
Referee: Liam Devenney (Mayo)