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The Sporting Brief - July 12th






Wallball Nationals


There were a number of admirable Roscommon performances at the Wallball Nationals in Castlebar last weekend if no outright success.

  Colm Walshe very nearly made a fairytale comeback, reaching the Men’s Challenger Final before losing narrowly to Monaghan’s Conor Mohan 15-11.

  Carragh Kennedy came up short against Tyrone’s Clodagh Munroe in the Girls’ 15 and under category, following her impressive win over Olivia King of Galway in the first round.

  Siobhan Treacy beat Wexford’s Sarah Taafe in her first round before losing to Galway’s Emma Kinnane.

  In the Boys’ 15 and under grade, Philip Halliday edged past Cavan’s Niall Magee but then lost to Sligo’s Cormac Finn.

  Rory Carthy beat Galway and Armagh opposition in the same grade before being well beaten by Galway’s Cathal O’Laoire in the next round. His younger brother Eoghan overcame two Mayo opponents in the Boys’ 13 and under grade before coming up short against Wexford’s Bobby Doyle.

  Shona Kennedy lost her first round match in the Girls’ 13 and under grade to Tyrone’s Molly Darcy.

  In the Boys’ 17 and under, Liam Egan beat Jack Reilly in round one before losing out to Tyrone’s impressive Darragh Curran. Liam’s older brother Michael lost his first round match in the 19 and under to Cork’s Cian O’Driscoll by two points.

  Laura Mannion lost her first round match in the Ladies ‘B’ grade to Tyrone’s Michell Warren while Liam O’Ceallaigh suffered a similar fate in the Mens ‘C’ grade against Mark McDonnell of Monaghan.



Connacht Finalists!


We begin our golf round-up in Athlone, where the Ladies’ Intermediate team will play Loughrea in the Connacht Final in August after they beat Westport last Saturday.

  The Senior Foursomes team beat Galway last Saturday and they will play Portumna in the next round.

  In the recent AWGS outing, John Burns pipped PJ Martin to Patsy Mullins’ Captain’s Prize, though PJ did win the Plumbers’ three days before!

  Jean McGowan and Olive Dolan won the NBCR ‘Play in Pink’ competition recently while Assumpta Galvin claimed the 97 Club Summer Party event.

  To Castlerea next, where David Dolan came out on top in the men’s section of the Fore Club Alliance with 42 points while Mamie Creaton was best of the ladies with 41.

  Boyle’s Open Week was another huge success and winners were as follows – Monday’s 9-hole: Michael Rush; Ladies’ 9-hole: Tish Perry; Tuesday’s Men’s 9-hole: Lochlainn Conboy; Ladies’ 18-hole: Christine Hannon; Wednesday’s Men’s 9-hole: Lochlainn Conboy; Mixed Foursomes: Brendan Gaffney and Susan O’Mahoney; Thursday’s Men’s 18-hole: Lochlainn Conboy; Ladies’ 9-hole: Mary O’Hara; Friday Scramble: Brendan Gaffney, Susan O’Mahoney and Daniel Casey; Best Ladies’ team: Joyce Boles, Carmel McGarry and Mary O’Hara.

  In Roscommon, Ailbhe Farrell’s 39 points won last week’s ladies’ competition while the 9-hole competition went to Sarah Burke with 20. Gerry Keegan lifted the 1914 Captain’s Cup last Sunday following his 66 nett.

  The recent senior ladies’ competition was won by Marguerite Farrell and the men’s competition went to Michael Dolan.

  Well done to the Ladies Senior Foursomes team who had a great win in Claremorris on Saturday last. Next up is a quarter-final match against Athenry on July 21st.

  The men’s Junior Cup team was narrowly beaten by Galway at the AIG zone finals on Sunday.

  We finish in Carrick where the Jimmy Bruen team will compete in the Connacht semi-final in August following their impressive wins over Co. Sligo, Ballyhaunis and Castle Dargan recently.

  The Junior Cup team was, however, beaten by Co. Sligo following a good first round win.

  Last week’s competition was won by Gerry McDermott with 46 points while Michael Delory win the 9-hole 50/50 with 20 points.



Concannon tops!


David Concannon took the win on the first night of The Hollywood Bar Superleague. The Ballinaheglish darter overcame Mick Egan 3-0 in the final. Egan did however have the best finish of the night with a very impressive 167.

  This week’s Superleague will continue on Friday night with the draw at 8.45 pm and first darts at 9 pm. Contact David on 086-0823180 for more details.

Boston Rossie







Ciaráin swaps Rossies for Boston this summer



While the entire county of Roscommon will be waiting on tenderhooks to see who we will be meeting in the Super 8s next week, one of the best players that we have seen in the primrose and blue jersey over the past decade, and who would be an automatic choice on the team, will be watching from Boston in the USA.

  Ciaráin Murtagh captained Roscommon to win the Connacht Championship in 2017 and a very strong case can be made that he has been Roscommon’s best forward over the past five years. But five years of all-year-round training, travelling and playing games took its toll, and he wanted a break. His opportunity to take a step back arrived at the end of last season with the arrival of a new management team.

  Ciaráin didn’t play in any of the National League games this year and although he played with his club St. Faithleach’s, he arranged to travel to Boston for the summer. A teacher by profession, he left Ireland last Saturday morning and expects to be back in time for the new school year.

  Many Roscommon fans would say that if Ciaráin was in the attack alongside ‘little brother’ Diarmuid and new arrival Conor Cox that Roscommon would be very serious All-Ireland contenders. However, the Ballyleague man is very happy with the decision he has taken and he hopes to be back in the primrose and blue in the very near future, refreshed and ready to go again.

  People Sport caught up with Ciaráin last Thursday night ahead of his trip to the USA.

  “I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’m going to Boston and will play a bit of football there as well,” he said.

  Diarmuid Connolly was expected to travel but recently hit a snag due to visa issues. Ciaráin still held out some hope that the Dubs star would make it.

  “I’m not sure what the set-up is but if we (Connolly and himself) do manage to team up it would be great, but we will see how it pans out,” he said.

  Among his confirmed teammates on the Boston (Donegal) team are Mark Connellan of Westmeath, Mark Bradley from Tyrone and Gary Walsh from Laois.

  Ciaráin is very comfortable that he made the right decision at the right time to step back from the inter-county game.

  “I have no regrets whatsoever on what I’ve decided. I felt I needed a break after all the training and travelling. When you don’t enjoy what you are doing it’s time to take a look at it and I just wanted time to re-charge the batteries. In fact, it’s something that I probably should have done before now.

  “I have had some great years with Roscommon since 2014 but there was a new managerial set-up coming and it was the right time to step back. It was certainly no reflection on any manager or the set-up. My mind was made up when last season finished for Roscommon. It would not have been fair for me to go back playing and training if my mind wasn’t 100%...I just needed time away from it.

  “I have been at the majority of the (Roscommon) games this year and it is great to see the team going so well. I am just as enthusiastic about Roscommon winning as if I was playing myself, and with Diarmuid back now I am thrilled that they are doing so well,” he said.

  So how does he think Roscommon will do in the Super 8s?

  “I think we will do very well. It’s difficult to talk about the matches when we don’t know the draw yet, but the way Roscommon are set up this year means that they will be very difficult to beat. We look a really good side but there are tough challenges ahead. It’s great to have a home game first; a win in that game would be huge.

  “Naturally I’m very friendly with the lads on the team and I was so thrilled that they won the Connacht title. They played some great football against Mayo and Galway. I’ll be watching the Super 8 matches in Boston,” he said.

  So what does the future hold? Will we see Ciaráin back in the primrose and blue again in future?

  “Oh I expect to be back. If the management at the time want me and think I have something to contribute then I would love to go back at some stage. I just wanted a break to re-fresh and re-group and I will be able to do that this summer. It’s my intention to play again but I need this break first – but needless to say, I will be wishing the lads the very best of luck this summer,” he said.

  Ciaráin was obviously delighted to see brother Diarmuid back to full fitness after a tough year with a serious eye injury.

  “I’m delighted for Diarmuid, It was this time last year he got the eye injury so it’s been a long recovery period but thankfully he is going well again”.

  Ciaráin is really looking forward to the summer break in Boston but he will be keeping a close eye on the Super 8s and in particular the performance of Roscommon. And no doubt Roscommon fans are looking forward to seeing him in the Roscommon jersey once again in the future!


Brave Rossies fall to terrific Tribesmen





Eirgrid Connacht U-20 Football Championship Semi-Final

Galway 0-17

Roscommon 1-7


The records will show that Galway advanced as expected to the Eirgrid Connacht U-20 final against Mayo but behind the headlines is a story of a huge Roscommon effort and at no stage did Padraig Joyce’s men look like they would have the easy passage that most pundits were expecting.

  Roscommon can point to at least two missed clear goal chances and a penalty in the 61st minute which was kicked over for a point by Brian Derwin. It has to be said that while Galway were the better side and played some great football at times, they were given the fright of their lives by a very gritty and determined Roscommon outfit.

  On a balmy evening in perfect conditions Shane Curran’s men could not be faulted for effort as they flooded the half-back line and attempted to deny a very highly-rated Galway outfit space to play and they succeeded in that for the most part in the early stages.

  Slick movement and superb attacking play saw Rory Cunningham, Darragh Silke (free) and Padraig Costello put the visitors into the lead by the 8th minute. But Roscommon had edged into a surprise lead by the 13th minute. First, goalkeeper Aaron Brady stroked over a ’45 in the 11th minute and two minutes later Gerry Galvin’s shot looked an easy save for Galway goalkeeper Oran Burke but the Corofin man let the ball slip through his hands and Roscommon were ahead.

  But it was Galway who responded with some quality scores after the goal. Matthew Tierney (a long-range free), Liam Boyle and Ross Mahon clipped over points from play to re-establish Galway’s superiority. Paul Carey (free) and a super Ronan Dowd point added to Roscommon’s score but Galway always looked dangerous going forward and Roscommon’s inability to win their own kick-outs was proving costly for them. At half-time Galway led by 0-11 to 1-3.

  In the third quarter Roscommon dug in and they denied Galway any space to play at all. There were only three points in the third quarter with Roscommon scoring two from James Fitzpatrick and a Ronan Dowd free. But the effort that the Roscommon players were putting in was beginning to take its toll and Galway eased home to victory after that.

  Outstanding attackers Rory Cunningham and Matthew Tierney could always engineer a score and they were able to point from distance to the home side at arm’s length. Roscommon were awarded a penalty as the clock slipped into injury-time but Brian Derwin’s shot flew over the crossbar and any chance Roscommon had was gone.

  So an expected win for Galway but Roscommon have gone out with their heads held high after a huge effort. Aaron Brady, Niall Higgins, Dylan Sumner and Ronan Dowd were all excellent on the night for a highly motivated Roscommon side. But football class told in the end and heart and determination was just not good enough.

Galway: Oran Burke; Ross Mahon (0-1), Sean Mulkerrin, Eoghan McFadden; Liam Boyle (0-1), Ciaran Potter, Jack Kirrane; Matthias Barrett, Michael Collins; Matthew Tierney (0-3, 2 frees), Gavin Burke, Ben O’Connell; Darragh Silke (0-3, frees), Padraig Costello (0-2, 1 free), Rory Cunningham (0-4). Subs: Liam Costello (0-2) for Collins (26), Jack Glynn for Kirrane (45), Jason Reilly for Mulkerrin (b/c 47), Eoin Mannion (0-1) for Costello (50), Conor Newell for O’Connell (53), Jason Reilly for Burke (58).

Roscommon: Aaron Brady (0-1 ’45), Robbie Dolan; Michael Conboy, Niall Higgins, Gerry Galvin (1-0); Dylan Sumner, Padraig Halpin; Daire Keenan, Ronan Dowd (0-3, frees), Jonathan Hester; James Fitzpatrick (0-1), Paul Carey (0-1 free), Dylan Ruane, Ciaran Lawless for Keenan (h/t), Sean Hanly for Killoran (34), Tim Lambe for Conroy (36), Brian Derwin (0-1, pen) for Fitzpatrick (44), Cian Corcoran for Sumner (51), Thomas O’Rourke for Ruane (56).

Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)

Féile weekend: What the GAA is all about!





There has been plenty of negativity around the GAA this summer with endless newspaper articles and social media arguments on all manner of topics including possible rule changes, the Dublin senior football team’s funding, the Leinster Championship, issues with various venues and so on. Last weekend, however, the GAA was showcased in its purest form as clubs throughout the county welcomed visitors from near and far for Féile.

  The standout performance from a Roscommon point of view came from the Roscommon Gaels’ U-14 girls footballers, who shared the Division Eight spoils with Ballinascreen of Derry, following a titanic tussle which finished 2-6 to 1-9 after extra-time in Bekan last Sunday. In the spirit of Féile, the silverware will remain in Roscommon Gaels’ hands for the next six months before making its way to Co. Derry.

  The town team had lost to Oran in their opening game before going on to beat St. Ailbhe’s, Knockninny Gaels and St. Croan’s before beating Shamrocks of Waterford in the semi-final last Sunday.

  St. Brigid’s’ girls also tasted success last weekend when they won the Division Four Shield Final against Ballinasloe in Bekan.

  Meanwhile, it was a case of so close, yet so far for the Kilmore-Shannon Gaels-St. Ronan’s boys who were beaten by a point in the Division Seven Cup final by Drumahowan of Monaghan.

  There were, of course, plenty of other impressive performances from teams across the county. Honourable mentions must go to St. Ciaran’s who reached a Division Eight Shield final; St. Dominic’s who lost out to St. Joseph’s Doora-Barefield from Clare in their Division Three Shield final, Michael Glavey’s who lost out to Blessington in Division Six, and Clann na nGael’s U-14 girls’ team who were beaten by Antrim side Gort Na Mona in the Division Five Cup final.

Seamus Duke on sport - July 5th




The Hyde misses out on another big game


And so Dr. Hyde Park misses out on another big game: The Roscommon town stadium was the obvious venue for the Galway v Mayo All-Ireland round four qualifier this weekend. But while the people who operate the levers of power in the association can come up with all sorts of reasons why it was not chosen (as they have done) the bottom line is that if the GAA at national level really wanted that game to go ahead in Hyde Park then that’s where it would have been played.

  Roscommon GAA is being treated poorly here again by the powers that be. Last year the County Board signed a deal with the Connacht Council when the Connacht Final was fixed for Hyde Park that a programme of refurbishment work would be carried out at the venue before any more Connacht finals could be held there but sadly to date none of those works have been completed. 

  The reasons why this work has not been done are explained in a press release which was released by Roscommon GAA this week and that’s fine and we have to accept the reasons outlined. But the fact remains that the GAA have a stick to beat Roscommon County Board with whenever it suits them and they have taken it out of the drawer on this occasion.

  I have no skin in this game. Personally I couldn’t care less where Galway play Mayo but there are shops, restaurants, pubs, hotels and B&Bs in Roscommon town that could badly do with a boost who will be missing out.

  I wrote in this column a month ago that 2020 is coming around very quickly and if Roscommon are to play Mayo or Galway, those games are ‘home’ fixtures for Roscommon. If that draw happens then this situation is likely to happen again. The works as agreed will simply have to be carried out in Dr. Hyde Park or this situation will rear its head again and again.

  The mad thing about the whole fixtures situation is that if Cavan were to beat Tyrone this weekend the Roscommon v Cavan game, which would potentially draw a crowd even bigger than the Galway v Mayo game, will definitely be held in Dr. Hyde Park! Try to explain that to anyone who is not involved!

  I would also dispute the fact that an attendance in excess of 18,000 (the capacity of Hyde Park) will be in attendance at the Galway v Mayo game. Will the Mayo fans from Ballina, Belmullet and the west of that county take on the trip to Limerick on Saturday night when the match is on TV? I very much doubt it.

  In the meantime, it is the businesses and the economy of Roscommon town area that will suffer while there are 15-18,000 people from Galway and Mayo being dragged down the country to Limerick for a game that should be going on here in Roscommon. I know that County Board officials work hard and are volunteers and are doing their best. They don’t want this hassle I’m sure. If the required works are done in the Hyde this will not come up again and I’m sure that’s what everyone wants.

Lahinch set to host Irish Open

This weekend Lahinch stages the Irish Open and if the wind blows it’s a really tough course. I have only played it once but have been there a number of times, most notably when Roscommon’s Ken Kearney was narrowly beaten in the South of Ireland final by Graeme McDowell.

  I am expecting that Shane Lowry will do well again this year. He is a superb player on links courses and it’s ten years since his sensational win in Baltray as an amateur which launched his career. Tommy Fleetwood and Louis Osthuizen must be also in the frame. It will be a chance to showcase one of our most beautiful courses to the world. I hope they get the weather.

Not enough critical analysis of racing?

Last Saturday we saw the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby take place at The Curragh. Aidan O’Brien had five horses in the race but the one that won the huge prize was the outsider of the lot. This happened before in the Epsom Derby a few years ago as well.

  Now I am not suggesting for one minute that there is anything untoward going on but something that strikes me about the TV coverage of racing is that there is never any critical analysis of the action at any stage at all. Jockeys are never questioned about how they might have ridden a horse or there is never any questioning as to why a heavily fancied horse trails in behind the rest.

  I totally understand you are dealing with animals and the science is very inexact, but on the racing media everything is always ‘fantastic’ and ‘brilliant’ and is ’such a great win’ no matter what horse wins or what his price is. The people I am thinking about are the poor punters who haven’t a clue what they are doing and splashing out their hard-earned money on horses, who clearly haven’t got a chance of winning the race. I know that this is the way that the ‘game’ (as they call it) has been for decades but it remains the only sport where critical analysis is totally absent from media coverage.

  The previous evening in the Pretty Polly Stakes, TV pundit Brian Gleeson told us that there had been a bet of €50,000 on a horse called Pink Dogwood. Once again the outsider in the race romped home with the favourite trailing well behind. I just find it strange that there is no discussion about those situations at all. Maybe I’m being naïve.


Championship Watch


All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers (Round 4) on Saturday

Mayo v Galway in Limerick at 7 pm

This is the seventh year in a row that these sides have met in the championship. Galway have won the last three meetings. The result of this game may well depend on how Galway have recovered from their Connacht final defeat. They were simply woeful in the second half of that match against Roscommon and any repeat of that form will see them heavily beaten here. Mayo are chugging along again but are beginning to run out of road and they are starting to pick up injuries that they can ill afford. They might have one more kick in them to win this narrowly but if Galway can discover their best form they can edge it. Mayo might just be good enough.

Prediction: Mayo

Meath v Clare on Sunday in Portlaoise at 2 pm

Meath will be reeling after their capitulation against Dublin. Clare will be very dangerous if limited opponents who will travel with optimism. If Meath can recover from the Dublin debacle they have the players to win but it might be a lot closer than people think.

Prediction: Meath

All-Ireland SHC Preliminary Quarter-Finals on Sunday

Laois v Dublin in Portlaoise at 4.15 pm

The Dubs should be hot favourites but they would do well to pay attention to a Laois team that put up huge scores in their Joe McDonagh Cup campaign.

Prediction: Dublin

Westmeath v Cork in Mullingar at 3 pm

Prediction: Cork


Young Rossie hurlers rise to the challenge!




Celtic Challenge (U-17) Hurling Final

Roscommon 1-14

Limerick Sarsfields 2-9


A brilliantly converted penalty in the final minute of normal time from Adam Donnelly ensured that Roscommon’s U-17s won their section of the Celtic Challenge when they pipped Sarsfields of Limerick last Saturday evening at O’Connor Park in Tullamore in what was a thrilling game. The win is a huge boost for the game in the county at underage level.

  It was well-contested all through and it was the Limerick side who struck for the first goal of the game in the 12th minute from Mark Mullally and when Kieran Storin’s free went to the Roscommon net, the Shannonsiders led by 2-4 to 0-8 at half-time. But Adam Donnelly and Trevor Fallon’s frees meant Roscommon stayed in touch and with Sean Trundle excellent at midfield and Michael Dillon, Daire Finneran and Ruari Fallon outstanding in defence, Roscommon were always within striking distance.

  Roscommon played very well in the third quarter and forged ahead but the Limerick lads edged back into a narrow lead towards the end of the game and led by a point. But Donnelly’s last-gasp penalty and a long-rage free from Trevor Fallon gave Michael Fallon’s side a great win and the title.

Roscommon: M Corcoran; M Dillon, D Gacquin, E Glannon; D Finneran, R Fallon, N Coyle; S Trundle (0-1) L Egan; T Fallon (0-5), M Purcell, M Lohan (0-1); M Brennan, A Donnelly (1-6), E Kiernan (0-1). Subs: K kelly for Kiernan, D O’Sullivan for Glennon, D O’Brien for O’Sullivan.

Limerick: D O’Hagan; R Kelly, Z Ryan, E Flahive; S O’Mahony, K Sweeney, D Lyons (0-1); S Murphy, J Kiely; E O’Connell, K Storin (1-5), C Lyons: E Keyes A O’Donovan (0-2), M Mullally (1-0). Subs: S O’Connor for Mulally, S Hartnett for Lyons.



Roscommon SHC hostilities resume!



Honours even!

Athleague 1-15

Pádraig Pearses 3-9

The champions have opened defence of their title with a draw in a well-contested match. Leon Fehily was the Pearses goalscorer in the opening half, but the accuracy of Robbie Fallon and Ben McGahon kept Athleague in touch and at half-time the home side led 0-8 to 1-4.

  Fehily and Oisin Kelly added goals in the third quarter for Pearses that put them in a good position but Cormac Kelly’s goal for Athleague was crucial and in the end a draw was a fair result.

Scorers: Athleague: R Fallon (0-6), C Kelly (1-2), B McGahon (0-4), G Fallon, D Flaherty and T Connaughton  (0-1) each.


Tremane off the mark

Tremane 2-15  

St. Dominic’s 1-12

Tremane made a good start to their campaign with a six-point win. David Mullen’s goal just after half-time was key and despite a well-taken Micheal Byrne goal, Tremane struck again through Sean Mahony to keep the Knockcroghery men at arm’s length.

Scorers: Tremane: M Kellehan (0-8), D Mullen (1-2), S Mahony (1-0), P Kellehan, N Keenan, J Brennan, C O’Brien and Joe Brennan (0-1) each. St. Dominic’s: MJ Egan (0-5), M Byrne (1-2), T Doyle (0-2), A O’Riordan, N Connaughton and S McCormack (0-1) each.


‘Roads coast home

Four Roads 2-19  

Roscommon Gaels 1-6

Four Roads coasted to victory although Roscommon Gaels gave it everything. The town team had an early goal through Dean Conlon but Niall Hynes rifled home two goals for the Tisrara men and they were pulling away by half-time leading 2-11 to 1-2.

Scorers: Four Roads: C Dolan (0-8), N Hynes (2-1), C Mulry (0-3), C Coyle (0-2), S Curley (0-2), M Kelly, D Butler and S Clogher (0-1) each. Ros Gaels: P Lennon (0-5), D Conlon (1-0), D Mulry (0-1).

Who will join the Rossies in Group 2?



Ahead of this weekend’s final round of qualifiers, Seamus Duke took a closer look at the two games involving Roscommon’s potential Super 8s opponents…


Cavan v Tyrone on Saturday in Clones at 5 pm


Why it matters: The winners of this match will be travelling to Dr. Hyde Park to play Roscommon the following weekend in Round One of the Super 8s.

The form: After receiving a lesson from Donegal, Tyrone has reverted to the more cautious style which got them to the All-Ireland final last year. They have breezed through to this stage and were especially impressive against Kildare last Saturday. Colm Kavanagh is their anchor player, and with Cathal McShane improving with every game at full-forward, Mickey Harte’s men look a formidable outfit. Add in Peter Harte, Darren McCurry and Mattie Donnelly in attack it’s a potent mix. The controversial Tiernan McCann will be back this weekend after his two-match ban and he adds some sparkle.

  Cavan have had a great year under Mickey Graham and there was no shame in losing out to Donegal in the Ulster final. Although they were well-beaten they managed to score 2-16 which is a creditable total. Gearoid McKiernan is the heartbeat of the team with Dara McVeety, Killian Clarke, and Martin Reilly adding experience and class.

Prospects: In the modern era Tyrone hold the whip hand against Cavan and it was certainly the draw the Breffni men didn’t want. Mickey Graham has been a breath of fresh air this year for Cavan and their huge following will be hoping against hope that they can score a rare win against Mickey Harte’s side. But we are in the big time now and Tyrone are on a roll. I will be very surprised if the Red Hand don’t win with at least five or six points to spare.

Prediction: Tyrone


Cork v Laois on Saturday at Semple Stadium at 5 pm


Why it matters: The winners of this match will be at home to Roscommon in the third series of games in the Super 8s on the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The form: Both sides will come into this match in a positive frame of mind. Cork were more than competitive against Kerry in the Munster final and if they had taken all the goal chances they created then Laois would have different opponents on Saturday. As it was they came out of that decider in the knowledge that they can compete at the top level despite their disastrous league campaign. They look very competitive around the middle where Killian O’Hanlon, Ian Maguire and the very impressive Ruari Deane gave Kerry plenty to think about. Brian Hurley and Paul Kerrigan supply the experience up front. However, further back they look vulnerable.

  That could be good news for a Laois side who are motoring along nicely under Kerryman John Sugrue. The Kingston brothers, Paul and Donie, along with Evan O’Carroll are top class forwards. John O’Loughlin and Kieran Lillis are a very competent midfield pairing.

Prospects: Laois will be the underdogs going into this game and after being promoted in the league and having reached this stage of the championship they are in bonus territory and that will suit them. They can go out and play with the freedom of little or no expectation.  

  While Cork were good against Kerry they have recent memories of a terrible league campaign earlier in the year when they couldn’t survive in Division Two. This could well be the most open game of the weekend and a very high-scoring affair as both sides have sharp attacking players. I have a slight fancy for Cork.

Prediction: Cork


Handball: Tully’s doubles win



Fiona Tully teamed up with Galway’s Ciana Ni Curraoin to win the US Open Ladies Doubles title at the famous Los Cabolleros complex in Santa Barbara recently.

  The Connacht pair overcame Cork’s Catriona Casey and America’s Tracy Davis 13-21, 21-17, 11-10 in a classic battle.

  Casey had showed her class in the first game before Tully and Ni Curraoin struck back in a second game which saw all four players displaying touches of real class.

  With a tie-breaker to 11 anything can happen and so it proved as the Connacht pairing edged it 11-10 to take the title in sensational style.

  Fiona also reached the semi-finals of the singles event but was comprehensively beaten by doubles teammate Ciana Ni Curraoin, who was then beaten by Catriona Casey in the final.


Rossies win thriller in Carrick!





Eirgrid Connacht U-20 Championship Quarter-Final

Roscommon 3-17

Leitrim 4-13

(After extra-time)



A goal and two points in the first period of extra-time were the key scores as Roscommon pipped Leitrim by a single point after a nail-biting roller coaster of a match played a Páirc Sean Mac Diarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon on Wednesday night.

  Points from Paul Carey and Dylan Ruane and a well-taken goal from Roscommon CBS star James Fitzpatrick were crucial as Shane Curran’s men qualified to meet Galway in the Connacht semi-final next Wednesday in Kiltoom. In the nature of this great game Leitrim came back again towards the end of extra-time but they just came up short and a free from Mark Diffley deep into injury-time from 55 yards went wide and that was the end of a brave home challenge.

  In the first half both sides looked shaky in defence but dangerous going forward. After Daire Keenan scored an early Roscommon point Leitrim struck for two goals in three minutes. In the 9th minute Mark Diffley blasted home after a great run form Jack Gilheaney and three minutes later Diffley converted a penalty after Jordan Reynolds was fouled by Robbie Dolan.

  Roscommon recovered with points from Paul Carey, Dylan Ruane and a Ronan Dowd free, and in the 16th minute the Rossies were ahead  when Ronan Dowd took advantage of a poor kick-out to solo through the centre and score a fine goal. But it was Leitrim who regained the initiative almost immediately and livewire corner-forward Jordan Reynolds poked home expertly in the 25th minute following good work from Tom Prior.

  Ronan Dowd pointed from play in the 26th minute but it was Leitrim that finished the half the better team and Ciaran Cullen scored two great points from play and Mark Diffley pointed a free to leave the score Leitrim 3-4 Roscommon 1-5 at half-time.

  The second half was a thrilling and incident-filled affair. Roscommon were much better on the re-start and scored four points in a row from Paul Carey and Ronan Dowd (frees) and two fine points from Daire Keenan. But just when Roscommon thought they were back in business Leitrim struck for another great goal and this time it was sub Oisin Bohan who was on target and when James Glancy added a point, Leitrim were six points ahead by the 42nd minute.

  But Roscommon rallied once again. Mark Diffley pointed two minutes later and then Paul Carey scored a great Roscommon goal in the 47th minute. But it looked like the home side would prevail after sub Bohan scored another point in the 56th minute, but three frees from Ronan Dowd and a last-gasp effort from Paul Carey (which was disputed by the Leitrim defenders) ensured that the sides finished  level: Roscommon 2-14 Roscommon 4-8.

  In extra-time Roscommon were just a little bit sharper but will concede that they were lucky to survive on the night.


Roscommon: Rob Kearney; Enda Killoran, Evan Flynn, Robbie Dolan; Michael Conroy, Niall Higgins, Gerry Galvin; Patrick Fannon, Padraig Halpin; Daire Keenan (0-3), Ronan Dowd (1-7, 4 frees), Thomas O’Rourke; Brian Derwin (0-1), Paul Carey (1-4, 2 frees), Dylan Ruane (0-2). Subs: Sean Hanly for Conroy (b/c 25), James Fitzpatrick (1-0) for Derwin (h/t), Jonathan Hester for O’Rourke (h/t), Cian Corcoran for Fannon (47), Ciaran Lawless for Keenan (50),  Aaron Brady for Kearney (e/t), Jack Keane (for sending off), Andrew Lyons for Carey (68), Brian Derwin for Ruane (71), Ryan Donoghue for Killoran (78).

Leitrim: Sean Reynolds; Fintan Earley, Liam Rowley, Sean Chandler; Sean Harkin, Conor O’Dwyer, Riordan O’Rourke; Aaron Hoare, Jack Gilheaney (0-3); Ciaran Cullen (0-2), Mark Diffley (2-4, pen, 3 frees), Paul Keaney, Jordan Reynolds (1-1), Tom Prior, James Clancy (0-1). Subs: Oisin Bohan (1-1) for O’Rourke (b/c 15), Diarmuid Kellegher for Reynolds (52), Evan Harkin for Tom Prior (61), Mark Keegan for Keaney (68), Dylan Maguire for Clancy (71)

Referee: Paul Lydon (Mayo)



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