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Four Roads blocked by heroic Athleague

McNeill’s (Roscommon) Senior Camogie Club Final
Athleague 1-9 Four Roads 0-7

There were huge celebrations in Rockfield last Sunday as Athleague finally got their hands on the senior camogie cup to prevent Four Roads winning their 8th title in a row after a thrilling final.

  It was a well contested contest all through and with the score at Four Roads 0-2 Athleague 0-1, Athleague scored what was to prove a crucial goal.

  On sixteen minutes a Kelley Hopkins free was cleared by Four Roads’ goalkeeper Breda Mannion, but it fell into the path of Chloe Whyte, who flicked the ball home from close-range.

  Then Athleague followed up with points from Kelley Hopkins (free) and Annette McGeeney and at half-time Athleague led by 1-5 to 0-4.

  Four Roads hit back early in the second half with points from Cait Kenny (a free) and Patricia Lennon. But it was Athleague’s day. A point from Annette McGeeney and two converted frees from Kelley Hopkins put them back in control. Niamh Coyle scored a lovely point for Four Roads, but Athleague completed a great day for them when Fiona Connell scored a late point to copperfasten their win.

  Four Roads did their best to get some late scores but Athleague held out for a famous win.

  Best for Athleague were Annette McGeeney, Kelley Hopkins, Norah Brennan, Elaine Daly and Rachel Fitzmaurice.

  For Four Roads, Catherine Glennon,  Niamh Coyle, Aisling Fallon and Siobhan Coyle were very prominent on the day.

Athleague: P Daly; C Murray, E Daly, E Coyle; N Brandon, K Hopkins (0-4), N Brennan; M Brennan R Fitzmaurice (0-1); L Kelly (0-1), A McGeeney (0-2), R Brennan; C Whyte (1-0), R Fallon, F Connell (0-1). Subs: L Keenan for Kelly, A Beades for Connell.

Four Roads: B Mannion; A Fallon, M Glennon-Kelly, C Glennon; G Dufficy, S Coyle, D Kelly; M Hoey, P Lennon (0-1); l Carty (0-1), N Coyle (0-1), A Rogerson; C Kenny (0-3), L Glennon-Tully, S Kelly. Subs: G Dowd (0-1) for Dufficy, S Fallon for Glennon.

Referee: R Kelly.

 

BACK IN THE BIG TIME

Young Clann heroes making their own history!

Clann na nGael’s inspirational manager Paul Curran has backed his young team to “make their own history” as the Johnstown club finally returned to the summit of Roscommon football.

  Clann dominated the Roscommon and Connacht club scene for many years in the past, but nineteen years had elapsed since their last senior Roscommon title. That barren period ended on Sunday when they beat neighbours Padraig Pearses in a tense County Final in Dr Hyde Park (1-9 to 0-11).

  Curran described the game as a “cliffhanger” and acknowledged that Donie Shine’s goal was the crucial score.

  “We knew that Pearses would keep coming at us and thankfully we just got over the line. A goal was always going to be huge and so it proved. It gave us a bit of daylight and in the end we needed it.”

  Describing the reaction of Clann fans as “incredible,” Curran added: “I have never seen anything like it. It’s been a long time since this club have been in a final but they have a great tradition and we tried to tap into that this week in the run-up to the game. This team can go on and make their own history now. The semi-final win (against St. Brigid’s) was massive for us and we got great confidence from that. We are just thrilled and I am looking forward to the celebrations now! This is a great club and I’m so delighted for everyone involved.”

  His namesake Shane Curran brought Padraig Pearses to close in his first season as manager.

  He was philosophical at the full-time whistle.

  “When we were on top in the first half in particular we didn’t push on and we didn’t see the game out. We had chances to level it and we had a goal chance or two as well. But we cannot be too harsh on our lads. They have put in a tremendous effort out there and all year too and we have to say that the better team won out there today.

  “A number of things went against us on the day but that’s football. This bunch of lads have given the Pearses community a tremendous year by getting to this final and a lot of those players have a lot of football to play yet.

  “Some of them will go back to the county team and they will be a great asset to Roscommon for sure. We have to learn from this experience and come back stronger again next year.”

  Donie Shine, the Clann goalscorer, revealed that he was only about 70% right for the remainder of the game after pulling a muscle during the final.

 “It was a hell of a battle but we stuck at it and it came good in the end. With regard to the goal, Ultan (Harney) put in a great tackle and won the ball back and in fairness to him he put it on a plate for me. It was all about the team winning but it was nice to get the goal. I pulled a muscle early on and I was only at about 70% for the rest of the game but thank God I got through it. It’s fantastic to win the Fahey Cup and it’s a great feeling to finally get there. I’m absolutely delighted. The celebrations will be great over the next few days.” 

World Cup beckons for Concannon

Kemur, Turkey will be the venue for the WDF World Cup held from the 26th to 31st of October, and Roscommon’s David Concannon will have the honour of captaining a promising Irish side in the event.

  Fresh from a successful run to the last eight in the Lakeside Qualifiers and the last 32 in both the Grand Slam of Darts Qualifiers and the Winmau World Masters, the Ballinaheglish man and Irish Number 1 will be hopeful for a good run in the team, singles and pairs events.

  We congratulate David on his recent achievements and wish him all the best in the week’s events.

Darts League: The first round of The Hannon’s Hotel sponsored Roscommon Darts League was played last weekend with some great darts on show.

  Results were: An Bothar Rua 4 Ned’s 3; The Hatch 4 The Hollywood 3; The Forge 5 Flanagan’s 2; McDermott’s 5 Charlie’s 2.
  Round 2 takes place on Friday, 23rd October with the following fixtures: Creaton’s v An Bothar Rua; Flanagan’s v The Hatch; Ned’s Bar v McDermott’s; Charlie’s v The Forge; Hollywood receive a BYE.

October Bank Holiday Round Robin: A Round Robin competition will take place in The Hollywood Bar, Roscommon this October Bank Holiday, Monday 26th of October.

  Four groups of players will play off for progression to the quarter-finals and with each player in a group playing one another there will be plenty of games guaranteed!

  Doors open at 1.30 pm. Games at 3 pm sharp. Finger food on the day. Contact David on (086) 0823180 for entry. Limited numbers, so get your name in fast to avoid disappointment and come along for a great day of darts.

 

Big Heart Fight Night to pack a punch for Heart & Stroke charity

The Abbey Hotel, Roscommon will play host to the Big Heart Fight Night Roscommon this Sunday, a boxing fundraising event in aid of the Irish Heart Foundation.

  A number of brave-hearted Roscommon men and women will take to the ring for the ultimate boxing challenge.

  Over the past seven weeks each of the Big Heart Fight participants have been training in the basics of boxing with Patrick Kilcoyne and his team at the Quad Youth Centre to ready themselves for a three-round bout in the Abbey Hotel.

  As well as the training, each of the participants has been busy fundraising for the night and the event hopes to raise over €15,000 for the Irish Heart Foundation.

  Breffni Gorman, Regional Manager, Irish Heart Foundation said: “The Big Heart Fight Night is a double-win for our charity because not only does the event get hearts pumping and active, but it also raises much-needed donations so we can give vital support to heart and stroke patients every day through our National Heart & Stroke Helpline (Locall 1890 432 787).

  “We want to sincerely thank each of the Big Heart Fight participants who have shown a phenomenal level of commitment over the past seven weeks both in terms of training and fundraising.”

  Doors open at 7 pm. First fight 7.30 pm. Tickets, priced €20, are on sale from each of the participants. There will be limited tickets on the door on the night.

  More details can be found at www.facebook.com/bigheartfight, contact Breffni Gorman, Irish Heart Foundation on 086-3806941 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The contestants are…

Karla Collins, Ian Doyle, James Glynn, Brian Mongan, Pat Mongan, Kieran Keane, Roy Rafferty, Sarah Costello, Anne Marie Bance, Mellisa Coyle, Andrea Doorly and David Comiskey.

 

Golf News - 23rd October

Athlone Golf Club

An Open Weekend will be held on the Bank Holiday weekend from Friday 23rd October to Monday 26th October. To book a tee time please call 090-6492073 or book via our website.

Ladies AGM: The AGM will take place on Wednesday, 11th of November at 8 pm.

Boyle Golf Club

Well done to Team Heslin who won the Winter League with a total score of 346 points. Team Gaffney were 2nd and Team McGuinn were 3rd. The winning team was Sean Heslin, Michael Reid, Tish Perry, Sandra McCrann, Michael Rush and Ted Hestor. Presentation of prizes takes place this weekend.

The weekly 9-hole was won by Seamus Gallagher with 24 points, 2nd was Owen Garvin on 23 points and 3rd was Charlie O’Donnell.

This coming weekend, taking place over Saturday, Sunday and Monday, is a Golf Classic in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society. The format is a four-team rumble at €100 per team, including meal. A coffee morning and cake sale will take place in the clubhouse on the Saturday.

A raffle will also run over the weekend with prizes including tickets for Leinster v Connacht in the RDS on New Year’s Day. Full details on noticeboard.

The weekly 9-hole runs from Monday to Saturday.

Carrick-on-Shannon Golf Club

Ladies: Every Tuesday is Open Day. We look forward to welcoming you and hope you enjoy your game.

Winter Alliance: The Captains for this year’s alliance are Frances Molloy and Mary Molloy. The Alliance will run on the first Saturday of every month starting on November 7th.

Beginner Ladies Hamper: Beginner ladies 3-hole Hamper Competition is now running. Pay once-off entry fee of €5 and play holes 1, 2 and 3 as often as you like between now and December 12th.

Castlerea Golf Club

The results of last Sunday’s Men’s Competition, sponsored by Paul Lafferty Auctioneer are – 1st: Paulo Hayden, 42 points; 2nd: Kieran Kenny, 42 points; Cat. 1: Tony Mitchell, 38 points; Cat. 2: Gerry O’Gara, 39 points and Cat. 3, Johnny Mahoney, 42 points.

Congratulations to young Odhran Costello who had a fantastic score of 46 points. This is a great achievement for a junior golfer and it reflects the efforts made in promoting junior golf.

The winner of the Ladies Competition, the Audrey O’Donoghue Cup, was Deirdre Hawkshaw with 36 points. This is her first success as a novice golfer and her win is an inspiration for all the other beginners.

Next Sunday’s competition is sponsored by Doyle’s Centra.

The dates for the Ladies Club and Men’s Club AGM’s are Thursday 29th and Friday 30th October respectively, both at 8 pm in the Clubhouse.

Roscommon Golf Club

The winner of Sunday’s competition, sponsored by the Roscommon Herald, was John Carr with 44 points.

Enda Daly was in second place with 42 points, Ken Kearney won the gross prize with 38 points and Paul McNally was in third place with 41 points.

The winner of the ladies’ competition, also sponsored by the Roscommon Herald, was Carmel Walker with 40 points. Sinead Benedetti was in second place with 39 points (back 9) and Kay Ruane was in third place, with 39 points also.

Ken Kearney won the Open Friday competition with 38 points. Geraldine Hoban was the winner of the ladies 9-hole weekly competition with 21 points and Margaret Egan was in second place with 19 points (back 6).

The winner of the Over 55’s competition on Thursday was Charlie McDonnell and John O’Donnell was in second place. June Halliday won the ladies’ competition and Mary O’Gara was in second place, Mary Mullen came third and Nuala Costello was in fourth place.

Members are reminded that the AGM will take place in the clubhouse at 8 pm this Sunday and will be preceded by the AGM’s of the Ladies Club and the Men’s Club at 6 pm. The usual Open Day takes place on Friday and this Sunday’s 18 stableford competition is sponsored by J.J. Harlow’s Bar (Caitlin McConn) while the ladies’ competition is sponsored by Comfy Café.

THE WAITING GAME

Pearses’ famine is greatest, but Clann to end 19-year wait?

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC Final: Clann na nGael -v- Padraig Pearses on Sunday in Dr Hyde Park at 4.30 pm

Few people would have predicted that these teams would have qualified for the county senior final this year, but, like two good racehorses, they are coming into form at just the right time and both have legitimate claims to take the Fahey Cup home on Sunday.

Those of us who are old enough to remember it will recall a time when Clann na nGael were lords of all they surveyed in Roscommon club football. (For example, Roscommon People columnist Tony McManus won a total of 14 county senior medals!).

But time has moved on, and it is 1997 since they were in a final. None of the players who will line out on Sunday have ever played in a county senior final, never mind win one. Even more remarkable is the fact that Padraig Pearses have never won a Roscommon senior football championship title.

It’s not as if the club have been in the doldrums over the years either. They went down to intermediate ranks for one year but bounced back immediately and for the past 40 years they have been at or near the top of the Roscommon club football scene and have contested many finals, without ever managing to get over the line.

In fact one recalls in 2012, the season in which St Bridid’s went on to win the All-Ireland title: Padraig Pearses almost caused the shock of the year, with Brigid’s scraping through by a single point in Kiltoom.

Both of Sunday’s finalists have been slow to get into form this year. Pearses appointed Shane Curran as manager at the start of the year and he imposed a more defensive-style game on his side, with a reliance on counter-attacking. It had limited success early on but it took a while to bed in.

However it all came together in the semi-final when they blew a fancied Roscommon Gaels away, playing some great football. A repeat of that performance on Sunday next could see Pearses end their famine.

Pearses have some super players, a lot of whom have county experience. Davy Murray has had a great year at corner-back and the Dalys, Niall, Conor and Ronan, will all have huge roles to play, with Conor and Niall probably starting at midfield, with Niall in a roving role. Niall Carty has been troubled by injury this year but he has made a huge contribution to the Pearses effort.

It’s a real team effort with Pearses. Anthony Butler, Enda Barrett, Paul Kelly and the joint team captain, Seanie Fahy, have loads of experience, while there are top class young players like Hubert Darcy, Emmet Kelly and Tom Butler.

Shane Curran needs one more big display from his charges on Sunday. They will need it too. Clann have been beaten three times in the championship this year but they have shown significant improvement in their last two games.

Paul Curran’s team is very young, with many players in the U-21 bracket. Against Castlerea and St Brigid’s they played some super football and the younger players are beginning to show the maturity that Paul Curran was hoping for all year.

Clann’s young guns, such as Fergal Lennon, Jack Connaughton, Jamie Fahy and Ultan Harney, are vital to the performance of the team. But lads like David Flynn, Graham Pettit, Ronan Gavin and Matt Scally have all been there for a while in the Clann jersey too.

But the key players on Sunday for Clann could well be their most experienced men, Donie Shine, Cathal Shine and team captain Johnny Dunning. Against St Brigid’s, Cathal and Donie dominated the midfield exchanges and they will have to do that on Sunday again.

Johnny Dunning has huge experience and his leadership role will be crucial. It is a very difficult game to call. Free-takers Donie Shine for Clann, and Emmet Kelly and Seanie Fahy for Pearses, will have crucial roles to play.

I am not ruling out a draw here and I know that many neutrals would love to see Pearses winning their first ever title. Some of the finest GAA people that I have met over the years have served Pearses and they surely deserve to win a senior football title.

But there is no sentiment in sport and Clann have a 20-year hunger to satisfy too. I am leaning towards Clann, by a point or two.

Match odds: Clann na nGael 4/6; Padraig Pearses 6/4; Draw 7/1.

People Sport Prediction: Clann na nGael.

Four Roads to seal it on Saturday?

Kepak Roscommon SHC Final Replay: Four Roads v Padraig Pearses in Athleague on Saturday at 4 pm

It was interesting to note the reactions of both sides after Sunday’s drawn County Hurling Final.

  Micheal Mulry, the Four Roads boss, was philosophical, although one sensed that he felt that his side had left this one behind them on the day. Joint manager Robbie Donoghue felt that Pearses had played very poorly and was thrilled to have got another chance this weekend.

  So the questions are: Can Pearses improve on last Sunday’s display? Or will Four Roads make no mistake this time?

  Following a poor first half, Four Roads could have been five or six points ahead at half-time. They missed two goal chances and hit five bad wides, which is uncharacteristic.  Pearses were able to hang on, and with Tomas Sweeney excellent from frees, they were always in touch.

  The introduction of Johnny Coyne looked to have been the key move of the game and he was superb when introduced for Four Roads. But all credit to Pearses, who stuck to their guns and got an unlikely draw in the end.

  On the Four Roads side, Noel Fallon is a superb net-minder and his worth was emphasised last Sunday with some super saves and some mighty puck-outs. Mark McLoughlin, Shane Curley and Micheal Kelly were excellent in defence and Micheal Kelly’s influence was once again felt, with two inspirational points from him.

  Johnny Moran and Cathal Dolan were excellent at midfield and Cathal Dolan, in particular, was outstanding. Eamon Mulry, David Dolan and sub Johnny Coyne were sharp up front.

  Micheal Mulry and his selectors will be under pressure to start Johnny Coyne, but I would be of the view that he makes an even bigger impact coming off the bench.

  As for Pearses, they will surely have to play better in this replay. Padraig Dolan got the nod last weekend in goals and he will retain his place. David Loughnane, Aidan Sweeney and Gavin Downey will lead the defence. At midfield, Tomas Seale did well last weekend but Pearses will want to do better in this sector.

  Up front we saw flashes of brilliance from the young guns, Adam Finnerty and Daniel Glynn, while Tomas Sweeney was outstanding from the placed ball. Cathal Kelly is a hugely influential performer for Pearses and one wonders where his best position is.

  Pearses were very disappointed at how they played in the drawn game and if they up their performance levels a number of notches they will be in with a chance, but Four Roads will know that they should have won last Sunday. They missed too many chances and that is unlikely to happen again.

  It promises to be another humdinger in Athleague and there will not be a lot in it but once again it is hard to look beyond the champions. I take them to collect their 8th title in a row at the second opportunity.

Match odds: Four Roads 4/6; Padraig Pearses 13/8; Draw 10/1.

Prediction: Four Roads.

 

My heart says Clann, but…

This Sunday we have an eagerly-awaited county senior final between great southern rivals Clann na nGael and Padraig Pearses.

It must have been very frustrating for Padraig Pearses over the years watching the dominance of their neighbours Clann and St Brigid’s while they failed to win a county title. But destiny seems to be saying that this could well be their year.

Both teams struggled in the early rounds and were probably adjusting to new management set-ups both produced outstanding semi-final performances. Clann will claim that they did the really difficult bit, accounting for the recent kingpins of Roscommon club football, St Brigid’s, and the will be anxious to finish the job off by taking the county title. History and pedigree are definitely on the side of Clann.

Having said that, Pearses look a team that are a bit more mature than their opponents. They have five players who have loads of county senior experience including the county captain, Niall Carty.

You can also throw in the fact that Conor Daly was arguably Roscommon’s best player in the league, and was sorely missed in our two championship defeats against Sligo and Fermanagh.

Niall Daly has been a huge driving force for Pearses at midfield and Hubert Darcy looks an outstanding prospect up front, something that has been badly needed by this Pearses team. This is the best Padraig Pearses side for some time and they look ready-made to deliver a county title to the club for the first time.

Clann on the other hand are a team that are progressing. The team is largely based around their outstanding minor teams of the last two years and last year’s U-21 side. They are very young squad and they may have difficulty in crossing the line in their first county senior final.

But I have no doubt that they are a team that are on the way up. The team is built around the huge midfield partnership of Donie and Cathal Shine and a very youthful and exciting half-back line.

When weighing up who might win this title it is hard to call it. My heart says Clann but I get the vibes from around the county that this might be Pearses’ year. Pearses have a great chance to win their first ever county title on Sunday.

Wishing Kevin and Fergal well

I haven’t been here for a couple of weeks, and I want to now take this opportunity to wish Kevin McStay and Fergal O’Donnell the best of luck in their new roles as joint managers of the Roscommon senior football team.

They face a huge task to keep Roscommon in Division One of the league because the competition there will be miles ahead of the standard of opposition that Roscommon faced in Division Two last year.

On the back of a poor championship campaign this season they face a huge task in the years ahead to lift Roscommon, but the vast majority of Roscommon GAA people are happy with this appointment and wish them well.

Player power

I must say I was surprised at the player uprising in Mayo. Here were a team who were a fraction away from an All-Ireland final but who were still prepared to come out strongly against their management.

Contrast that with some of the Roscommon players who came out in support of John Evans after what was a very disappointing championship campaign for them. I am not in favour of player power, but lads who put their lives on hold to play county football must have a say with the County Board if they think that the adequate support for their efforts is not there.

As far as I can see the Mayo panel want James Horan back in charge. I was also surprised to see what happened with the Galway hurlers and Anthony Cunningham. Everyone knows that managing Galway senior hurlers is a very difficult task due to the intense club rivalry.

But it seemed to me that Anthony Cunningham was doing a good job. It must be upsetting for him that one of his own club men and one of the younger players that he introduced to championship hurling went against him also. Interesting times ahead in both counties.

No GAA clash with World Cup

I have to say that it was great to see that common sense prevailed this coming weekend (including in Roscommon) with the timing of county finals to ensure that people can watch Ireland play in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

This World Cup has captivated the Irish people, who are watching in massive numbers. The atmosphere at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff last weekend could even be experienced through the TV coverage and was just fantastic.

It is a source of great sadness that we have probably seen the end of Paul O’Connell in an Irish jersey. He has been an icon in Irish sport but I think that the Irish players will now rally to the cause and give a big performance on Sunday.

Can Joe’s heroes march on?

Several far more talented sports journalists than I have written many fine words about the Irish rugby team’s performance against France last Sunday. If we were never to win another major rugby game I will never forget what we saw on our TV screens last Sunday.

  Has there ever been a more heroic performance from an Irish team in any sport? If there has been, I cannot remember it.

  I presume that Joe Schmidt has been working on our squad for a long time before the tournament started. The strength of the squad was shown on Sunday last when Ian Madigan, Ian Henderson, Chris Henry and others came into what was a massively intense game – and all fitted in seamlessly.

  I still don’t think we have a team good enough to win the World Cup but at this stage it is knockout and anything can happen.

  We have seen that the All Blacks, France and South Africa have not played well at one stage or another, although South Africa have made a huge recovery after being beaten by Japan in their first game. It would be ironic if they were to go on and win it out.

  Australia look the best team in it so far and we will be meeting them if we can manage to beat Argentina next Sunday. But that’s for another day. It was incredible last Sunday that when Paul O’Connell had to go off we saw Ian Henderson coming on and playing brilliantly. It was like the baton was being passed on from the older generation to the new generation and Henderson did not let us down. Neither did Ian Madigan. In fairness to the guy, he has been living in Johnny Sexton’s shadow for years. He got his chance on Sunday and he took it with both hands. It was incredible stuff. In fact Ireland totally dominated the second half and could have won by even more.

  Now we go on to face Argentina on Sunday and they will offer a very different challenge than France. It will be another big week for Joe Schmidt. The Irish players and management knew well going into the French game, that if they were not all ready for the battle that we would not have won. This week Ireland will be expected to beat Argentina and complacency will be an enemy, like it was in the run-up to the game against Italy.

  Irish rugby fans will not need to be reminded that we don’t have a good record against Argentina in World Cups and make no mistake, they (Argentina) will be looking on this game as one that they can win. It will be a very, very tough game. But I like Joe Schmidt and the way that he has got his team ready for this World Cup. Injuries could cost us in the long term but we have a great chance of getting to a World Cup semi-final for the first time ever and I think that we can do it.

  I presume that Australia and South Africa will beat Scotland and Wales respectively, but the match between New Zealand and France might not be straightforward for the All Blacks. Even though they were well beaten by Ireland, France are the one team that the All Blacks hate playing against. It could go to the wire.

  It has been a magnificent World Cup so far. It has been very well organised, with full houses at every game. Even the games between the so-called lesser nations have been very entertaining. The clash last Saturday between Samoa and Scotland was one of the most exciting games of rugby that I have ever seen. It was brilliant to watch.

  Just a word too about the TV3 coverage of the World Cup. Matt Cooper is a good host and his guests, particularly Keith Wood, have been on the money too, but the length of the ad breaks is a joke. Last Sunday during the Ireland v France game the ad break at half-time was 14 minutes and the panel spoke about the game for exactly one minute and forty-two seconds. Surely there has to be a limit on the amount of ads that you can have in any break? I know that TV3 have to make hay while the sun shines, but there has to be a limit!

 

Downey, but not out!

Gavin’s last-gasp goal denies champs and keeps Pearses’ hopes alive

Padraig Pearses’ joint manager Robbie Donoghue said his team are “very, very lucky” to still be in contention for the County Senior Hurling title after a goal in the 4th minute of injury-time dramatically secured an unlikely draw for the underdogs against eight-in-a-row chasing Four Roads on Sunday.

  Wing half-back Gavin Downey’s goal at the death stunned Four Roads, who really should have had another title back in the trophy cabinet by then. While a draw was an excellent result for Pearses, they had underperformed against champions who were themselves unusually wasteful in front of the posts.   

  “We are very, very lucky to be still there” Donoghue told the Roscommon People. “Our lads kept going and we were always hoping that we would get a chance and when it came we took it, thank God.”

  Donoghue said Pearses played much better in the second half but he was mystified about their overall performance.

  “We weren’t happy with the way we played overall. I can’t put my finger on it, but we just didn’t play to our ability today. Our lads are very disappointed at how we played today. I don’t know what happened us but our heads weren’t right today and we are delighted to have got out with a draw.”

  A philosophical Four Roads manager Micheal Mulry said that the late goal was “unfortunate” but he was delighted that his side will have another tilt at the title on Saturday next.

  This was a county final where a lack of quality was compensated for by that  thrilling finish. On a day borrowed from a Mediterranean holiday resort, the first half was a very poor affair pot-marked with loads of handling errors and poor shot selection.

  Four Roads were the better side but they shot some bad wides, and with Tomas Sweeney on fire from placed balls, Pearses were always able to stay in touch.

  The second half was a much better spectacle. All the chat at half-time was about Johnny Coyne, and when Four Roads would bring on the brilliant attacker. We didn’t have to wait too long as in the 34th minute he arrived as a sub for Brian Lawlor – and he didn’t disappoint either. Coyne scored three superb points from play and was responsible for at least two more as the champions turned the screw.

  Micheal Kelly and Shane Curley were doing the business further back the field. When the champions went four points ahead with eight minutes to go, they looked set to take home the Mickey Cunniffe Cup yet again. But Pearses hung on doggedly. Tomas Sweeney was unerring from the placed ball and we saw flashes of brilliance from their young guns, Adam Finnerty and Daniel Glynn.

  It was a familiar story though as we saw three minutes’ injury-time signalled on the board. Conor Coyle had edged the champions into a three-point lead. Four Roads were repelling the Pearses challenge. The time ticked over the three minutes. Pearses were awarded a free. Tomas Seale (who had a great game) lobbed the ball into the danger area. It was one last throw of the dice. There were at least 25 players standing between the 20-metre line and the goal. Gavin Downey reacted quickest and flicked it past Noel Fallon. The huge Pearses following erupted. On the puck-out it was over and we will do it all over again on Saturday next.

  Pearses had got out of jail. Four Roads will have to wait at least another week to see if they can make it eight titles in a row. Pearses will surely feel they will never play as bad again.

   Robbie Donoghue will certainly be hoping that’s the case.

  “We will need to up the intensity levels big-time for the replay” he acknowledged. 

  Four Roads manager Micheal Mulry said: “A three-point lead is dangerous and never enough in a hurling match. We hurled well in the second half and Johnny (Coyne) did really well for us when he came on. But look, we are still in the championship. I said to the lads that we are not down at all and we will be ready again at the weekend for the replay.”

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