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The Sporting Brief - September 6th

 

 

Golf

Connacht Champions!

The Roscommon Ladies’ Senior Foursomes were crowned AIG Ladies Senior Connacht Champions last Saturday in Gort. The All-Ireland finals take place in Knightsbrook on September 25th-27th.

  The recent Gent’s All-Ireland Sunday competition at the club was won by Shane McConn with 41 points, while Joan O’Gara took the ladies’ prize and Michael Corcoran won the Junior Prize. The recent Michael Craven Memorial Cup was won by Aiden Mulvihill with 38 points. Matt Farrell won the Sean Hanly Memorial Cup with 38 points.

  The men’s Connacht Shield team narrowly lost out to Portumna last Saturday.

  Athlone’s Mixed Foursomes team heads to Castleretroy in Limerick this weekend for the All-Ireland Finals.

  The ladies’ junior and intermediate teams lost out in the Connacht Finals of the AIG Cup and Shield competitions last Saturday.

  The Scotch Foursomes final will be contested between Shane Mannion and Gavin Delaney and Aidan O’Driscoll and Conor Quilty.

  The Tom McCormack Fourball was won by Vincent Connaire and Declan Corcoran recently.

  At the GUI All-Ireland Gold Medal regional qualifier last Friday, Sean Doyle and Peadar Kane both qualified for the finals at the K Club on October 8th.

  The King Cup in Boyle was postponed last Sunday. New date TBC.

  The men’s 12-hole Stableford was won by Liam Whyte while the 2s Club was won by Lorcan Egan.

  Fr. Joe Poole’s Captain’s Prize was won by Billy Molloy in Castlerea. Billy had two very impressive rounds and held his nerve during a play-off to win. Second prize went to Keith McDermott, Dara Bruen took the gross prize and Daryl Kelly came third on the day. Valerie Rabbitt was best of the ladies, closely followed by sisters Dympna McGarry and Irene Burke. Dympna just pipped her sister on the count back!

  John Collins won the recent men’s competition with 40 points while Valerie Rabbitt enjoyed yet another win in the ladies’ competition with 70 nett.

  The recent ‘Play in Pink Day’ Kathy Burke Memorial Cup was won by Caitriona Newman and Laura Griffith. Laura Griffith and Greg Bruen impressed in the style stakes!

Darts

Up for the Cup!

Mick Kilroe emerged victorious in last Friday’s Darts Superleague Cup Final at The Hollywood Bar. Kilroe beat Ciaran Hickey 4-1 in the quarter-finals before defeating Paul Carton 5-1 in the semi-finals.  

  Another in-form darter, Thomas Concannon faced Kilroe in the final and the pair produced a truly epic battle.

  Kilroe took the initiative early on and stormed into a seemingly unassailable 4-0 lead before Concannon fired back with three straight legs to bring it back to 4-3.

  Kilroe steadied the shop in the eighth leg to make it 5-3 but Concannon refused to bend the knee and levelled matters up at 5-5.

  The final leg saw some great darts with Concannon applying some early pressure. Kilroe wasn’t to be denied though and clinical finishing helped him to a 6-5 win and Cup glory.

 

Handball

Doubles defeat!

St. Coman’s’ Damien Martin and Rikki O’Gara are out of the 60x30 Open Doubles after losing to experienced Wexford pair Tommy Hynes and Barry Goff last Saturday at Na Fianna in Dublin on a scoreline of 12-21, 14-21.

  Elsewhere, St. Coman’s’ Sean Rafferty and Brian Mannion had a good 21-13, 21-14, 21-19 win in the 60x30 Junior ‘C’ Doubles Connacht final held in Collooney, Co. Sligo last Sunday against Sligo pair Clive Slevin and Josian Oskoz.

 

Dooner's weekend predictions - September 6th

 

 

St. Peter’s take on Kilkerrin United while Ballymoe entertain Boyle Celtic in the pick of the action in the Premier Division this weekend. It’s still early days of course but we’ve seen how difficult it is to make up ground in this division in recent seasons so there’s very little margin for error…

Friday, September 8th

Umbro Masters Cup Final

At Lecarrow: Colemanstown v Castlerea. 8 pm

Friday Night Football sees the Masters Final at Lecarrow. Castlerea get a slight nod.

Prediction: Castlerea

RDFL Premier Division (8 pm)

Moore United v St. John’s Athletic FC

Both sides looking for their first win but this could end in stalemate.

Prediction: Draw

Skyvalley Rovers v Moylough ‘79

The hosts got off to a decent start with a draw against Moore last weekend. This will be an interesting test for the visitors.

Prediction: Moylough ‘79

RDFL Second Division

Ballymoe FC B v Ballinasloe Town B. 8 pm

The hosts didn’t play last weekend while the visitors will be hoping to bounce back.

Prediction: Ballinasloe Town B

Saturday, September 7th

RDFL Second Division

Boyle Celtic B v Skyvalley Rovers B. 8 pm

Both sides got off to winning starts last time out but Boyle get the nod to maintain their 100% record this weekend.

Prediction: Boyle Celtic B

Sunday, September 8th

RDFL Premier Division (2 pm)

St. Peter’s FC v Kilkerrin United

The Athlone side will be the favourites here.

Prediction: St. Peter’s FC

Ballymoe FC v Boyle Celtic

The visitors suffered defeat to Ballinasloe Town last weekend and will be hoping to get off the mark in Ballymoe.

Prediction: Boyle Celtic

RDFL First Division (11 am)

Cam Celtic v Ballaghaderreen FC

The hosts showed plenty of resilience last weekend and will need more of the same against Ballaghaderreen.

Prediction: Draw

Roscommon United v Dunmore Town

United will be hoping to get off the mark at home this weekend.

Prediction: Roscommon United

CP Ajax v Dysart FC

This could go either way but I’m leaning towards the hosts.

Prediction: CP Ajax

Rahara Rovers v Cloonfad United

The visitors were on fire last weekend.

Prediction: Cloonfad United

RDFL Second Division

Moore United B v Roscommon United B. 11 am

This will be the visitors’ first taste of competitive action.

Prediction: Moore United B

Ballaghaderreen FC B v Manor United. 11 am

Not an easy trip for Manor but they are tipped to maintain their unbeaten start.

Prediction: Manor United

Cloonfad United B v Glen Celtic. 11 am

Away win.

Prediction: Glen Celtic

St. John’s Athletic FC B v St. Cuan’s United. 2 pm

United will see this as opportunity to earn their first points this season.

Prediction: St. Cuan’s United

Rossie revival lands All-Ireland glory!

 

 

 

 

All-Ireland U-16 ‘C’ Camogie Championship Final

Roscommon 2-10

Kerry 1-8

 

 

Five points without reply in the final eight minutes saw Roscommon sweep to a dramatic victory against Kerry in this All-Ireland U-16 final played at Sixmilebridge in County Clare last Sunday.

  The Rossies were six points down at the interval, trailing by 1-6 to 0-3, but had all the answers after the restart, with the defence battening down the hatches and the offensive unit having much more joy than was the case in the opening period, albeit with the aid of a breeze.

  Amy O’Sullivan was the scourge of the Roscommon defence in the first half, scoring a goal and six points in the first 19 minutes, including 1-2 from play, to open up an eight-point advantage as The Kingdom led by 1-6 to 0-1 at one stage.

  Crucially, Roscommon managed to stem the tide, and points from Sally Bolger (45) and Siafra Finneran (free) gave them a confidence that they carried into the second half. Kerry led by six points at the interval.

  Ciara Kilcommins goaled for the Rossies seven minutes after the resumption after a great run from Niamh Fitzgerald, and then Kerry had a penalty (taken by O’Sullivan) brilliantly saved by Roscommon net-minder Ellen Cafferkey.

  Though O’Sullivan did put four between them once more, the Causeway sharpshooter was kept at bay thereafter, while a poacher’s goal from Anna Campbell following a long-distance Sally Bolger free brought the sides level.

  Roscommon finished with five consecutive points to put the issue beyond doubt which included three points from Siafra Finneran. It was a remarkable comeback and a tribute to the resilience of the side managed by Mary Grehan, Paula Miley and Mairead O’Brien.

  Best for Roscommon on a memorable day for the game in the county were Ellen Cafferkey, Aoife Keogh, Orla Connolly, Ciara Kilcommins, Niamh Fitzgerald, Claire McNeill, Sally Bolger and Siafra Finneran.

Roscommon: E Cafferkey; A Keogh, A Campbell, N Kelly; M Lawless, O Connolly, S Regan; S Bolger (0-1), N Fitzgerald (0-2); S Treacy, C McNeill (0-1), Anna Campbell (1-0), C Kilcommins (1-1), S Finneran (0-5), K Heneghan. Subs: E O’Farrell for Lawless, S Mannion for Heneghan.

Kerry: K Kenny; K Dwyer, J O’Sullivan, S Leahy; K Leen, E O’Donoghue, S Kearney; K Stack, C Cullen; D Jeffers, C Heather, S Maloney; E Conway, G Shanahan, A O’Sullivan (1-8). Subs: S O’Carroll for Maloney, A McCarthy for Jeffers, A Hannifan for Leahy, S Leahy for McCarthy.

Referee: M Ryan (Tipperary)

 

 

Deadly Donie leads the way as Clann crushed

 

 

 

Game of the Weekend

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC Group C (Round Two)

Boyle 2-26

Clann na nGael 1-8

 

 

There were a couple of remarkable things that happened during this mis-match in Ballyleague last Saturday. Firstly, seldom (if ever) in the proud history of Clann na nGael have they ever been on the end of such a hiding in the club championship. It consigns the reigning champions to the bottom three, and having only won the championship last autumn, they will now have a relegation battle to plan for.

  But the highlight of a balmy evening on the banks of the River Shannon was that Donie Smith turned in one of the best individual performances that I have seen in all the years I have been attending Roscommon club championship games. The mercurial attacker scored a goal and fifteen points from play and placed balls, and not only that, he set up several more scores for his colleagues on the day. It was a mesmerising performance from an immensely talented player and surely some sort of record in Roscommon championship football.

  Boyle had Clann in trouble from the start, Enda Smith and Ciaran Cox were on top at midfield and with Donie Smith on fire, the scores soon began to pile up. It was 0-3 to 0-2 after seven minutes before Basil Mannion’s men scored seven points without reply (Donie Smith with six of those) to open up a handsome seven-point gap. Cathal Callinan was flying a lone flag for Clann up front and it was all the more surprising when he was taken off in the second half having scored three fine points from play.

  With five minutes to go to the break Cian McKeon was fouled by Philip Greene and referee Ollie Kelly awarded a penalty. It looked a harsh call, however Donie Smith made no mistake from 12 yards and at half-time Boyle led 1-9 to 0-6.

  But if Clann were second best in that first-half, it was nothing compared to what happened after the break as Boyle pressed the accelerator and sped off into the distance with a series of brilliant scores, with Donie Smith at the centre of almost every attacking move.

  In the 35th minute Enda Smith scored a spectacular goal and followed that up with a point almost immediately. It was exhibition stuff now and Clann were bystanders as the Boyle attack and Donie in particular ran riot.  In fact, Boyle settled for points on at least three occasions in the second half when a goal was on, such was their dominance. Donie Shine scored a goal in the 5th minute of injury-time for Clann but it didn’t even have the feel of consolation about it.

  For those of us who can remember the days when Clann ruled Roscommon football with an iron fist, this was a shock. Remember too that just last October the men from Johnstown scored 4-15 in a stunning attacking display as they defeated St. Brigid’s to win the Fahey Cup. They are short top-class players like Fergal Lennon, Ultan Harney and Jack Connaughton but even so, this was a demoralising and shocking defeat. It will be hard for them to recover from this.

  For Boyle it was a day to remember. Apart from the spectacular performance from Donie Smith, Enda Smith, Cian McKeon, Tadgh McKenna, Seanie Purcell and Ciaran Cox all played really well. For them the trick will now be to follow up this display with more of the same. It will be interesting to see how they do against Western Gaels in round three.

 

Boyle: Robert Kearney; Killian Cox, Conor Flanagan, Evan McGrath; Tadgh McKenna (0-1), Sean Purcell, Michael Hanmore; Ciaran Cox, Enda Smith (1-1); Dylan East, Cian McKeon (0-4), Jim Suffin (0-1); Donie Smith (1-15, 1-0 pen, 8 frees), Mark O’Connor, Mark O’Donoghue (0-2).

Subs: Colin Goldrick (0-1) for O’Connor (38), Ryan Finneran for McGrath (51), Seamus Keane (0-1) for O’Donoghue (55), Jack Moran for East (58), Brian Furey for Purcell (59), Ben Kerins for Suffin (63).

 

Clann na nGael: Philip Greene: Damien Duff, Stephen Flynn, Darren Duff; Darragh Pettit, Shane Pettit, David Connaughton; Dylan Sumner, Graham Pettit; Emmet Kenny, Cathal Shine, Cian McManus; Donie Shine (1-4, 1 free), Ciaran Lennon (0-1), Cathal Callinan (0-3).

Subs: Sea Henry for Kenny (12), Callum O’Brien for Shine (28), Oisin Lennon for Sumner (37), Johnny Dunning for Lennon (50), Darragh Kildea for Callinan (52), Cathal Duignan for D Pettit (56).

Referee: Ollie Kelly

 

 

Aoife O’Rourke guaranteed bronze in Madrid!

 

 

 

Castlerea boxer, Aoife O’Rourke, will be returning from the European Women’s Elite Championships in Madrid with at least a bronze medal following her emphatic unanimous points decision over Ukrainian fighter Tetiana Petrovich in the Spanish capital on Monday afternoon.

  O’Rourke who trains under Paddy Sharkey at Castlerea Boxing Club will now meet Russia’s Youth Olympic champion, Anastasia Shamonova for a place in the finals tomorrow (Friday).

  The Roscommon middleweight, who won silver at the 2018 European Under-22 Championships but was defeated in the European Games quarter-finals by British boxer Lauren Price earlier this year, won every round on Monday against Petrovich. The final scorecards read 30-25,30-25, 30-25, 30-24, 30-24 in favour of the Castlerea fighter.

  O’Rourke’s podium finish guaranteed Irish boxing its eleventh medal at the European Women’s Elites since the tournament began in 2002.

  While Friday’s opponent will pose a severe test, Aoife will take heart from her previous experience in high-pressure fights. There’s no reason the impressive Castlerea athlete can’t go one better and improve on her extremely impressive showing at the tournament so far.

Senior championship is wide open!

 

 

 

As Miley Byrne used to say many years ago on Glenroe: “Well Holy God”. It’s an apt statement for events in the Roscommon football championships over the weekend!

  Who would have thought that Clann na nGael, who won the title in such style last year, would be out of the championship after only two rounds of group games? Who would have thought that St. Brigid’s would be struggling?

  Not alone that, but anyone who saw Elphin play St. Brigid’s and St. Croan’s play Fuerty would have strongly backed Elphin to come out on top but Croan’s were a team transformed in a week and beat Elphin by three points! Similarly, Strokestown looked in trouble after their loss to Roscommon Gaels but they rallied to get a vital draw with Michael Glavey’s.

  I was in Ballyleague where Roscommon Gaels turned in a solid display to beat St. Faithleach’s which followed Boyle’s hammering of Clann na nGael. At least those of us who were there saw one of the truly great individual championship performances as Donie Smith notched up an incredible 1-15. It was a phenomenal display.

  So where does that leave us now? Having seen five games in the SFC it is one of the most open championships that I have seen in the past 20 years. There are several teams of roughly the same ability and no obvious favourites for the Fahey Cup have emerged so far.

  In the IFC, Tulsk and Castlerea have been the two most impressive teams so far. St. Dominic’s pulled off a dramatic win against Oran while Creggs are going nicely with two wins under their belts.

  This weekend it’s the turn of the Kepak Senior Hurling Championship semi-finals. They are previewed in more detail elsewhere in the sports section this week but my fancy is for another Athleague v Four Roads final.

 

Championship Watch

All-Ireland SFC Final

Dublin v Kerry in Croke Park on Sunday at 3.30 pm

It looks like history will be made on Sunday when the Dublin footballers will seek to achieve what no other team has done in the history of the GAA and that’s to win five senior football titles in a row.

  I have to say that I’m glad that it’s Kerry that’s meeting them in the final and not Tyrone. With Kerry there the chances of having a Gaelic football game are pretty high. But have Kerry any chance of dethroning the Dubs? Not in my thinking. I have said it a couple of times in this column over the past few weeks, the day I saw Dublin in the flesh against Roscommon I was blown away by how good they were, how strong they were and how much they had improved in a year. There were people telling me before the semi-final that Mayo would beat them. There was never any chance of that happening and so it turned out.

  Kerry are a better side than Mayo and if they could devise a way of getting the ball into Paul Geaney, David Clifford and Stephen O’Brien they might get the scores they need. But that’s a very big ‘if’. The Dublin defence are no great shakes but it’s the collective team effort and work ethic that is just so relentless with this Dublin team. They strike with such power and have so much skill and outstanding back-up play that it is almost impossible to subdue them.

  Also, if the Dublin defence is vulnerable then the Kerry defence is much more so. The likes of Con O’Callaghan, Paul Mannion, Ciaran Kilkenny and Dean Rock are stronger, fitter and just better than they were 12 months ago. When you add in the peerless Brian Fenton at midfield it’s a mix that is irresistible. That’s not even taking into account the surging runs of Jack McCaffrey and James McCarthy from the half-back line.

  David Moran is having a great year for Kerry in the middle of the park but he will have to play the game of his life on Sunday if The Kingdom are to have any joy. I think that it could be a game for 45 or 50 minutes but once the Dubs switch on the afterburners it will spell trouble for Kerry. For the neutral I hope it’s a good game. I can see Dublin winning by four or five points at least.

Prediction: Dublin

Note: The minor final is between Cork and Galway. It would be an incredible transformation if Galway were to take the title having lost to Roscommon in Dr. Hyde Park. Stranger things have happened!

Can Ireland recover before Japan?

I was really looking forward to seeing an almost full-strength Irish Rugby team take on England at Twickenham last Saturday. It was a total shocker, however, as England hammered Joe Schmidt’s men and despite the excuses being trotted out this week, it is a very heavy blow and maybe even a fatal one to our World Cup hopes before the tournament even begins.

  I realise that Ireland are not as bad as we saw at the weekend but I would hate to see us having to face that English team again. They swatted the Irish players aside like flies and we had no one capable of competing with the like of Billy Vunipola and especially Maro Itoje who was awesome.

  Ireland have still to play Wales a couple of times before they travel out to Japan but it is not looking good. Too many of their main players are either injured or suffering from a loss of form. Schmidt has a huge job to get the train back on the tracks over the next two weeks!

Young Rossies win All-Ireland title!

Congratulations to the Roscommon U-16 camogie team on their All-Ireland win at the weekend. The win represents a big boost for the game in the county and is a tribute to the people who have been looking after underage teams in Roscommon. It’s seldom that camogie is in the spotlight so well done to everyone concerned. It’s well deserved.

City and Liverpool lead the way again

There has been a very predictable start to the Premier League season with Manchester City and Liverpool looking head and shoulders ahead of the chasing pack. Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea have all looked very poor at times and are not in the class of the top two.

  Then there is Manchester United. Nothing has changed since last season and despite Solskjaer being in charge the problems are still the same with no penetration up front and very little cover when players are playing badly.

  The controversy over the penalties was crazy. There would be a designated penalty taker on every soccer team from U-11 upwards and how United do not do the same is beyond me. What happened against Crystal Palace last Saturday would never, ever have happened under Sir Alex Ferguson. There isn’t much point in changing the manager again, but the facts are that United’s squad is threadbare and they are depending on one world-class midfielder (Pogba) who does not want to be at the club. It’s a total mess and another season of extreme frustration is on the way for United fans.

Another giant step for ladies’ football

Ladies football took another giant step forward with the staging of the All-Ireland semi-finals at Croke Park on Sunday. A crowd of over 10,000 turned up which is encouraging. No one would deny that there remains a mountain of work to be done in terms of developing and marketing the game but it is going in the right direction and hopefully there will be another bumper crowd at the finals in two weeks’ time.

Mayo legend Andy Moran steps aside

A lot of Roscommon fans would have a love-hate relationship with Andy Moran but I don’t think that anyone would deny that he was a great player. In fact, he played the best football of his career over the past five years. His ball winning ability, and his vision and ability to make a difference, whether off the bench or from the starting fifteen, was unmatched on that Mayo team over the past decade.

  I met him a number of times over the years and he is a lovely lad. I wish him the best of luck in his retirement. Is it the beginning of the break-up if this Mayo team?

 

Final spots up for grabs in SHC

 

 

 

 

 

Kepak Roscommon SHC Semi-Finals in Athleague on Saturday

 

And then there were four! The Roscommon Senior Hurling Championship reaches boiling point this weekend as Athleague and Tremane and Four Roads and Pádraig Pearses battle it our for a place in this year’s decider…

 

Athleague v Tremane at 5 pm

An interesting clash between the neighbours to open proceedings and there is nothing that Tremane would enjoy better than to knock the  defending champions out of this year’s competition. They have done very well to get to the last four and it will be interesting to see if they use Niall Kilroy in an attempt to upset the odds. The county footballer is a magnificent club hurler but he has not played for them all year. They also have Peter Kellehan, Mike Keaveney, the Brennans and Niall Keenan to call on.

  Athleague have been going along quietly and have reached this stage of the competition without much fuss. The prolific Eamon Flanagan is a key man for them and with Robbie Fallon, Alan Moore, Cormac Kelly, David Flaherty, Pat Nolan, Gary Fallon and Ben McGahon on board there is plenty of talent there.

  There wasn’t much between the sides when they met earlier in the championship and I won’t be one bit surprised if Tremane upset the applecart and win through to the final. But Athleague just look that little bit stronger so I am giving them a hesitant vote to advance.

Prediction: Athleague

 

Four Roads v Pádraig Pearses at 6.30 pm

In the most controversial match in this year’s championship six players saw red when the sides met a couple of months ago so there is no love lost here. But the reality is that Four Roads look a much better side this year and they have to start this semi-final as warm favourites.

  The likes of Micheal Kelly, Shane Curley, Cathal Dolan, Padraig Kelly, Conor Coyle and Conor Mulry are all playing well this year as the Tisrara club bid to get the Mickey Cunniffe Cup back on home soil.

  Pearses have plenty of talent and Cathal Kelly, Leon Fehily, Shane Naughton and Oisin Kelly will be hoping to lead their side to what would be a surprise win. I don’t’ thnk that there will be much in it but Four Roads have looked the part so far this year and the should secure their place in the final with a bit to spare.

Prediction: Four Roads

 

Carroll’s men can ‘Master’ Donegal

 

 

 

Masters Football All-Ireland Semi-Final

Roscommon v Donegal in Sligo on Saturday at 2 pm

 

Roscommon’s chances of All-Ireland football glory are still alive and well as Anthony Carroll’s Masters side go into battle with Donegal on Saturday hoping for a place in the final against Tyrone or Dublin. It’s a huge step forward for Roscommon who won the ‘B’ All-Ireland title last year against Mayo.

  It’s been a very impressive campaign for Roscommon this year as Anthony Carroll explained to me on Tuesday.

  “We have a lot of additions who have added to our panel this year and we have trained hard. We usually train on a Tuesday in Ballyforan or in Ballyleague and we played a lot of challenge matches in preparation.

  “We played Cavan recently in a challenge and we feel we are ready to face Donegal in what will be a tough semi-final. We have played six championship matches in the group this year and the only game we lost was against Dublin and we were short a number of players that day so we have had a great campaign so far.

  “Donegal beat Galway in a play-off to get to the semi-final so we think that if we play well we will be in with a good chance on Saturday. We have a number of new players in the squad this year which has strengthened us so we are very hopeful we can get to the final,” he said.

  In addition to the players who were already there from last year, Gary Cox (who scored 1-9 against Galway) Paul Noone, David Scahill, Ollie Flanagan, Darragh Shine, Daragh O’Gara, David Cryan, Keith Fahey, Damien Caslin and Joe Towey have all joined the squad this year and the team have been transformed into a side capable of contesting for an All-Ireland title. If their from holds up Roscommon have the measure of Donegal and should be able to book their place in the decider.

Prediction: Roscommon

 

Fuerty denied while Pearses grind on!

 

 

 

Hodson Bay Hotel SFC Round-Up

Group A

Brigid’s survive!

Fuerty 0-10

St. Brigid’s 0-10

Fuerty almost put St. Brigid’s out of the championship with a determined and gritty display at Kiltoom on Friday night and it took two late frees from Brian Stack (one of which was a controversial point) to earn a share of the spoils after an entertaining match.

  Fuerty were by far the better side early on and at one stage led by 0-6 to 0-1. But by half-time the sides were level at 0-6 apiece after a good Brigid’s revival and some accurate free-taking from Brian Derwin.

  Fuerty, for whom Tom Bannon, Aengus Lyons and Niall Kilroy were outstanding, led by two points going into the last two minutes but Brian Stack pointed those two late frees to keep his side in the championship, and only just.

Scorers – St. Brigid’s: B Derwin (0-5), P Kelly and B Stack (0-2) each, E Sheehy (0-1).  Fuerty: N Kilroy (0-6), C Murray (0-2), C Leahy and R Fallon (0-1) each.

 

Goggins’ the goal hero!

St. Croan’s 3-9  

Elphin 1-12

Anyone who saw these sides play in the first round of games certainly would not have predicted a Croan’s win, but they were full value for their three-point win at Enfield on Sunday. It was a totally transformed Croan’s who were always in the hunt and Keith Muldoon scored a fine goal to put them ahead in the opening half before Shane Killoran’s goal ensured that Elphin were ahead by a point at the break 1-7 to 1-6.

  Cathal Connelly scored a vital second goal for Croan’s early in the second half but despite Elphin losing Fintan Cregg through injury, they led inside the final quarter but Croan’s always looked dangerous and when Damien Goggins poked home a late goal Croan’s had completed their revival.

Scorers – St. Croan’s: K Muldoon (1-3), D Goggins (1-1), C Connelly (1-0), R Thompson (0-3), G Grogan and A Brogan (0-1) each. Elphin: S Killoran (1-2), G Cregg (0-5), Frankie Cregg (0-2), Fintan Cregg, N Higgins and C Fox (0-1) each.

 

Group B

Honours even!

Michael Glavey’s 0-12  

Strokestown 1-9

This was a much-improved performance from Strokestown who earned a deserved draw against high-flying Michael Glavey’s. Indeed they had to come from four points down in injury-time to get a share of the spoils. It was nip and tuck in a low-key first-half which saw the sides go in at five points apiece.

  In the second half Caoileann Fitzmaurice and Andy Glennon kept the scoreboard ticking over and the home side looked home and dry leading by 0-12 to 0-8 late on. But Davy Neary scored a great individual goal to reduce the margin to two and in the dying seconds Keelan Beirne scored the equaliser from a long- range free.

Scorers - Strokestown: C Compton (0-5), D Neary (1-0), K Beirne, D McGann, P Brogan and  K Murphy (0-1) each. Michael Glavey’s: C Fitzmaurice (0-5), A Glennon (0-4), S Markham, S Burke and S Comer (0-1) each.

Group C

Pearses grind out win

Pádraig Pearses 1-10  

Western Gaels 0-10

If Pádraig Pearses are to justify favouritism in the senior title race they are going about it the hard way as they ground out a very hard fought victory against a gritty Western Gaels side at Athleague. The game was marred by a head injury sustained by Pearses player Lorcan Daly and the action was held up for almost 40 minutes as an ambulance was called. But thankfully the defender is Ok and will be back in action within a few weeks.

  It was a very poor game in the opening half at the end of which Pearses led 0-5 to 0-4. The Gaels were then reduced to 13 men after the dismissal of Tommy Devine and Cathal Cregg but Pearses struggled to pull away. The introduction of Aaron Fehily was significant and he scored three late points to swing it in Pearses favour.

Scorers – Pearses: A Fehily and E Kelly (0-3) each, H Darcy (1-0), C Payne (0-2) C Daly and P Carey (0-1) each. Western Gaels: N Higgins (0-4), K Higgins (0-3), T Gill, C Cregg and C Cafferky (0-1) each.

 

 

 

Dooner's weekend predictions

 

 

The Roscommon & District Football League returns to action this weekend - its 50th season - so that means a return of the weekly predictions…best of luck to all clubs and officials this season.

  Similar to last season, the Premier Division will split into two sections following the first round of games. The top five at that stage will play each other for the Premier Division title while the bottom six will battle it out to avoid relegation.

Friday, August 30th

RDFL Premier Division

Shiven Rovers v St. John’s Athletic FC. 8 pm

The Lecarrow side are back in the top flight but they face a tricky opening day against Shiven Rovers.

Prediction: Shiven Rovers

RDFL Second Division

Skyvalley Rovers B v Cloonfad United B. 8 pm

Home advantage to swing it for Skyvalley?

Prediction: Skyvalley Rovers

Saturday, August 31st

RDFL Premier Division

Castlerea Celtic v Moylough ’79. 7.45 pm

The visitors have rocketed up the divisions and while they are always competitive, may find the going tough against one of the best teams in Roscommon.

Prediction: Castlerea Celtic

RDFL Second Division

Glen Celtic v Ahascragh United. 7.45 pm

This could be a cracker between two teams with genuine promotion hopes.

Prediction: Draw

Ballinasloe Town B v Boyle Celtic B. 8 pm

The home side won’t have it all their own way but are among the favourites for promotion.

Prediction: Ballinasloe Town B

Sunday, September 1st

RDFL Premier Division

Skyvalley Rovers v Moore United FC. 11 am

The hosts open their 50th season in the top flight. Moore are the slight favourites.

Prediction: Moore United

Ballinasloe Town v Boyle Celtic. 2 pm

The ‘Game of the Weekend’: Boyle were frustratingly inconsistent last season while The Town tend to grow stronger as the season goes on.

Prediction: Draw.

RDFL First Division (Kick-off 11 am unless stated)

Strokestown United v Cloonfad United

Both sides will be hoping for an immediate return to the Premier Division.

Prediction: Draw

Rahara Rovers v CP Ajax

Difficult to call but the Castleplunkett side gets the nod.

Prediction: CP Ajax

Dysart FC v Roscommon United

A difficult opener for newly-promoted Roscommon United. However, they’ll be delighted to know that I’m backing the hosts.

Prediction: Dysart FC

Dunmore Town v Ballaghaderreen FC

Away win.

Prediction: Ballaghaderreen FC

Cam Celtic v Castlerea Celtic B

The home side should have the edge over the new boys.

Prediction: Cam Celtic

RDFL Second Division (2 pm)

Manor United v Moore United B

The hosts should be aiming for promotion this year.

Prediction: Manor United

St. Cuan’s v Ballaghaderreen FC B

Home win.

Prediction: St. Cuan’s

Roscommon United B v Ballymoe FC B

United appointed Mike Ryan and John Hannon as head coaches of the new second team over the summer and according to sources at the club (those who go training), preparations have gone well ahead of this weekend’s opening fixture.

Prediction: Roscommon United

 

 

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