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Clann aiming to stop Kilbride’s four-in-a-row!

 

 

Abbey Hotel Roscommon Ladies SFC Final

Kilbride v Clann na nGael on Saturday in Kiltoom at 4.45 pm

 

 

It’s the clash of the great rivals Clann and Kilbride in the county senior final once again this year and with Kilbride going for four titles in a row, Clann will be hoping to stop them.

  Kilbride have ruled the roost in Roscommon club football over the past few years but the evidence is that the gap is closing and Clann will come with a real chance on Saturday. They know that they have the measure of Kilbride after beating them in the league final earlier in the year.

  Ollie Lennon’s side has loads of experience and with the likes of Tara Taylor, Rochelle Mullaney, Siobhan Tully, Sinead Clabby, and Alice Kelly on board it is hard to look beyond the champions. But Clann have very competent performers in Ruth Finlass, Kelley Colgan, Megan Kelly, Emma Kildea, Kara Earle and Kayleigh Dunning and the major success at underage level that they have had in recent years will surely soon transfer into senior titles.

  In last year’s final the experience and know-how of Kildride were the decisive factors and they know that Clann are getting closer to them with each year that passes by. However, there may by one more year in the champions and I take them to win narrowly on Saturday and make it four titles in a row.

Prediction: Kilbride

 

Looking forward to rugby without the hype!

 

 

It’s great to see the community of Kiltoom getting behind their man Jack Carty ahead of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup opener against Scotland in Yokohama this Sunday. The sign displayed on the way to Athlone may not be the last of its kind either judging by the rugby talent being produced in ‘St. Brigid’s country’!

  These are strange days in Irish Rugby circles. The team is ranked number one in the world and contains top-class talent in most if not all positions, and yet the tsunami of hype that usually surrounds Irish teams ahead of major tournaments seems to have slowed to a trickle.

  The general consensus is that this World Cup has come along a year too late for Joe Schmidt’s men and the world ranking doesn’t accurately reflect the current state of world rugby. Ask most Irish supporters and they’ll tell you our ‘Team of Us’ are outsiders behind the likes of New Zealand, South Africa and, perish the thought, England. Some even argue (quite legitimately) that there’s no guarantee Ireland will be the biggest fish in their own pool.

  Despite all this new-found rugby negativity, I’m looking forward to Sunday’s showdown with the Scots. The favourite’s tag has never sat well with the Irish psyche and the hype which surrounded Ireland ahead of World Cups in the past certainly didn’t help.

  The fact is, despite the current world ranking, Ireland are arguably the World Cup’s biggest underachievers. Six times an Irish team has fallen at the quarter-finals stage. We have never gone beyond that. Even our opening opponents Scotland have made the semi-finals (1991). Even Argentina have third and fourth-placed finishes to their name (2007 and 2015), as do Wales (1987 and 2011).

  Going into this tournament without the hype and expectation might actually suit us. Past results would suggest that a quarter-final place is the best we can expect…but part of the excitement is hoping for more!

 

Seamus Duke on sport - September 20th

 

 

Dubs make history with 5-in-a-row!

 

Last week I predicted that Dublin would win the replay by four points so I suppose I was close enough to the mark! Either way it was another magnificent occasion and another mighty game of football and a privilege to have been there to see it. The atmosphere was the best I have experienced in Croke Park since I started going there and an excellent young Kerry team played their part too.

  Thankfully we didn’t have to endure the bore that we saw in 2018 when Tyrone made no attempt to play football at all. Kerry were excellent last Sunday but they found that Dublin were just too good on the day.

  It didn’t take a genius to work out that a lot of Dublin’s big guns did not play well in the drawn game and that was not going to happen again. But Kerry gave the Dubs a severe test. Some of their attacking play was out of the top drawer. Sean O’Shea is a fantastic player. He has had a better year overall than Clifford, and that’s saying something. But Mannion, O’Callaghan and Kilkenny were lethal and the Kerry defence was in big trouble from the throw-in.

  It was also incredible to note that Kerry did not concede one free inside the 45-metre line which has to be a record in any kind of a football match, All-Ireland final or not.

  I have questioned in the past whether this Dublin team should be labelled as the best of all time, and while I would have strongly disputed that label a number of times in the past few years, I have to admit that they are the greatest football team that I have seen in my time, and that includes the great Kerry team of the 70s and 80s.

  It’s easy to use the funding issue and the fact that they play most of their games in Croke Park to beat Dublin with, but the players have to be organised, motivated, and trained year after year which is an incredibly hard thing to do. It remains to be seen what will happen now with Jim Gavin and several of the older players. My guess is that Gavin will step down. His legacy is written in the history books now forever.

  I like watching Dublin play football and I also like watching Kerry play too. They try to play the game the way it should be played. I was delighted to be there to watch history being made. It will never happen again in my lifetime.

  My Man of the Match would have been Stephen Cluxton as I thought he was superb. I was down his end of the ground in the first half and had a chance to study him carefully and he never put a foot wrong. His kick-outs were immaculate and he made several great saves and was brilliant under the high ball. He is the greatest goalkeeper that has ever played the game. The 2019 Player of the Year in my book.

RTÉ panel’s questionable picks

The RTÉ panel picked a very strange ‘Team of the Year’ last Saturday night after the All-Ireland Final replay that included two Mayo defenders despite the fact that they were beaten by both Roscommon and Dublin, and conceded big scores.

  For what it’s worth, here is my ‘Team of the Year’: Stephen Cluxton; Jonny Cooper, Ronan McNamee, Tom O’Sullivan; Paddy Durkan, James McCarthy, Jack McCaffrey; Brian Fenton, David Moran; Ciaran Kilkenny, Sean O’Shea, Brian Howard; David Clifford, Michael Murphy, Con O’Callaghan.

  My ‘Player of the Year’ would be Stephen Cluxton with Sean O’Shea the Young Player of the Year.

Huge weekend for club championships

It’s a huge weekend in Roscommon club football with quarter-finals at junior, intermediate and senior. The matches are previewed in detail elsewhere in the paper but when Sunday evening comes about we should have a clearer idea about the possible front-runners in the various grades.

  As things stand, Roscommon Gaels and Pádraig Pearses have emerged as strong candidates in the senior championship but there is a lot of football to be played yet.

  Tulsk and Castlerea have been the form teams in the intermediate and Ballinameen have not yet put a foot wrong in the junior championship. But there are always twists and turns and as we have seen in the championships so far, the formbook has been thrown out the window and you can be sure there will be at least one or two big shocks this weekend.

Low expectations ahead of World Cup

This weekend the Rugby World Cup will begin in Japan and expectations for Ireland have been lowered over the past few months and rightly so too. It will be a festival of rugby but I expect the title to be won by England, New Zealand or South Africa. I would be hopeful that Ireland would make it out of their group but even that’s not certain at all.

  Scotland will be dangerous opponents on Sunday but the great unknowns are Japan who have a number of very good players and who will be very keen to take at least one big scalp while playing at home. Remember that in the last World Cup they beat South Africa.

  Ireland should be good enough to beat Scotland but it looks like a quarter-final exit again. Most of the matches are on in the early morning Irish time so don’t forget to set your alarm clocks!

Ladies’ senior final was a poor show

It was the biggest day of the year in Ladies football last Sunday, and with a crowd of over 56,000 people, it was a pity that the senior final between Galway and Dublin was such a poor game. The conditions didn’t help but it was poor stuff. At least the intermediate and junior finals were good games.

  Meath were defeated in the intermediate final once again which means that they will be in with Roscommon again next year and that is not good news. The Royals have proven too strong for Roscommon over the past few years.

  Here in the county it’s county finals day in Kiltoom next Saturday and in the senior decider the best two teams in the county by some distance, Clann na nGael  and Kilbride, will square up once again. Kilbride have ruled the roost for the past few years but maybe it’s time for Clann to take the title this year. It will be a great game.

Best of luck to Mick in Presidential race!

Mick Rock has decided to throw his hat into the ring in the GAA Presidential election and I wish him the best of luck. He is an excellent candidate, a great clubman, a very good speaker and administrator and a man with plenty of experience throughout the years at local, county and national level. But this is a much sought after position and it will require a tough and intense campaign for Mick to step into the shoes of Dan O’Rourke and Dr. Donal Keenan.

  I believe that Jarlath Burns of Armagh, Patrick O’Sullivan of Cork and Larry McCarthy of New York are also in the field and there are sure to be a few more so it will be a tall order. But Mick Rock is certainly as good as any of those names and would make a great President. What an honour that would be for his family, his club and our county. It will be a tough few months for him as he hits the road looking for support.

 

 

Ciaran’s can seal silverware on Saturday

 

 

McNeill’s Foodstore Ladies IFC Final

St. Ciaran’s v Kilglass Gaels in Kiltoom on Saturday at 2.45 pm

 

This could be the game of the day but Kilglass are short a couple of players with injuries and St. Ciaran’s have been doing well this year. In last year’s final St. Mary’s were the impressive winners against Kilglass but with Natalie McHugh and Nicola Tully to call on up front, Kilglass will not be without a chance this time around.

   It could be a huge weekend for the Fuerty/Athleague area with their men’s team looking for a last four spot in the senior championship on Sunday. It looks like their ladies team will be good enough to give them a boost on Saturday.

Prediction: St. Ciaran’s

 

The Junior ‘A ‘ final between Castlerea St. Kevin’s and Michael Glavey’s will get proceedings underway in Kiltoom at 1 pm this Saturday. The Junior ‘C’ final between Oran and Kilbride II will be played on Friday night.

  Admission to Kiltoom for Saturday’s finals is €10 for adults and €5 for OAPs and students with valid ID.

 

 

Gaels pay penalty as Brigid’s march on

 

 

 

 

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC Play-Off

St. Brigid’s 1-6

Western Gaels 0-8

 

 

The tendency in recent years of Western Gaels to shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to big championship games came to the fore again last Sunday at Dr. Hyde Park when they were pipped at the post by a resurgent St. Brigid’s in the play-off for a quarter-final spot. On the balance of play the Gaels should have at least got a share of the spoils but they spurned several gilt-edged chances, including a missed penalty in the 35th minute.

  That’s not to take away from a Brigid’s side who are now into a quarter-final and after a poor start to the championship they will go into their clash with Pádraig Pearses as the underdogs which will suit them fine.

  This was a very poor game played in terrible conditions with driving rain falling throughout. Brigid’s held their nerve in a very tense last 15 minutes as the Gaels’ efforts to draw level got more desperate as the final whistle got closer. The biggest cheer of the day greeted Senan Kilbride, who came on as a sub in the 43rd minute after his recent illness, and indeed his trademark point in the 59th minute turned out to be a match-winner.

  There were only two points in the opening 14 minutes, from a Brian Stack free and a Kevin Higgins effort from 25 metres. Then Brigid’s struck for the only goal of the game at the end of the first quarter. Eddie Nolan made a great run, passed to Ciaran Sugrue who in turn found Paul McGrath who fisted home. It gave Brigid’s a lead they were never to lose.

  Points from Brian Stack (free), Eddie Nolan, and Brian Derwin in the second quarter completed Brigid’s first-half scoring with Niall Higgins (two frees) and Kevin Higgins on target for Western Gaels. Half-time score St. Brigid’s 1-4 Western Gaels 0-4.

  Could Western Gaels up the ante on the resumption? It looked like they had done just that when the previously subdued Cathal Cregg pointed from 30 metres. Then the big chance they got to take a grip on proceedings arrived three minutes later. John Duffy’s long ball into the danger area was fielded by Niall Higgins and referee Aaron Clogher adjudged that he was fouled and it was a Gaels’ penalty. Up stepped Niall Higgins himself but Brigid’s stand-in goalkeeper Seamus Smith (on for the injured James Martin at half-time) made a brilliant save. There was only one more score in the third quarter, a pointed free from Niall Higgins, and that narrowed the gap to a point (1-4 to 0-6).

  Both sides were missing chances and the Gaels were becoming increasingly anxious as the game went on. Brian Derwin and Niall Higgins exchanged pointed frees, and with the 60 minutes almost up, Senan Kilbride swung over a trademark point from play to put his side two up. Western Gaels laid siege to the Brigid’s goal but they never really fashioned a clear-cut chance except in the 66th minute when Tommy Devine swung his boot at a loose ball and it flew over the crossbar. It was too little too late for the Gaels though and they will be scratching their heads this week at what happened after they had scored 3-16 against Boyle the previous week.

  For Brigid’s, they will look on a quarter-final  against Pearses as a bonus and they will be gaining in confidence. Pearse Frost, Alan Daly, Eddie Nolan. Brian Derwin and Brian Stack all played well and the return of Senan Kilbride is a huge boost to them. For a very disappointing Gaels side Ciaran Cafferky, Kevin Higgins and Niall Higgins were best.

St. Brigid’s: James Martin; Pearse Frost, Niall McInerney, Peter Domican; Ronan Stack, Alan Daly, Gearoid Cunniffe; Ian Kilbride, Eddie Nolan (0-1); Padraig Kelly, Paul McGrath (1-0), Eoin Sheehy; Brian Derwin (0-3, 2 frees), Brian Stack (0-1), Ciaran Sugrue. Subs: Seamus Smith for Martin (h/t), Senan Kilbride (0-1) for Sugrue (43), Conor Gleeson for Cunniffe (58), Mark Daly for Sheehy (59), Gavin Byrne for Daly (66).

Western Gaels: Derek Moran; Sean Conry, Aidan Dowd, Brian Cafferky; Barry Creighton, Seanie McDermott, Ciaran Cafferky; Finbar Cregg, Kevin Higgins (0-2); James McDonnell, John Duffy, Tommy Gill; Tommy Devine (0-1), Cathal Cregg (0-1), Niall Higgins (0-4, all frees). Subs: Brian Casserly for F Cregg (h/t), Luke Hester for Duffy (h/t), Jack Higgins for Gill (60).

Referee: Aaron Clogher

 

 

Senior clubs battle for semi spots

 

 

Roscommon Gaels v Elphin on Saturday in Strokestown at 4.15 pm

Roscommon Gaels have been the most consistent team in the senior championship so far. Without being spectacular, they have gone about their business quietly and efficiently and have won their three games to date without much fuss. However, no one connected with the town club will need me to tell them that there is a lot of football to be played yet.

  Elphin have been very much up and down in terms of form in this championship. I saw them play St. Brigid’s in round one and they were excellent and thoroughly deserved to win. Then in round two, and not for the first time in this championship, the formbook was turned upside down when Peter Carney’s men were surprised by St. Croan’s. Then in round three Elphin improved again, and a late Frankie Cregg point saw them into the quarter-finals after a dramatic draw against Fuerty.

  The Gaels will be without Scott Oates and Cian Connolly again but have seen Mark Healy and Mark Nally return to the fold. The return from injury this year of Brian Kelly and Ciaran Kilcline and the arrival of Ronan Carolan has strengthened the Gaels attack.

  Elphin will be hoping that Fintan Cregg will be fit and he, alongside Enda and Shane Killoran and Gerry and Frankie Cregg, will carry the biggest threat for them.

  It may not be as one-sided as a lot of people think but it would be a shock if the Gaels do not advance to the last four. They look the better-balanced outfit all over the field.

Prediction: Roscommon Gaels

 

Boyle v Michael Glavey’s on Saturday in Castlerea at 5.30pm

This is another very interesting tie. Glavey’s exploded onto the scene this year and looked a very good side in their opening game against St. Faithleach’s. But they were pegged back by a resurgent Strokestown in round two before running into an in-form Roscommon Gaels in round three.

  Boyle have been impressive and are a lot of people’s dark horses for the championship this year. They were unlucky to concede two late goals against Pearses in their first game before they handed out a thrashing to Clann na nGael in what was the performance of the championship so far. In the third match they scored 3-16 but it was only good enough for a draw against Western Gaels.

  In the game of Gaelic football it is so important to have good forwards and Boyle have three outstanding attacking players in Donie and Enda Smith and Cian McKeon. They also have Seanie Purcell, Evan McGrath and Tadgh McKenna at the back, who are all excellent performers too.

  Michael Glavey’s will be hoping that the likes of Gary Patterson, Caoileann Fitzmaurice, Conor Hussey, Liam Cregg, and Andy Glennon can lead from the front and they will certainly have to improve on their display against the Gaels to win here.

  This could be a cracking match but I favour the attacking threat that Boyle have and they should prevail by three or four points.

Prediction: Boyle

 

Pádraig Pearses v St. Brigid’s on Sunday in Ballyforan at 2 pm

This should draw a huge crowd as one of the title favourites Pearses clash with their old rivals St. Brigid’s, who will relish going into the match as underdogs. Brigid’s are certainly not the team that they were, but they have shown enough in the last two games to suggest that they can cause Pearses plenty of problems.

  Pearses are very solid defensively, and with the Daly brothers and Davy Murray all playing well, it will take a good team to put up a winning score against them.

  However, Pearses are not as strong as they would like to be up front and they are very reliant on Paul Carey and Hubert Darcy. At the start of this campaign they were many people’s favourites to win the title but they have yet to show the form that will be required to bring the Fahey Cup to Taughmaconnell and Moore for the first time.

  The return of Senan Kilbride is a huge boost for Brigid’s and with Eddie Nolan, Gearoid Cunniffe, Niall McInerney, Ian Kilbride, Ronan Stack, Eoin Sheehy and Brian Stack all playing well it would be a foolish person to dismiss their chances.

  Brigid’s ran riot against St. Croan’s and held on grimly against Western Gaels last weekend. Nothing would give them greater pleasure than to knock out Pearses, but Pat Flanagan’s men are hard to break down and may just have the strength to withstand what has been an impressive Brigid’s resurgence after a poor start to the campaign. Pearses to win by a point or two.

Prediction: Pádraig Pearses

 

Fuerty v Strokestown on Sunday in Dr. Hyde Park at 4.15pm

This looks the tightest of the four quarter-finals. Strokestown have improved as the championship has gone on and one wonders how far they could have gone if the likes of Kevin Finn, Cathal Compton and Thomas Corcoran and Sean Mullooly had been playing.

  In their vital clash with St. Faithleach’s, David Neary, Paddy Brogan and Colin Compton were excellent, however this will be a much tougher test. Fuerty are a very balanced side and are well organised and have a nice blend throughout their team.

  They are certainly not a one man side, and although Niall Kilroy is very important to them, the Bannons, Aengus Lyons, Ger Ennis and Philip Neilan have been superb all year. It has been a magnificent first season in the senior ranks for Fuerty and to be in the last eight as group winners is a marvellous achievement.

  There won’t be a lot between these two teams but I like the look of Fuerty who have good players in every line of their team. It will take a huge effort for Strokestown to win here. I fancy that the fairytale for Fuerty can go on at least for one more match.

Prediction: Fuerty

 

Last eight showdown in the IFC!

 

 

 

 

Mulryan Construction IFC Quarter-Finals

Creggs v Oran on Saturday in Enfield at 5.30 pm

This local derby should be a very entertaining spectacle. If Oran could get their strongest team out they would be title favourites, but they have been hit by injuries once again this year. However, they have some super young players and they played very well against St. Aidan’s a couple of weeks ago. Creggs won two games impressively before running into Tulsk last week. The Dowds and Noel Gately are top-class players but I fancy that Oran might have too much firepower.

Prediction: Oran

St. Dominic’s v Shannon Gaels on Saturday in Strokestown at 6 pm

Dominic’s have recovered well from a shaky start to the championship while Shannon Gaels were the deserving winners against Kilmore last weekend and they are capable of putting up big scores with the likes of Matthew Bourke playing well up front this year. Dominic’s are a well-balanced outfit but are still reliant on stalwarts like Conor Fallon and Mark Miley. This will be close.

Prediction: Shannon Gaels

Tulsk v Éire Óg on Sunday in Frenchpark at 1.30 pm

Tulsk have been playing well again this year but they always seem to slip up just when they look like they will win the title. I have seen them play twice and have been impressed with them so far. Éire Óg have also been doing well but this might just be a step up for them and it would be a surprise if Gerry Lohan’s side do not make it to the last four.

Prediction: Tulsk

Castlerea St. Kevin’s v Kilbride on Sunday in Elphin at 3.45 pm

Castlerea’s young guns have not put a foot wrong so far this summer as they plan a quick return to senior ranks. Kilbride pipped Kilglass for a place in the last eight but without their talisman Conor Devaney they have struggled to make an impact. It would be shock of the day if Castlerea were to be beaten.

Prediction: Castlerea St. Kevin’s

King and Moffatt JAFC quarter-finals

This weekend will see quarter-final action in the junior championship and Clann na nGael should be good enough to defeat Pádraig Pearses. Ballinameen will also be hot favourites to defeat Western Gaels, while St. Brigid’s will be favoured to beat St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s should account for Roscommon Gaels.

 

 

Dooner's weekend predictions - September 20th

 

 

St. Peter’s struck an early blow in the Premier Division title race last weekend when they narrowly defeated Ballinasloe Town 3-2 at home. ‘The Town’ will be looking to bounce back immediately at home to Shiven Rovers this Saturday.

  Meanwhile, best of luck to all Roscommon & District Football League sides in Connacht Cup action this weekend!

Friday, September 20th

RDFL Premier Division

Kilkerrin United v Ballymoe FC. 8 pm

The hosts have impressed in their two games so far.

Prediction: Kilkerrin United

Moore United v Castlerea Celtic. 8.15 pm

The visitors will be hoping to get their first win of the campaign here.

Prediction: Castlerea Celtic

Saturday, September 21st

RDFL Premier Division

Ballinasloe Town v Shiven Rovers. 8 pm

The Town lost out narrowly to St. Peter’s last weekend but are expected to bounce back at home to Shiven.

Prediction: Ballinasloe Town

RDFL Second Division

Boyle Celtic B v St. Cuan’s United. 8 pm

United have lost two from three and face a difficult trip this Saturday.

Prediction: Boyle Celtic B

 

Sunday, September 22nd

 

TP Brennan CFA Cup Round One (2 pm)

Cam Celtic v Oughterard FC

Home win.

Prediction: Cam Celtic

Manor United v Moyne Villa

Away win.

Prediction: Moyne Villa

Castlerea Celtic B v Carrick Town

Home win.

Prediction: Castlerea Celtic B

CP Ajax v Conn Rangers

Home win.

Prediction: CP Ajax

St. Patrick’s FC v Glen Celtic

Away win.

Prediction: Glen Celtic

Gort United v Dysart FC

Away win.

Prediction: Dysart FC

Athenry FC B v Ballaghaderreen FC

Away win.

Prediction: Ballaghaderreen FC

RDFL Premier Division (11 am)

St. Peter’s FC v Skyvalley Rovers

The champions were impressive winners over Ballinasloe last weekend and are expected to maintain their 100% record this weekend.

Prediction: St. Peter’s FC

St. John’s Athletic v Moylough ‘79

The hosts have enjoyed a good start to the season and currently sit top of the table.

Prediction: St. John’s Athletic

RDFL First Division

Ahascragh United v Roscommon United. 2 pm

The visitors have been in devastating form recently.

Prediction: Roscommon United

RDFL Second Division (2 pm unless stated)

Roscommon United B v Ballinasloe Town B. 11 am

This could be an opportunity for the hosts to start picking up points.

Prediction: Draw

Skyvalley Rovers B v Ballymoe FC B

Skyvalley are tipped to maintain their 100% record.

Prediction: Skyvalley Rovers B

Ballaghaderreen FC v Moore United B

The hosts should have enough to see off Moore.

Prediction: Ballaghaderreen FC

Cloonfad United B v St. John’s Athletic B

Unfortunately, it looks like another defeat for St. John’s’ second side.

Prediction: Cloonfad United B

 

Strokestown on top in feisty encounter

 

 

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC (Group B)

 

Strokestown 0-17

 

St. Faithleach’s 2-7

 

 

Strokestown were the fully deserving winners of this feisty clash of the neighbours in Strokestown last Sunday afternoon. The home side needed at least a draw to ensure they were not dragged into a relegation scrap while the visitors had to win following two losses. But the home side got their noses in front in the second quarter, and while Faithleach’s never gave up, the home side always looked in control and they had a bit to spare in the end if truth be told.

  Faithleach’s’ season is imploding after a promising league campaign. The three Murtagh brothers started but none finished the game as Brian and Diarmuid were shown red cards (two yellows each) and Ciaráin (just returned from his summer in the USA) was carried off the field with seven minutes to go with a nasty looking ankle injury.

  Strokestown, on the other hand, were well organised and well up for this match. Cathal Brogan and David Neary were outstanding in defence, Paddy Brogan brilliantly directed traffic at midfield and up front Colin Compton was outstanding.

  It was three points each after a low-key opening quarter with Colin Compton scoring three frees for the home side and Diarmuid Murtagh (free) Dave Rooney and Darragh Hussey on target for Faithleach’s.

  The key score of the opening half arrived in the 23rd minute when Brogan and Diarmuid McGann did the spadework and Tony Lavin punched to the net to give his side a four-point lead. Points from Diarmuid Murtagh (free) followed by a splendid effort from play from Ciaráin Murtagh and an equally impressive strike from Keelan Beirne meant that at half-time it was Strokestown 1-6 St. Faithleach’s 0-6.

  On a couple of occasions in the second half Faithleach’s reduced the margin to two but every time they threatened Strokestown were able to go downfield and get that vital score.

  In the 36th minute Darragh Hussey was clean through on goal but Paddy Brogan made a superb tackle to disposes the Faithleach’s man and the danger was cleared. Eight minutes later Brian Murtagh was red-carded after getting two yellow cards within a minute, but Faithleach’s battled on.

  By the 52nd minute points from Darragh Hussey, Ciaráin Murtagh and a converted free from Diarmuid saw the gap down to just one. But Ciaráin Murtagh had been carried off in the incident that led to the awarding of the free. It was a huge blow for Faithleach’s.

  But Strokestown never panicked and they swept downfield two minutes later and McGann was the creator once more with Colin Compton supplying a cool finish. It was game, set and match to Strokestown after that and indeed there was more disappointment to come for Faithleach’s as Diarmuid Murtagh was shown a second yellow by referee Gerry Carmody in injury-time.

  Strokestown march on into the quarter-finals after a poor start to the campaign, while for Faithleach’s they will have to face a relegation battle without Ciaráin Murtagh and they have really slipped back in terms of their form since reaching the O’Rourke Cup final earlier in the year.

 

Strokestown: John McHugh; Kevin Shiel, Cathal Brogan (0-1), David Neary; Dylan Owens, Keelan Beirne (0-1), Michael Fallon; Paddy Brogan, David Butler; Tony Lavin (1-1), Daniel Rogers, Cian Lavelle; Keith Murphy, Colin Compton (1-6, 5 frees), Diarmuid McGann (0-2). Subs: Ruairi Molloy (0-1) for Lavelle (54), Cian Corcoran for Butler (58), Luke Kelly for Brogan (63).

St. Faithleach’s: Mark Tarmey; Stephen Ormsby, Mikey Cox, Karl Nerney; David Harrison, Adrian Murtagh, Kevin Farrell; Brian Murtagh, Cathal Gunn; Diarmuid Murtagh (0-6, 5 frees), Ciaráin Murtagh (0-3), Dave Rooney (0-1); Aidan Dooney, Darren Carbery, Darragh Hussey (0-3). Subs: James Browne for Nerney (24), Senan O’Grady for Gunn and Connell Kennelly for Carbery (both h/t), Jonathan Hussey for Rooney and Colm Mangan for Dooney (both 45), Darren Carbery for C Murtagh (52).

Referee: Gerry Carmody

 

 

 

 

 

Brigid’s win goal-fest to reach play-off

 

 

 

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC (Group A)

 

St. Brigid’s 3-25

St. Croan’s 4-7

 

If someone had told you before the match that St. Croan’s would score 4-7 and still lose by 15 points you would be forgiven for laughing at the thought. But that’s exactly what happened in this truly bizarre match played at Dr. Hyde Park on Saturday evening.

  Brigid’s needed to win and St. Croan’s needed a draw to stay in the championship but any notion that this would be a cautious defence-driven affair was dismissed as Brigid’s in particular went for the jugular from the first whistle. The game was over as a contest by half-time when Brigid’s led by 1-16 to 0-2. Indeed were it not for the heroics of Croan’s net-minder Vinny Egan, the Kiltoom men could easily have scored at least three more goals in that opening half such was their dominance.

  Down 18 points starting the second half, Croan’s threw caution to the wind, scored four goals, hit the frame of the goal twice and missed at least another three excellent goal chances such was the crazy nature of the contest. But Brigid’s could always keep their opponents at arm’s length and they won pulling up.

  It was one-way traffic in the opening half. With Brian Stack, Ciaran Sugrue, Padraig Kelly, Ronan Stack and company in total control the scores piled up and the only goal of the half arrived in the 19th minute, a splendid team effort finished by Paul McGrath.

  Croan’s’ first goal arrived in the 34th minute when Damien Goggins converted a penalty after Dan Malone was fouled. But Brigid’s put the foot on the accelerator after that and by the 48th minute they led by 2-21 to 1-4, their second goal coming from the boot of Ian Kilbride.

  Croan’s persisted, however, and Cathal Connelly grabbed a second goal in the 49th minute and with nine minutes to go Keith Muldoon fisted a third for the Ballintubber men and the same player was on hand to convert again in the 53rd minute. Brigid’s were never under any threat, but the fact they conceded four goals will not have pleased their management. Brian Stack completed the goal-fest in the 60th minute with a converted a Brigid’s penalty.

  After two poor performances, Brigid’s have found their shooting boots, and while they are certainly a team in transition, they will be dangerous opponents in the play-off stages. For Croan’s, who were only eliminated from the championship by Elphin’s late equaliser against Fuerty, it’s a relegation battle.

 

St. Brigid’s: James Martin; Pearse Frost, Niall McInerney, Alan Daly (0-1); Ronan Stack (0-2), Peter Domican, Eoin Sheehy (0-2); Ian Kilbride (1-2), Eddie Nolan (0-3, ’45); Padraig Kelly (0-4), Paul McGrath (1-0), Gearoid Cunniffe (0-2); Brian Derwin (0-2), Brian Stack (1-1, 1 pen), Ciaran Sugrue (0-5).

Subs: David Cunniffe for Sheehy (48), Gavin Byrne for McGrath (50), Conor Gleeson (0-1) for Derwin (53), Eamonn Cunnane for Nolan (56).

St. Croan’s: Vinnie Egan; Derek Conway, Greg Grogan, Philip Leech; Mark Kilcommins, Maurice Connaughton, Ger Connaughton; Richard Thompson (0-2, 2 frees), Dean Muldoon; Cathal Connelly (1-1), Aidan Brogan (0-1), Adrian Collins; Keith Muldoon (2-3, 1 free), Dan Malone, Damien Giggins (1-0, 1 pen).

Subs: Michael Holland for Collins (26), Brendan Pacey for Conway (h/t), Jason Egan for Brogan (55), Adrian Collins for Goggins (59).

Referee: Kevin Naughton

 

Man of the Match: Ciaran Sugrue (St. Brigid’s)

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