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Clann favourites to land league title

 

 

 

 

 

Seamus Carty Auctioneers AFL Division One (O’Rourke Cup) Final

St. Faithleach’s v Clann na nGael in Ballyleague on Sunday at 2.30 pm

 

 

Having been so impressive earlier in the season the bottom has fallen out of St. Faithleach’s’ year following their relegation to the Intermediate Football Championship and the injuries to Brian and Ciaráin Murtagh in recent months.

  They have a chance to rescue their season when they have a home game in this league final against Clann na nGael on Sunday. Without the two older Murtagh brothers it will be a tall order and a lot of their chances will rest on the broad shoulders of Diarmuid Murtagh. Faithleach’s will have to step, however, if they want to win this prestigious title.

  By contrast, it looked like Clann’s season was in shreds after they were hammered by Boyle in the championship during the summer. But since then they have gone on to beat the eventual champions Pearses in the championship, survived a relegation battle without much fuss, and they actually beat the new county champions in the semi-final last weekend.

  Ciaran Lennon and Donie Shine are their scorers-in-chief and if they can come to Ballyleague with a full side it could be another disappointing day for the Faithleach’s men.

Prediction: Clann na nGael

 

Breaking Ball - Short Passes

 

 

 

Tulsk face Leitrim champions

New Roscommon intermediate champions Tulsk will face the Leitrim kingpins Leitrim Gaels in the Connacht Intermediate Championship Quarter-Final on Saturday in Hyde Park at 2 pm.

  It has been three weeks since Leitrim Gaels won their county title, which will have given them plenty of time to prepare. But if the celebrations have not gone on too long, Tulsk should be well able to advance to the next round. Prediction: Tulsk

Manning Cup defeat

 

Offaly defeated Roscommon’s U-16 footballers by 3-8 to 2-10 in the first round of the Fr. Manning Cup at Doon last weekend.

  Roscommon played well in the opening half and they led 2-9 to 1-3 at the break. But Offaly’s improvement in the second half coincided with a collapse in Roscommon’s challenge and the young Rossies only scored one second-half point.

  Roscommon scorers: J Shine (2-0), E Colleran (0-4), D Gately (0-2), I Harney (0-2), E Ward (0-1), D Kenny (0-1).

McDermott’s Cork title

 

Former Roscommon Gaels midfielder James McDermott played at midfield as Nemo Rangers defeated Duhallow to win the Cork County SFC on Sunday last. The 31-year-old doctor moved to Cork last year and transferred to Nemo earlier this term having played for over 14 years for the Roscommon town team. He also played for Roscommon in 2016.

Dom’s win Tansey Cup

 

St. Dominic’s ended their year with some silverware when overcame neighbours St. Brigid’s on a scoreline of 0-7 to 0-4 in what was a low-key Division Three final played in Knockcroghery.

  Conor Fallon was the difference between the teams and in such a low-scoring encounter a return of 0-5, 0-3 from play was impressive.

  Indeed, St. Dominic’s didn’t score after the 45th minute but had done enough to see the game out, with two late frees for Brigid’s not enough to lift them into a position to challenge.

Strokestown claim U-16 title

 

Strokestown edged a gallant Éire Óg-Michael Glavey’s 1-13 to 2-5 in last Monday’s Cora Systems U-16 Division Two final.

 Strokestown were the sharper up front in the opening half and with Shane McGinley (0-10) in deadly accurate form from play and frees, ‘The Town’ led by 0-8 to 1-1 at the break with Darragh Flynn getting the goal for the amalgamation.

  When Conor Dolan raising a green flag for the winners in the third quarter it was game over, but in fairness to Éire Óg/Michael Glavey’s, they stuck to their task and scored a fine goal through Jack Sullivan.

Camogie coaching and course

 

Roscommon Camogie are pleased to announce, in conjunction with Connacht Camogie, a club school link programme for 2019/2020.  

  Under this programme each club was asked to identify a school in which eight weeks coaching would be provided to the school by a coach from the respective club. The four successful schools were Tarmon NS, Ballintubber NS, Knockcroghery NS and Scoil na Angeal Naofa, Boyle. The programme has commenced in Tarmon NS and Ballintubber NS recently.

  Meanwhile, a foundation course will be held on Saturday, November 23rd at 9.30 am in Oran GAA Club. The cost of the course is €20 per person, which must be paid in advance. Please contact your club’s camogie secretary for more details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An unfamiliar ending to club championships

 

The Tweet from the Oran GAA account said it all last Saturday as the Mulryan Intermediate Football Championship Replay ended in deadlock after extra-time at Dr. Hyde Park…

  It read: ‘Intermediate Final Replay Full Time Oran 0-14 Tulsk 0-14. Now we will have a penalty shoot out to decide – sweet Jesus’.

  Cue minor bedlam on Twitter as Gaelic football fans from near and far sought a live feed of this historic moment in Roscommon football.

  There was immense excitement and just as much confusion as those following on Twitter struggled to keep track of the updates.

  Tulsk eventually won 4-2 and congratulations to them, but you’d need a heart of stone not to commiserate with a plucky Oran side who defied most, if not all, pre-final predictions to put Gerry Lohan’s men to the pin of their collective collars over two energy-sapping games of football.

  With the dust now settled and the Jimmy Murray Cup ensconced up the N5 for winter, it would seem the prevailing opinion is that a penalty shootout is no way to decide a championship in Gaelic football. And while I agree there is something very unsettling in seeing a crucial football match decided as if it was a mere Champions League Final, I can understand the difficulty County Boards find themselves in when it comes to fulfilling club fixtures.

  As the Connacht Quarter-Final is down for decision this coming weekend, there was little or no time to go again. With player welfare in mind, a second replay on Bank Holiday Monday was probably too much, while any game later in the week would have put the Roscommon champions at a distinct disadvantage against Leitrim Gaels.

  Playing Devil’s Advocate from a purely technical point of view, penalties are part and parcel of Gaelic football, so in fact it’s not that outlandish to consider them as a means of breaking a deadlock.

  Also, having taken a number of them myself, albeit to varying degrees of success, I certainly wouldn’t subscribe to the view that they are merely ‘a lottery’. The odds are still stacked in favour of the taker provided he/she is of decent technique and can stay relatively calm. And, of course, big matches have been decided by a placed ball before.

  All of that being said, if last Saturday proved anything it’s that the GAA calendar needs a proper roadmap, preferably one that gives right of way to the local parishes that make our national game what it is. 

 

Play it again!

 

 

 

 

O’Rourke strikes late to save Tulsk

  

Incredibly, for the third time in four years a decider involving Oran ended all square and this match was no less enthralling than the previous two. In fact, it was probably even more dramatic and for the neutral it was a tremendous contest played in perfect weather conditions.

  When the hugely talented Darragh Walsh kicked a spectacular 35-metre point for Oran in the fifth minute of injury-time to put his side ahead, it looked like Oran’s wait for a first title since 1997 had come to an end.

  However, there was still time for Tulsk to go downfield where Thomas O’Rourke pointed a free to ensure they’d have to do it all again this Saturday.

  There is no doubt that Tulsk will be the happier side. In fact, they probably got out of jail as Oran played most of the football but the maroon and whites hung on and got a share of the spoils.

  When lion-hearted Mike Dwyer kicked an inspirational point for Oran in the 38th minute Billy Donnellan’s men led the pre-match favourites by ten points, and were full value for that lead as well. Some of the football they had played in that opening 40 minutes was scintillating. But injuries, and an improvement in Tulsk’s play saw Oran wilt, and the momentum swung towards Gerry Lohan’s side as the second half went on.

  With a number of Oran players injured or doubtful, Tulsk took to the field as the hot favourites to break their championship duck. But despite starting with three 18-year-olds and three 19-year-olds, Oran ripped into Tulsk from the opening minutes and played some of the finest attacking football that this writer has seen in many years on the Roscommon club scene.

  With James Regan, Mike Dwyer, Gearoid Keenan (and after him Thomas Fetherston) lording the midfield exchanges, there was plenty of possession for Oran’s quicksilver young forwards and they lapped it up showing for the ball brilliantly, and repeatedly beating their markers to claim superb accurate passes that were being put in front of them.

  Tulsk were stunned as this talented Oran side ran rings around them defensively, and not surprisingly the scores began to pile up. By the 23rd minute it was 2-5 to 0-1. Ciaran Lawless, Charlie Carthy, Darragh Walsh and James Fitzpatrick had the run of Hyde Park and it was fantastic to watch.

  The goals arrived within sixty seconds of each other. In the fifth minute Ciaran Lawless blasted home after a brilliant run from Darragh Walsh and a minute later Charlie Carthy looked to have lost possession but steadied himself before putting the ball in the top corner for another spectacular score.

  Tulsk were like a swimmer struggling with the current and gasping for air as the fleet-footed Oran youngsters played ducks and drakes with them. And while Tulsk gave themselves a glimmer of hope with three points from Robbie Kelly and two from Thomas O’Rourke (1 free) in the last five minutes of the first half, there was still eight points between them: Oran 2-6 Tulsk 0-4.

  When Oran came out and kicked the opening two scores of the second half from Ciaran Casey and Mike Dwyer, it looked like curtains for Tulsk. But they made several switches and eventually they began to get some traction. Indeed some of the Tulsk subs made a huge contribution to their revival.

  The comeback started in the 40th minute when Padraig Scott’s delivery was fisted to the Oran net by Daniel Connolly and points from Callum Fahey and David Coyne reduced the gap to five by the 46th minute.

  James Fitzpatrick lifted the siege with a wonderful point for Oran in the 51st minute and with less than ten minutes to play there was still a gap of six. But the Rockfield men were tiring now. They had lost Gearoid Keenan early on to injury and his replacement Thomas Fetherston (who had played brilliantly), was also struggling. The supply lines into that lethal attack were drying up.

  Tulsk kept coming. Thomas O’Rourke converted two frees, and in the 56th minute Tadgh O’Rourke burst through and flashed the ball over from close range to reduce the gap to three.

  And just when it looked like Oran would hang on, a late desperate Tulsk attack involving Tadgh O’Rourke and Daniel Connolly saw Callum Fahey finish high into the Oran net from close range.

  The drama wasn’t over yet however as  young Darragh Walsh swung over a spectacular point in the fifth minute of injury-time to put Oran in front once more. Tulsk had just about enough time for one final attack and when they were awarded a free 30 metres out Thomas O’Rourke pointed to send it to a replay. A great score under pressure.

  For a Tulsk side that was in terrible trouble for 40 minutes, Ryan Galvin was outstanding, David Coyne put in a huge shift at midfield while Thomas O’Rourke and subs Daniel Connolly and Callum Fahey were also excellent.

  Oran were best served by veteran Mike Dwyer who was outstanding all through, goalkeeper Mikey Monaghan, Kieran Whyte, Thomas Fetherston, Darragh Walsh, Ciaran Lawless and Charlie Carthy were also superb.

  Have Oran missed the boat and can Tulsk ever play as poorly again? Some of those questions that will be answered in the replay. One thing is for certain: no one will be writing off Oran. It’s all to play for.

Tulsk: Regan Fahey; Niall McNamara, Darragh O’Rourke, Stephen Lennon; Evan Flynn, Gerry Galvin, Ryan Galvin; Tadgh O’Rourke (0-1), David Coyne (0-1); Robbie Kelly (0-1), Thomas O’Rourke (0-5, 4 frees), Cathal O’Rourke; Jack Conlon, Padraig Scott (0-1), Timmy Fitzmaurice. Subs: Fergal Moylan for D O’Rourke (b/c 16), Daniel Connolly (1-0) for Fitzmaurice (35), Callum Fahey (1-1) for Conlon (41), David Carlton for Scott (49), Liam Cribbin for Kelly (53), Dara Jones for Coyne (60).

Oran: Mikey Monaghan; John Martin, Colin Walsh, Kevin Concannon; Eoghan Grady, Mike Dwyer (0-1), Kieran Whyte; James Regan, Gearoid Keenan; Ciaran Casey (0-1), Ciaran Lawless (1-1), Ray Farrell; James Fitzpatrick (0-2), Darragh Walsh (0-3, 2 frees), Charlie Carthy (1-2). Subs: Thomas Fetherston for Keenan (11), Jack Earley for Farrell (30 +2), Paul Kenny for Casey (45), Shane Casey for Grady and Eamon Kenny for Fetherston (59).

Referee: Kevin Naughton

 

Brilliant Ballinameen storm to junior title!

 

 

 

 

King and Moffatt Junior ‘A’ Football Championship Final

 

Balliinameen 2-11

 

St. Brigid’s 0-11

 

Playing some wonderful football, Ballinameen came to Dr. Hyde Park last Sunday and swept to the 2019 junior title in superb style. Charlie Ward’s team were in command from the opening exchanges and they withstood a late mini-rally from Brigid’s to land a title that they last won in 2010.

  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Ballinameen captain Peter Keane lifted the cup after he had struggled with illness earlier in the year and even the most ardent Brigid’s supporter would wish him the very best of luck as he continues his recovery. The manner of this victory will surely be a big help!

  On a perfect day for football, Brigid’s came into the game as the favourites having impressed during the campaign, but inspired by Dessie Carlos, it was Ballinameen who grew into the game much better as it progressed. Goals either side of half-time saw them pull away from the Kiltoom men.

  Indeed apart from Carlos, inspirational captain Peter Keane played a major part as did midfielder Eoghan Keaveney, and corner forward Liam Kelly who scored both goals. When the Ballinameen celebrations turn to reflections on a great day for their club they will also be thankful to former Roscommon player and goalkeeper Gary Hanly who made at least three outstanding saves and was an inspirational presence in the Ballinemeen defence throughout.

  The first quarter was evenly contested, and by the 17th minute it was 0-3 apiece, Carlos scoring two frees for Ballinameen added to a fine effort from Peter Flanagan. Brigid’s had points from Kealan Byrne, Ciaran O’Reilly and John Cunningham (a free).

  In the 17th minute Hanly made the first of his spectacular saves when he palmed away a piledriver from Conor Quinn, and although Byrne was on target with another point to put Brigid’s into the lead in the 20th minute, Ballinameen struck for their first goal two minutes later. Finbar McDermot made a searing run through the centre and while his shot for goal was brilliantly saved by Cormac Sheehy, Liam Kelly was following up to net the rebound.

  Ballinameen tails were up now, and Carlos and Eoghan Keaveney added to their total with superb points from play. In the 29th minute Brigid’s midfielder Billy McDonnell was the latest to have a go at beating Gary Hanley but once again he was equal to the shot, and when Keaveney grabbed another fine point in injury-time, Ballinameen led by five. A late pointed free from distance from Brigid’s’ best player Jack McDonnell, saw the teams go in at half-time with the score at Ballinameen 1-6 St. Brigid’s 0-5.

  Ballinemeen began the new half where they left off, and their second goal arrived in the 34th minute. Liam Kelly won possession and he seemed to have lost his footing but recovered to blast to the net. When James Tansey and Dessie Carlos followed up with points from play by the 38th minute Ballinameen were nine points ahead with 38 minutes gone.

  Jack McDonnell pointed for struggling Brigid’s in the 40th minute before Hanly was called upon once again to save from Kealan Byrne. McDonnell once again pointed for Brigid’s but two further points from Man of the Match Carlos (frees) saw the nine-point margin restored by the 48th minute.

  In the final fourteen minutes of playing time Brigid’s outscored Ballinameen by 0-4 to 0-1 but the mountain had already been climbed and Ballinameen had the title in the bag.

  The final whistle brought scenes of wild celebration as the people of the Ballinameen area raced onto the field to celebrate their heroes. Charlie Ward, who has been involved in Roscommon GAA for decades, smiled broadly as he accepted the congratulations of the red and white clad supporters. He has done a superb job along with his management team.

  But the real heart-warming story of the day was the sight of Peter Keane lifting the cup. The man who had an almighty heath scare earlier in the year was back where he wanted to be.

  For Brigid’s it was just not to be on the day. They have a fine young team and they will surely be back again. Cormac Sheehy, Niall Grehan, Jack McDonnell, Kealan Byrne and sub Eamon Flanagan were prominent but they just had no answer to a super Ballinameen outfit on the day.

 

 

Kilbride face daunting task this Sunday

 

 

 

 

Connacht LGFA Club Championship Senior Final

Kilbride v Kilkerrin-Clonberne on Sunday in Enfield at 2 pm

 

Roscommon champions Kilbride face a daunting task on Sunday when they take on the Galway champions Kilkerrin/Clonberne in this year’s Connacht final. Kilbride will be wanting to banish memories of the last time the sides met in last year’s championship when the Galway girls were the easy winners.

  Kilkerrin-Clonberne already defeated Mayo side Carnacon in the semi-final two weeks ago, winning by 4-9 to 2-4 and are a very accomplished side. Nicola and Louise Ward are club and county players of distinction and when you add in Olivia Divilly, Lynsey Noone and Siobhan Fahy, it is a star-studded line-up that will be very hard to defeat.

  Kilbride are now a very experienced side and they will be underdogs on Sunday, which will suit them fine. Tara Taylor, Rochelle Mullaney, Fiona Tully, Siobhan Tully, Alice Kelly and Sinead Clabby are vastly experienced and the prolific young star Aisling Hanly has added a further sharpness to their attack.

  However, the cold reality is that this Kilkerrin-Clonberne team will be eyeing up an All-Ireland senior title this year and that’s the level we are talking about this Sunday. Hopefully the gap between the teams will not be as wide as it was last year but anything other than a comfortable Kilkerrin-Clonberne win would be a shock.

Prediction: Kilkerrin-Clonberne

 

Dooner's weekend predictions - October 25th

 

 

 

 

There were a couple of minor shocks last weekend as St. John’s Athletic went down 5-2 to Kilkerrin United in the Premier Division and Roscommon United were beaten 2-1 at home by Rahara Rovers in Division One.

  This weekend sees Connacht Cup action and a crunch showdown between Castlerea Celtic and champions St. Peter’s, who remain unbeaten after six games.

 

Friday, October 25th

 

RDFL Premier Division

Ballinasloe Town v St. John’s Athletic. 8.15 pm

Hard to look past the hosts.

Prediction: Ballinasloe Town

Hanley Quarries Division Two

Skyvalley Rovers B v Roscommon United B. 8.15 pm

United’s struggles look set to continue.

Prediction: Skyvalley Rovers B

 

Saturday, October 26th

 

RDFL Premier Division (8 pm)

Castlerea Celtic v St. Peter’s FC

The champions’ biggest test to date. If they’re going to drop points anywhere it could be here.

Prediction: Draw

Ballymoe FC v Skyvalley Rovers

Home win.

Prediction: Ballymoe FC

 

Sunday, October 27th

 

CFA TP Brennan Cup Round Two (2 pm)

Glen Celtic v Castlebar Celtic B

Home win.

Prediction: Glen Celtic

Colga FC v Ballaghaderreen FC

Away win.

Prediction: Ballaghaderreen FC

Gort United v Ballinasloe Town B

Home win.

Prediction: Gort United

Cloonfad United v Ballymote Celtic

Home win.

Prediction: Cloonfad United

Ballina Town B v Manor United

Home win.

Prediction: Ballina Town B

St. Cuan’s United v Iorras Aontaithe

Away win.

Prediction: Iorras Aontaithe

RDFL Premier Division (2 pm)

Moylough ’79 v Moore United 

Difficult one to call on this season’s form.

Prediction: Moylough ’79, narrowly.

Boyle Celtic v Kilkerrin United

Home win.

Prediction: Boyle Celtic

 

Norio’s Takeaway Division One (2 pm)

Rahara Rovers v Dunmore Town

Good win for Rahara last weekend but the pressure is on to follow up with three points here.

Prediction: Rahara Rovers

Dysart FC v Ahascragh United

Home win.

Prediction: Dysart FC

Hanley Quarries Division Two

Ballymoe FC B v Boyle Celtic B. 11 am

Boyle will be hoping to keep touch with the promotion places.

Prediction: Boyle Celtic B

 

The Sporting Brief - October 25th

 

 

 

Basketball

Super start!

The Castlerea Kings made a winning start to the Lonleitros Senior Men’s Basketball League when they defeated Donegal Town last Saturday night at The Hub.

  A large crowd was in attendance as 50 points from Tomas Callaghan and Joseph Henry helped the Kings to a superb 78-69 win.

  The Castlerea Kings team was: Daniel Doherty (6), Joe Fleming (8), Tomas Callaghan (19), Josh McDermott (2), Jack Murphy, David Quinn, Sean McDermott (7), Joseph Henry (31), Michael O’Flanagan (5) and Jack Woods.

 

Handball

All-Ireland success!

Carragh Kennedy and Siobhan Treacy (Roscommon Community College) won the 60x30 Schools Junior Doubles All-Ireland in Clogh, Co. Kilkenny last Saturday. They overcame Lauren Power and Holly Byrne (Heywood CS, Co. Laois) in the final. The win completed a hattrick of All-Irelands for Carragh this year.

  Recently crowned U-14 All-Ireland champion Rory Carthy (Roscommon CBS) lost out to Kyle Jordan of Grennan College, Co. Kilkenny on a scoreline of 8-15, 7-15.

  Despite having just returned to handball, Roscommon CBS student Dylan Hanley almost caused an enormous upset against Eoghan McGinnity (St. McCartan’s, Co. Monaghan) in Talbot’s Inch, Co. Kilkenny. Dylan took the first 15-13 but lost the remaining games 4-15, 4-15.

 

Golf

New Lady Captain

We tee off in Roscommon where Sandra Kelly was recently announced as the new Lady Captain. She will follow outgoing captain Nuala Costello, who impressed fellow members with her hard work in 2019.

  Thomas Higgins, meanwhile, was part of the Ireland U-16 panel which beat England 16.5-13.5 in Hunstanton recently.

  The club also congratulates that conveyor belt of young talent, Roscommon CBS, on their recent Connacht Schools Final victory. It’s the school’s third win in a row in the competition.

  Paul Cuttle’s Captain’s Prize to the Ladies was won by Kay Ruane with 19 points. Serena O’Farrell was runner-up, also with 19.

  Other recent winners in Roscommon: Brian Feely (Sunday Competition, 39 points); Charlie Farrell and Paulie Hoare (Club Fourball); JF Hanley (Smithwicks Cup); Kay Ruane and Detta Cox (Curran Cup); Joan Moran (Ladies’ Seniors) and Des Bruen (Men’s Seniors).

  To Boyle next, where Tommy King was, rather aptly, crowned the winner of the final King Harmon qualifier with 38 points. He put Tom Kearney to the sword (on countback) while Lorcan Egan took gross and Michael McHale finished third.

  The quarter-final match-ups are: Lorcan Egan v Gerry Carty; Padraic O’Connell v David Wynne; Liam Mullaney v Michael McHale, and Sean Heslin v Brendan Gaffney.

  Elsewhere, Phil McWeeney, Siobhan Talbot and Dolores Mulvey won the recent Nine and Dine competition in Carrick.

  Carrick Ladies AGM will take place in the clubhouse at 8 pm on Friday, November 1st and all members are invited to attend.

  Before that there will be a Halloween Timber Draw this Sunday and a great night is promised with live music, finger food and the chance to win three, yes three, loads of timber.

  The Men’s Open Winter League commences in Athlone next Tuesday (29th) and the Plumbers Invitational Fourball takes place on Monday (28th).

  Meanwhile, the recent Lady Captain’s Away Day to Portarlington was a great success with Cathryn Mannion, Linda Corbett and Margaret Egan winning the Scramble.

  Other recent winners in Athlone: Aidan Byrne (Wednesday Open, 37 points); Bernie Watson (97 Club, 25 points); Micheal Healy (AWGS Outing, 29 points); Padraig Geraghty (18-hole Stableford, 42 points).

 

Darts

League resumes

The Hannon’s Hotel sponsored Roscommon Darts league will commence this Friday with the following fixtures: Flanagan’s v McDermott’s; Cosy Bar v An Bothar Rua; Dalton’s v The Sideline Bar; The Hollywood v Molly’s. The Holly Tree have a bye.

 

Tulsk favourites for tasty rematch!

 

 

 

 

Mulryan Construction IFC Final Replay

Oran v Tulsk Lord Edwards on Saturday in Dr. Hyde Park at 4 pm

 

Oran must be wondering just what they have to do to win an intermediate title. Last Sunday their young team led Tulsk a merry dance until they ran out of steam and the more experienced Tulsk side finally reeled them in. The same questions will be asked of both sides in this mouthwatering replay on Saturday.

  Having seen Tulsk play a number of times in this championship, last Sunday was by far their poorest display. They were like a rabbit caught in the headlights as Oran’s young guns ran at them and caused them all sorts of problems. I would say that Gerry Lohan, his selectors, and players are thanking their lucky stars that they still in this championship.

  One thing is certain: if Tulsk don’t up their game considerably on Saturday they are facing the prospect of coming away empty-handed once again. Last Sunday too many of the players who had served them well all year let them down and they will all have to step up to the plate if they want to win.

  Oran, on the other hand, seem to thrive on adversity. Gearoid Keenan lasted only eleven minutes last Sunday but on came Thomas Fetherston to play a huge role in their performance. However the sight of him limping off before the end of the game is a huge worry for them going into this replay.

  Oran are a team laced with incredibly talented young players but every team needs experienced players to drive them on. If Gearoid Keenan and Thomas Fetherston were to be ruled out on Saturday it would be a  huge blow to Billy Donnellan’s men.

  Meanwhile, Tulsk will need to restrict the supply line to the fleet-footed Oran attack or they are going to be in trouble once again. Some of the Oran attacking play last Sunday was out of the top drawer and Tulsk will have to be far sharper in defence or that young Oran attack will run riot again. Ciaran Lawless, Darragh Walsh, Charlie Carthy and James Fitzpatrick may be young, but they can play and they know where the posts are.

   Once again this final is on a knife-edge. Prior to the drawn game I was of the opinion that Oran’s injuries and absentees would just be too much for them to be able to withstand. But I reckoned without their superb young attacking players and inspirational leaders like Mike Dwyer and Thomas Fetherston.

   But Tulsk are a good side and they will know that they can improve hugely on last Sunday’s display. If they have learned their lessons from last Sunday they can inflict more final pain on Oran. Last Sunday’s game was a cracking encounter and this Saturday’s promises to be the same. There won’t be much between them but Tulsk can improve sufficiently to edge it by a few points.

Prediction: Tulsk

 

Four Roads can reach Connacht decider

 

 

 

 

 

Connacht Club IHC Semi-Final: Four Roads v Tooreen on Sunday in Athleague at 2 pm

 

 

Having got their hands on the Mickey Cunniffe Cup for the first time in four years a couple of weeks ago, Four Roads have a chance of a Connacht final appearance when they face old rivals Tooreen in the semi-final on Sunday.

  There would appear to be little between these two teams but Tooreen have been less than impressive in their run to the Mayo title this year and in the final they had only two points to spare against Castlebar Mitchels.

  They have some very well-known names in their team with the lines of Cathal Freeman, Fergal and Shane Boland, Sean Kenny and Stephen Coyne ever-present, and they will travel to Athleague with confidence.

  Remember it was Tooreen who broke the Galway stranglehold on this title in 2017, winning the title. No Roscommon team has managed that feat thus far.

  Four Roads will have to be at their best if they want to advance. Jamie Lawlor, Cormac Coyle and Martin McLoughlin will have the task of shackling the Tooreen full-forward line while Micheal Kelly will be hoping that his good form continues in the half-back line alongside Johnny Moran and Jack Donnelly.

  Shane Curley and Conor Coyle have been very impressive at midfield for the Roscommon champions while up front Cathal Dolan will be the ‘go to’ man for the placed ball. Padraig Kelly has been playing great hurling this year and Noel Fallon has been a towering presence at centre forward. Brendan Mulry has been a very effective target man this year with James Cunniffe and Andy Lawlor hoping to get the vital scores in the corners.

  If Four Roads can bring the intensity and teamwork that they displayed in the county final to the table on Sunday they can edge out Tooreen and make it to the Connacht final.  They should be good enough to prevail.

 

Prediction: Four Roads

 

 

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