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Sean Powers Sligo to victory

Electric Ireland Connacht MFC Semi-Final

Sligo 1-14 Roscommon 3-5

Roscommon’s great run at minor level over the past decade came to a halt at Kiltoom last Friday night when Sligo progressed to the Connacht Final after a three-point win against the home side.

It had been a one-sided but strange game which Roscommon almost undeservedly pulled out of the fire. Roscommon are now out of the championship following this defeat.

Indeed the fact that there is no second chance for Roscommon was commented upon by Sligo manager Aidan Rooney who graciously said the Rossies deserve another bite at the championship cherry. “I have great sympathy for Roscommon, who are a good team. It is very unfair that they are out after one game. There should be a second chance in the Connacht Minor Football Championship and it is something that we will all have to take a look at for the future.”

While admitting that Roscommon were very disappointed at the final whistle – having been seven points down, a scoring spree brought them level going into injury-time – manager Jimmy Gacquin conceded that the best team had won.

“We are very disappointed. When we drew level in the last minute we thought we might get a winner, but Sligo are a fine team. We were beaten by a better side.” Gacquin praised his team. “I’ll give our lads great praise for coming back from seven points down. They could have hung their heads but they never stopped trying.

“Looking back we were probably a bit too defensive in the first half. We were leaking goals all year so we were guarding against that today. To concede after we had scored a goal was crucial and it was a bad goal to let in.”

When you hear that it took three injury-time points from Sligo to secure victory, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a thrilling and closely-fought semi-final, but nothing could be further from the truth as Sligo were by far the better team and they totally deserved their win.

Sligo dominated from the throw-in, and despite shooting some bad wides, they were 0-7 to 0-3 ahead after 30 minutes of play.

Sean Power, Darragh Cummins, Nathan Rooney, Patrick O’Connor and Kyle Cawley were prominent as the Yeats County surged ahead. Roscommon were only playing in fits and starts and all they had to show for their first 30 minutes were three frees from Hubert Darcy (2) and Cian McKeon.

Then in first half injury-time the game burst into life. In the second minute of time added on Richard Hughes blasted home a spectacular goal for Roscommon after a great pass from Hubert Darcy. On the kick-out Sligo swept down the field and Kyle Cawley fisted Nathan Rooney’s pass beyond James Fetherstone. Two goals within 30 seconds, and we could have had a third, as from the kick-out, Brian Stack burst through the Sligo defence and his shot came back off a post.

Half-time score: Sligo 1-7 Roscommon 1-3.

Roscommon’s cause was not helped when one of their stars, Luke Carty, who came on as a sub in the 17th minute, was black-carded 25 seconds after he was introduced, for a body check on Sean Power.

The pattern of Sligo dominance continued on the restart, and with just five minutes of normal time left to play, Sligo were coasting to an easy win, leading 1-11 to 1-4.

Incredibly, Roscommon had not managed one point from play in all that time. Their only second-half point by that stage came from a Hubert Darcy free.

Then came a lightning-fast and dramatic flurry of Roscommon scores. First, sub Daniel Glynn fisted home a Michael McGloin delivery, and a minute later Conor Murray got Roscommon’s first point from play. Then in the 59th minute Brian Stack burst through for a great goal. It was hard to believe it, but the scores were now level at 1-11 to 3-5, heading into the three minutes of injury-time.

However Sligo steadied themselves, and shot three great points from play from subs Rian Kennedy and Cathal Herron, and impressive midfielder Darragh Cummins.

It was no more than they deserved and now they meet Galway in the Connacht Final in Hyde Park on July 19th. Roscommon will rue the 30 times that they gave away possession (from the official stats) and will be the first to admit that they were second best to a Sligo team who were slicker, stronger and better in front of the posts all through.

Relieved Sligo manager Aidan Rooney told People Sport: “We are delighted to get across the line and reach the final. What you saw there today shows you what championship football is like. We had the game won two or three times but Roscommon kept coming back. Our response at the end was superb after Roscommon levelled the scores. The three points we got were super and a great sign of the resilience of this team.”

Sligo: Eamon Kilgannon; Brian Mahon, Eddie McGuinness, Mark Dowd; Nathan Mullen, Finnian Cawley, Sean Power (0-1); Darragh Cummins (0-2), Paul Kilcoyne (0-1); Liam Gaughan (0-2, 1 free), Nathan Rooney, Sean Carabine (0-1); Kyle Cawley (1-3), Patrick O’Connor (0-1), Michael Gordon. Subs: Cathal Herron (0-2) for Carabine (34), Aaron Kearns for Mahon (black card 46), Rian Kennedy (0-1) for Gaughan (53), Kevin Banks for F Cawley (black card 63).

Roscommon: James Fetherstone; John Donohue, Aidan Dowd, Damien Duff; Richard Hughes (1-0), Mark Richardson, Luke Kelly; Gearoid Keenan, Conor Murray (0-1); Michael McGloin, Brian Stack (1-0), Kieran Whyte; Conor Payne, Hubert Darcy (0-3, all frees), Cian McKeon (0-1, free). Subs: Luke Carty for Kelly (17), Matthew Bourke for Carty (black card 17), Daniel Glynn (1-0) for McKeon (43), Ciaran Lennon for Whyte (51). Referee: Liam Devenney (Mayo).

Hurling treble bill in Woodmount

SHC: Roscommon Gaels v Padraig Pearse’s (2 pm) in Woodmount on Sunday

Both sides had great wins last weekend. The Gaels were impressive against Tremane and Cillian Egan is playing some great hurling at the moment. However this looks a home banker after Pearse’s win against Four Roads last weekend. Prediction: Padraig Pearse’s.

SHC: Four Roads v Tremane (3.30 pm) in Woodmount on Sunday

Tremane looked very weak against Roscommon Gaels and are without a number of key players. Four Roads will want to atone for their loss to Pearse’s last weekend. This should be straightforward. Prediction: Four Roads.

SHC: St Dominic’s v Oran (5 pm) in Woodmount on Sunday

This is Dominic’s first game and they will be hoping for a win here against the odds. However Oran look a little too strong for them and they should win – but this will be a tight game. Prediction: Oran.

Golf News

Boyle Golf Club

Open Week at Boyle Golf Club takes place throughout this week. Thursday is Men’s 18-hole, with a 9-hole for the ladies.

Friday is a 9-hole for ladies and gents. Saturday is a Fourball better ball with an added prize for best family team and the week finishes on Sunday with an 18-hole for ladies and gents.

Other upcoming events at the club are the Traders Weekend on Saturday/Sunday July 18th/19th, Boyle Arts Festival Open on Saturday July 25th, Men’s Captains Weekend on Thursday July 30th-Monday August 3rd, Roscommon Herald Fore club Alliance Weekend on Saturday/Sunday August 15th/16th and ‘Last Man Standing’ on Saturday August 22nd.

The Club are holding a series of six coaching sessions for beginners/new members commencing on Wednesday July 15th from 6.30-7.30 pm.

Carrick-on-Shannon Golf Club

Open Day continues every Tuesday. We look forward to welcoming you. With over 40 teams playing, it was a busy weekend.

The event included two competitions and the winning combination of Maureen Egan, Ann Campbell, Siobhan Talbot and Phil McWeeney took both the Ladies First Prize and the Yellow Ball Competition.

Ann Campbell, clearly on winning form, also won Nearest the Pin, while the longest drive was won by Dolores Mulvey.

Last weekend Renee Dolan returned a fantastic net of 68 to claim first prize. There are more great competitions ahead this month finishing with Captain’s Prize to Ladies on July 26th. This week we have the inaugural Di Vino’s Restaurant Stroke, followed by Cox’s Pharmacy Stroke next week.

Castlerea Golf Club

Results of Men’s Competition sponsored by Padraic Newman Menswear – 1st Michael Doyle with 43 points; 2nd Ronan Cahill with 41 points; Cat. 1 Paul Glynn with 39 points; Cat. 2 Patrick O’Connor Junior with 38 points; Cat. 3 Tony O’Keeffe with 41 points. Next Sunday’s competition is sponsored by Hester’s Golden Eagle and the Ladies competition on Tuesday 14th July is the Eileen McKeon Memorial.

Well done to the Cecil Ewing team who had a great win over Portumna by a margin of 3.5 to 1.5. Congratulations to Leona Maguire on finishing second in the Ladies European Masters. She is the number one amateur in the world. As Honorary life member of Castlerea Golf Club we compliment her on this achievement and wish her all the best for the future. Good luck to our Junior Cup team who play next weekend in the qualifiers in Athlone.

Roscommon Golf Club

Roscommon Golf Club has just hosted a very successful Open Week with large entries in every competition.

Well done to our Ladies’ Junior Foursomes Team who beat Ballinasloe in Mountbellew on Saturday and we wish them well in the next round.

Congratulations to our Miele Fourball Team who defeated Tuam in the quarter-final on Sunday and are through to the semi-final. Our Fred Daly team did us proud in the semi-final of the Fred Daly Plate in Athlone Golf Club when they gave a close run to Ballinrobe.

This is a great achievement when all of our youngsters will still be eligible for this U-18 boys competition for the next four years! The team consisted of Thomas Higgins, Alan Connaughton, Cian O’Connor, Kevin Connaughton, Joe Finnegan and the reserve was Fionn Hoare and Michael Costello was their convenor.

Roscommon Golf Club is delighted to welcome the cream of Ireland’s young golfers for the prestigious Connacht U-18 Boys Open Championship which takes place during the week.

Hopkins stars

Liberty Insurance Junior Championship Round 1

Limerick 2-9 Roscommon 3-6

Roscommon Junior camogie team came away from Croagh, Limerick with a draw in the first round of the championship after a keenly-contested game.

A goal by Kelley Hopkins before half-time left Roscommon in the driving seat, 1-4 to 0-2 ahead. Limerick started the second half in determined fashion and began to reduce Roscommon's lead. A last-minute free secured a draw for the home team.

Roscommon’s next game is away to Dublin on Sunday. Time and venue to be confirmed.

Roscommon: Caroline Connaughton; Carmel Killeen, Niamh Farrell, Catriona Morris; Edel Gately, Siobhan Coyle, Joanne Beattie; Susan Spillane (0-1), Kelley Hopkins (1-4); Rachael Fitzmaurice, Annette McGeeney (0-1), Rebecca Brennan; Claire Curley, Margaret Fannon, Fiona Connell (2-0). Subs: Michaela Fallon, Sheila Carney, Maeve Brennan, Niamh Conway, Caroline Gunning, Aisling Byrne, Caoilfhionn Cox, Noeleen McCormack, Eala Coyle, Niamh Coyle.

Meet and Greet County team

On Friday, 10th July Roscommon County Board will be hosting a Meet and Greet with the Roscommon County Junior team at 8 pm in Athleague. All are welcome to attend and clubs are encouraged to send their underage players. It will be preceded by the U-8 Blitz.

‘TV or not TV’ – that is the question!

When Meath referee David Gough (pictured) dished out a straight red card to Cavan’s Tomas Corr after the teams emerged after half-time last Saturday, the move was almost unprecedented.

  There’s no doubt that the referee had

rightfully dismissed a player whom Cavan tried to take off at the interval, but there was a sense of mystery about the whole thing.

  Why hadn’t the referee taken action in the seconds after Corr struck out at Ultan Harney just before half-time? Play did continue after all.

  Clearly if Gough had seen the incident and considered it worthy of a red card, he would have acted there and then.

  Assuming he didn’t see it, how was it brought to his attention?

  There has been speculation (including from the Cavan camp) that the referee could perhaps have seen television punditry in his quarters during the half-time break.

  Clearly they were worried in the Cavan camp, because they tried to substitute Corr at half-time, although they have explained this by citing an injury.

  Events really turned bizarre when Corr came out for the second half and sat on the subs bench (having been subbed, as far as his management were concerned).

  However before play resumed referee Gough duly summoned Corr back on to the field of play – and immediately sent him off for the earlier altercation with Harney. (Corr had to return to the pitch to ‘receive’ the red card; that’s the rules!).

  It was certainly a bizarre episode. Many in the crowd, and indeed watching it at home, were mystified as to what had unfolded.

  Did officials retrospectively fill Gough in on the striking before the half-time whistle? If that’s what  happened, it would be an extremely unusual sequence of events, as the moment had passed (i.e. the play had continued up to the half-time break).

  Or did, as some have suggested, the referee happen to see clear evidence of the striking on a television during the RTE half-time coverage?

  Such is the nature of these things, there’s no way of us definitively  clarifying the position.

  What we do understand is that referees aren’t permitted access to TV footage in order to take retrospective action. (We are not suggesting that’s what happened in this instance).

  Whatever promted Gough’s decision, it was the correct call.

  But what would be so bad about encouraging referees to watch TV coverage there and then? Of course 

I’m not for one moment advocating the use of TV footage at every GAA ground in the country, as it would not be feasible, but certainly at televised games there is no reason why officials shouldn't be able to use whatever means are possible in order to help get the decision right.

  There were many controversial decisions over the weekend which had a major bearing on GAA ties, e.g. the dubious penalty award to Kerry against Cork and a ‘goal’ which appeared to go wide in the Limerick and Westmeath hurling game – decisions which shaped the complexion and perhaps outcome of proceedings.

  Whatever led to his retrospective action, Gough got the decision correct in Cavan and the home team were rightfully reduced to 14 men and Roscommon won the game – case closed. Despite the controversial nature of the dismissal, it showed a level of assertiveness on the part of an official clearly totally focused on making the right call.

 It was a decision which went a long way to determining the outcome of the game, but at least unlike so many other occasions in the past where teams were aggrieved, this time it was the right one.



Evans should accept criticism and debate

Last Saturday evening Roscommon scored what was a very satisfying win against a moderate Cavan side at Kingspan Breffni Park.

I must say that I was surprised and disappointed by John Evans’ comments on the national airwaves after the game. He seems to think that everyone in Roscommon was against him and the team.

I saw and heard all the comments after the Sligo game and no one was criticising any of the team. Indeed every Roscommon supporter appreciates the quality of the team and also the huge sacrifices that the players are making on behalf of Roscommon GAA.

The only things that were questioned after the Sligo match were the team selection, and the lack of a visible game plan. Both these issues were dealt with in a fair manner and why John Evans got so hot under the collar is baffling to me. When one takes on the role of a county team manager one should expect criticism and debate about team selection, substitutions and tactics.

I am sure Eamon Fitzmaurice will take flak for what happened to Kerry in the Munster final but I doubt that he will be shouting on the national airwaves. Back to the game itself and there were some fine individual performances and some great score-taking from Roscommon. I have to say that Ultan Harney was superb from start to finish. He won a lot of hard ball and always seemed to take the right option. There were also some fine displays from Neil Collins, David Keenan, Donie Shine, Conor Daly, Seanie McDermott and Enda Smith, especially in the second half.

There is no doubt that we have a huge crop of quality players emerging and this panel seems to be getting stronger. One aspect that worried me last Saturday was our kick-outs. We don’t seem to be able to find our men with the kick-outs and that is essential in the modern game.

This Sunday the 12th of July we travel to Brewster Park in Enniskillen for what is sure to be a tough match against Fermanagh. They are well coached By Peter McGrath and have made progress under his stewardship.

But it is a game that Roscommon are well capable of winning and I expect that we will get through after a tough battle.

A great Munster Final

Last Sunday the Munster football final was a great match and a great advertisement for Gaelic Football.

It is a pity that a poor refereeing decision was probably the defining moment of the game. After what happened against Mayo last year one might have thought that Kerry might not get too many more favourable decisions from the man in the middle but it looks like all referees are afraid of losing favour in the Kingdom.

That aside, Cork will probably rue a missed opportunity. It is doubtful if Kerry will play as bad again, even though their defence looks porous.

Eamon Fitzmaurice will be glad of a second chance after his strange decision to substitute Brian Sheehan which might well have cost Kerry the match when James O’Donoghue missed that late 45.

Also, the dropping of The ‘Gooch’ Cooper does not seem to have worked and it seems to have upset the overall balance of the team. I am sure that Kerry will learn from this scare and that we will see a better Kerry team the next day.

This weekend…

This weekend sees a lot of action in hurling and football. There is no doubt that Westmeath take on a massive challenge when they play Dublin in the Leinster final. They have done extremely well to have got this far but in reality they face a massacre in Croke Park.

In the qualifiers Galway face a tough task against Armagh, but this Galway team will improve after their match against Mayo. Kevin Walsh appears to be a good manager and I expect Galway to progress.

Armagh appear to have gone backwards under Kieran McGeeney this year. I would also expect wins this weekend for Kildare, Derry, Tipperary and Tyrone.

The Munster Hurling Final could be a cracking match. Waterford have improved all year under their very shrewd manager Derek McGrath.

He also possesses a lot of quality players. But I fancy Tipperary to win the All-Ireland this year and I think they will be victorious on Sunday.

Focussed footballers back on track

The most important thing about last Saturday’s win against Cavan was that Roscommon actually got back on track after the disaster against Sligo.

  The attitude of the players was right and you could see from the very start that Roscommon  were up for the game.

  Without Niall Carty, Donal Ward, Mark Healy, Cathal Shine and Senan Kilbride, the players who were chosen certainly stepped up to the mark and their scoring total of 3-17 was excellent.

  Neil Collins, Seanie McDermott and Niall Daly were excellent in defence but David Keenan really shone. It was his best outing in a Roscommon jersey for a long time.

  Elsewhere, Ian Kilbride worked very hard and it was great to see Donie Shine back in the team playing well and fully fit. Enda Smith and Cathal Cregg were also very effective, but the big plus for me was Ultan Harney, who is a class act.

  Harney can play anywhere from number 8 to number 15 and he was a top class target man inside at full-forward on Saturday. His ball-winning ability and football intelligence were among the main reasons why Roscommon won this game. It is also very encouraging to have won so handsomely without so many key players.
  However there are downsides too and it has to be pointed out that Cavan were very poor on the day. They had to play the entire second half with 14 men, yet it took Roscommon a long time to put them away. The standard of football was not high and both sides were guilty of giving the ball away time after time.

  It was a very enjoyable game to be at, but I watched the entire seventy minutes again on Sunday morning and it was not as good in review. Tomas O’Se and Dermot Earley were in the studio and they were not exactly gushing in their praise of the teams or the standard of football.

  Tommy Carr, who was co-commentator with Darragh Maloney, decided to give the man of the match award to Cathal Cregg. While Cathal played well, I don’t know what game Tommy Carr was watching because there were at least five Roscommon players more deserving of the accolade. My choice was Ultan Harney.

  The draw means that Roscommon face another away game, this time against Fermanagh. It’s a dangerous game for Roscommon in Brewster Park but it is a very winnable one.

  Fermanagh are improving – and they have a few excellent forwards – but Roscommon have enough good players to win it and progress to the last 12. One more victory and we will be playing football in August. After the display against Sligo, it would be some recovery.

  Let’s see how Sunday goes first. The Rossies will be marching on the 12th of July!




All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 2

Roscommon 3-17 Cavan 1-16

John Evans has pleaded with fans to be patient with his “wonderful” players after Roscommon footballers recovered from their much-criticised display against Sligo to defeat Cavan in their round 2 qualifier in Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday.

The Roscommon manager, thrilled with the players and the way they responded to the defeat against Sligo, rounded on the critics of the team.

“The amount of s**te that we have had to listen to in the past two weeks has been totally unfair. These lads have been working so hard and they are a wonderful bunch to work with. For God’s sake would people please ever be patient with them. Please be patient and give them breathing space. They are young and are still learning.

“There were a lot of young players out there. We went out today without our regular full-back, our centre half-back, our number one midfielder, our number one full-forward and Mark Healy too, and you still saw that Roscommon footballers have backbone and we really showed it out there today.” After that disastrous loss to Sligo in the Connacht semi-final, Roscommon got their championship campaign back on track with this well-deserved seven-point win at sunny Kingspan Breffni Park last Saturday evening.

Short several key players, Roscommon put up a big total and there were some outstanding performances on the day. It was all about getting into the next round and now Roscommon will have to travel again as they face Fermanagh in Brewster Park on Saturday next in round three.

There were many positives for John Evans out of this game. The team showed a really positive attitude and that was one thing that was missing against Sligo. Neil Collins, Seanie McDermott, David Keenan, Conor Daly, Enda Smith, Donie Shine, Cathal Cregg and Ultan Harney were all outstanding.

When you consider that Roscommon were without Mark Healy, Cathal Shine, Niall Carty and Senan Kilbride, and that Diarmuid Murtagh only came on as a sub, it is an impressive win for sure.

But before anyone gets carried away, there were flaws in this Roscommon display too. The ball was given away far too often and Roscommon struggled at midfield. Despite having numerical advantage for the entire second half it was only in the last five minutes that Roscommon pulled away.

Cavan were a poor side on the day and Roscommon will have to improve significantly if they are to trouble any of the big guns later in the championship. But with several players to return from injury and an eminently winnable game against Fermanagh on the horizon, Roscommon can regain the momentum which was lost during the poor display against Sligo.

The Roscommon defence played well and Neil Collins looked very assured at full-back against Michael Argue, while David Keenan at centre half-back had one of his best games in many a long day. Conor Daly was very effective on his return to the side and Donie Shine scored some great points. Cathal Cregg worked very hard all through and Enda Smith was on fire and he scored two great goals. Ciaran Murtagh continues to impress up front and Ultan Harney announced his arrival on to the senior stage in style in this game. He was my man of the match.

He worked like a trojan from the time the ball was thrown in. I was thrilled for the players and for the management that they went out and erased what was a very poor display against Sligo. A lot of work needs to be done but if Roscommon can get all their injured players back I see no reason why they can’t make the last 12 and maybe even the quarter-finals.

Injured players unlikely to be fit in time for Fermanagh

Roscommon manager John Evans says he is not expecting the key players who are currently out injured to be back in contention for places this weekend.

  Following their win over Cavan last Saturday, Roscommon face Fermanagh in Round 3 of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship qualifiers on Sunday. The game, in Brewster Park, Enniskillen, has a 3.30 pm throw-in time.

  Missing several key players last weekend – “the spine of the team” in Evans’ own words – the Roscommon manager is not expecting an improved bill of health. 

  Speaking to the Roscommon People on Tuesday, he said: “We had a lot of injuries last weekend and I am not expecting any of those lads to be back this weekend.

  “Diarmuid Murtagh came on and played well so he is in contention but the team will be much the same as it was last weekend.”

  Roscommon face a rapidly-improving Fermanagh in a game that will be tricky but winnable. This is the first time that the teams have ever met in the championship.

  A lot of sport at the top level comes down to mental attitude and in contrast to what we saw in Sligo, Roscommon players were well tuned in against Cavan – and, make no mistake, if Roscommon are not in a similar frame of mind this Sunday, then it will end in tears.

  Fermanagh are no world-beaters but their graph is certainly on an upward curve. They have been promoted to Division Two in the league and under the very wily Peter McGrath they have become notoriously hard to beat at home. Indeed the last time that they were beaten in Brewster Park was by Roscommon in the league in a high-scoring game over 12 months ago.

  Fermanagh beat Antrim in the championship by eight points before losing 1-20 to 0-13 against Monaghan. Then in the qualifiers they came up against Antrim again and won last Sunday by 1-21 to 0-11.

  Fermanagh have some real quality, not least their full-forward Sean Quigley who scored a very impressive total of 0-14 last Sunday against Antrim. When Roscommon played Fermanagh last he  was lethal from play and frees.

  Marty O’Brien is a very impressive wing half-back who loves to attack and he scored a fine goal last Sunday. Ryan McCluskey will be back after suspension and James McMahon is usually deployed as a sweeper. Barry Mulrone, Ryan Jones and Niall Cassidy are also good attacking players for the home side.

  Roscommon should line out close to what we saw in Cavan last weekend. Darren O’Malley will be behind Davy Murray, the very solid Neil Collins and Seanie McDermott in the full-back line. David Keenan had a stormer last weekend at centre half-back and will continue in that role with Ciaran Cafferky and Niall Daly on the wings.

  At midfield Kevin Higgins and Ian Kilbride were very effective last weekend, but Higgins needs more game-time. Up front Conor Daly, Enda Smith, Donie Shine, Ciaran Murtagh and Cathal Cregg all played well while Ultan Harney was fantastic at full-forward. It was good to see Donie Shine back close to his best last Saturday. Diarmuid Murtagh and Donie Smith are also in contention for starting spots in attack.

  This will be a very tight game but there is a huge prize for the winners and a place in the final 12 teams in the country, which would be a great achievement. While John Evans is right, and people should not get carried away, this is a very winnable match for Roscommon.

  If the players’ attitude is right there is no reason why we cannot go to Enniskillen and win. We have better players then Fermanagh and on that basis I am going for a Roscommon win by a couple of points, with a few scares along the way.

Match odds: Fermanagh 9/4; Roscommon 2/1; Draw 15/2.

Prediction: Roscommon.




Terrific Tighe denies Roscommon


TG4 Connacht Ladies IFC

Leitrim 2-12 Roscommon 0-17


A late rally from Roscommon in the final 10 minutes just fell short as Leitrim survived to reach the Connacht final against Sligo in this very entertaining game played at splendidly appointed Croghan on Sunday last.

  Two goals from Leitrim in the first half were key, and Roscommon were always playing catch-up – but they can take great heart from the spirit they showed throughout.

  The good-sized crowd were treated to a very enjoyable match with two committed teams providing plenty of entertainment.

  It was Leitrim who began best and by the 6th minute they led by 1-3 to 0-0. Aine Tighe was in commanding form for Leitrim and with Aileen Maguire blasting home a goal in the 4th minute, the visitors added points from Maguire, Tighe and Ailbe Clancy.

  Roscommon got into the game with points from Jenny Downey (2), one a free, but the Leitrim dominance was maintained throughout most of the first half, although Martina Freyne and Jenny Downey were giving the Leitrim defence plenty of problems.

  Points from the outstanding Jenny Downey (2) and Martina Freyne (2), had the lead down to three by the 29th minute. Then Leitrim struck for a second goal when Anna Conlon blasted home after more good work from Aine Tighe. Roscommon hit back with points from Jenny Downey and Jenny Higgins and at half-time the score was Leitrim 2-6 Roscommon 0-8.

  Roscommon hit the ground running early in the second half and three points from Martina Freyne and Jenny Downey (2 frees) saw the home side come to within a point of their neighbours. But in the nature of this game every time Roscommon threatened to assume control Leitrim were able to respond, and they rattled over four points without reply by the 44th minute, three of those coming from Aine Tighe.

  By the 53rd minute Leitrim led by 2-11 to 0-13 and looked set for a comfortable win. But Roscommon staged a desperate late surge. Jenny Downey and Jenny Higgins pointed to narrow the gap to two by the 56th minute. Then Deirdre Ward lifted the siege with a good Leitrim point – but Roscommon were in control now and driving forward. Jenny Downey pointed a free and Laura Fleming scored a fine point from play, and, as injury-time ran to over three minutes, the momentum was with Roscommon. They did have one last chance but sub Laura McLoone’s shot was easily cleared by the Leitrim defence and the visitors survived. Leitrim now play Sligo in the Connacht final while Roscommon must now go down the qualifier route.

Leitrim: Michelle Guckian; Claire Beirne, Sharon Kerrigan, Roisin McHugh; Aine Heslin, Lorraine Brennan, Melissa Hewitt; Sarah McLoughlin (0-1), Anna Conlon (1-0); Deirdre Ward (0-1), Niamh Tighe (0-1), Aileen Maguire (1-1); Ailbhe Glancy (0-1), Aine Tighe (0-7, 4 frees), Carla LeGuen. Subs: Bronagh O’Rourke for Clancy (41), Emma Guckian for Maguire (51).

Roscommon: Rachel Timothy; Feena Beirne, Niamh O’Beirne, Honor Ennis; Aisling McAuliffe, Louise Tully, Sorcha Bruen; Jenny Higgins (0-2), Sinead Kenny; Siobhan Tully, Rachel Ryan, Laura Fleming (0-1); Nicola Tully, Martina Freyne (0-4), Jenny Downey (0-10, 8 frees). Subs: Jenny Conlon for Ryan (51), Laura McLoone for N Tully (51), Caoileann Beirne for Freyne (56).

Referee: Gerry Carmody (Mayo). 

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