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Dooner's weekend predictions - March 29th

 

 

Congratulations to Athlone side St. Peter’s FC who stormed to their second Roscommon & District Football League title in a row following their 3-0 win over ten man Ballymoe FC last Sunday. It was yet another exciting title race and the champions remain the team to beat in both the Challenge Cup and Premier Division Cup this year.

 

Friday, March 29th

Joe’s Bar Challenge Cup Quarter-Final

Kilkerrin United v Moore United. 8 pm           

The hosts get a hesitant nod for this one.

Prediction: Kilkerrin United

Topline Ward’s Second Division Cup Quarter-Final

Castlerea Celtic B v Manor United. 8 pm           

The Division Two champions should progress to the last four.

Prediction: Castlerea Celtic B

Saturday, March 30th

Joe’s Bar Challenge Cup Quarter-Final

Castlerea Celtic v Ballinasloe Town. 7.45 pm           

Both sides will be hoping to land some silverware this season having lost out on the league title for the second consecutive year to Athlone side St. Peter’s. I expect a fired up home side to squeeze through.

Prediction: Castlerea Celtic

Topline Ward’s Second Division Cup Quarter-Final

Shiven Rovers B v Roscommon United. 7.45 pm

The visitors will want to end the season with some silverware to their name. They should progress this weekend.

Prediction: Roscommon United

Sunday, March 31st

TP Brennan Connacht Cup Quarter-Final

Boyle Celtic v Manulla FC. 2 pm           

The impressive Roscommon & District Football League side gets our full support for this last eight tie.

Prediction: Boyle Celtic

TP Brennan Connacht Shield Quarter-Final

Mervue United B v Glen Celtic. 2 pm           

Mervue were extremely impressive winners over Roscommon United in the previous round and will be formidable opponents for Glen this weekend.

Prediction: Mervue United B

Joe’s Bar Challenge Cup Quarter-Final

St. Peter’s FC v Skyvalley Rovers B. 2 pm           

The Premier Division champions are heavy favourites.

Prediction: St. Peter’s FC

Norio’s Takeaway Division One (2 pm)

CP Ajax v Rahara Rovers

The home side gets the nod here.

Prediction: CP Ajax

Moylough ’79 v Dunmore Town

A comfortable home win.

Prediction: Moylough ‘79

St. John’s Athletic v Ahascragh United           

The Lecarrow side will be hoping to stay second this weekend.

Prediction: St. John’s Athletic

The Sporting Brief - March 29th

 

 

Handball

All-Ireland wins!

It was a good weekend for Roscommon handball with both All-Ireland finalists emerging victorious from the 40x20 Finals weekend held in Kingscourt, Co. Cavan.

  On Friday night, Lisacul’s Sean Jennings took the Masters ‘B’ singles title against Tipperary’s Brian O’Brien in two contrasting games, 21-3, 21-18. A well-earned title for Sean due to his long-term dedication to the sport.

  On Sunday, Carragh Kennedy came through a thriller to win the Girls U-15 singles title against Clare’s gallant Eimear Murphy.  

  Once the powerful St. Coman’s girl got her sidearm strokes going she eased into a straightforward 15-7 win in the first.

  A revitalized Murphy took the second 15-12 following an inspired change of serve but Carragh showed her mettle and clinched the decisive game 15-13 having been 12-3 down!

Golf

Rosney on song!

We begin our weekly golf round in Castlerea where Kieran Rosney was on song to win the recent men’s competition. Anto McCormack was second while Liam Walsh, Alan Devine and Johnny Mahoney won Classes 1 to 3 respectively.

  The winner of the ladies’ competition was Mary Kenny with 37 points while Celia Mulligan and Kay O’Loughlin finished second and third respectively.

  Lady Captain Ann Cox and men’s captain David McDermott hosted a very successful Captains’ Drive-In at Carrick last Sunday. Brian Beirne, Marie Lydon, Declan Reilly and Eithne McGuire won the competition which followed with 26 points.

  Last Saturday’s 50/50 competition was won by Frank McGrath with 24 points while second place went to Niall Roche with 22. 

  To Roscommon next, where last weekend’s 18-hole Stableford was won by Charlie Farrell with 39 points. Second place went to Patrick Farnon, best gross score to Simon Walker, third place to Seamus Ó Donghaile and junior prize to Cian O’Connor.

  The recent ladies’ 15-hole competition was won by Kate Walshe with 28 points while Tresina Smith was victorious in the recent senior competition. The men’s senior’s was won by Gerry Finn.

  Michael Tallon was given a very warm welcome back to action in Athlone. Now in his mid-80s, Michael returned from injury last weekend in the AWGS outing. Good to see you back Mick!

  The AWGS outing was won by Brendan Connolly (see above) while the veteran’s prize went to Rod Tierney.

  The Wednesday Open (20th) was won by Ian Holmes with 36 points while the 16-hole Stableford was won by Gerry Kelly with 39.

  Mary Madden was the winner of the recent 3Ts with 30 points while the Shamrock Open went to Frances McGettigan and the 97 Club to Bernie Watson.

  Finally to Boyle, where Ross Andrew and Paddy McLoughlin won the Boyle round of the Holmpatrick Cup with 45 point and go forward to represent the club in the next round.

Darts

Sunday finals

This coming Saturday the curtain will come down on the Hannon’s Hotel sponsored Roscommon Darts League, with the Cup and Shield finals taking place in Hannon’s Hotel.

  One game took place last week to determine the finals spots, with Creaton’s overcoming the Three Counties 6-0 and 10-5 on aggregate.

  Creaton’s will now face An Bothar Rua in Saturday’s Shield final at 5 pm while McDermott’s take on Molly’s in the Cup final spot sat 7 pm.

 

Seamus Duke on sport - March 29th

 

 

Rossies back to Division Two for 2020

 

I have to say that while it is extremely disappointing that Roscommon were relegated from Division One of the league last Sunday, I wasn’t surprised. Kerry needed to get a draw or a win, and having watched them a couple of times this year, they are a really good young side. It wasn’t last Sunday that Roscommon lost their place in the top tier. The damage was done before then. I know that many people have been talking about the controversial incident that cost Roscommon a point against Tyrone, but Galway and Cavan were where this campaign was lost.

  The Roscommon players and management have put in a huge effort and there were a number of heart-warming and very impressive performances during the campaign but Roscommon were simply found wanting in a number of areas.

  There was certainly a harder edge to Roscommon’s play, but despite the perception that Anthony Cunningham’s men were much stronger defensively, the team had by far the worst record in the division, which was surprising to note. Problems persist at midfield, and too much of a reliance on Conor Cox up front were also factors in this league.

  We will look back in more detail at the campaign over the next week or two but there are a number of positives as well.

  Sean Mullooly is playing well and he will solve our problem at full-back. It was also good to see Diarmuid Murtagh back in the Roscommon attack. We need a fit and firing Diarmuid Murtagh for the championship. Ciaráin Murtagh was a huge loss for the league as well. To lose our two top scorers hurt the team a lot and we need a number of scoring forwards if we hope to beat Leitrim and certainly have any chance of beating Mayo in Castlebar.

  Either way it’s Division Two football for Roscommon in 2020. It might be a better way to progress allowing the management to look at players and not to have to put as much into trying to survive like you have to do in the top division.

  The disappointment last Sunday was also somewhat lessened by the opportunity to see that Kerry forward line in action. David Clifford and Sean O’Shea are class players and a joy to watch but Stephen O’Brien was the star of the show. He turned in an unbelievable performance and covered every blade of grass on the field.

  Are Kerry good enough to win the All-Ireland? I’m not so sure about their defence to be able to answer that question in the affirmative but they have the best attack in the game, much better than Dublin’s. Remember too that James O’Donoghue and Paul Geaney have yet to come back into that Kerry attack which is a frightening prospect for any opposition. But they may just be caught out at the back. Either way it was a pleasure to watch these young Kerry stars in action. If they don’t win the All-Ireland this year then it is only a matter of time.

  For Roscommon, it’s May 12th now and a clash with a Leitrim team on the crest of a wave after their Division Four campaign. But Elvery’s MacHale Park on May 25th is where the big story will unfold.

A refreshing final pairing this Sunday!

I have nothing against the Dubs but it is refreshing to see two ‘new’ teams contesting the league final on Sunday. Mayo v Kerry should be a great game of football but I am expecting Kerry to win it. I am really looking forward to seeing that Kerry attack in the wide open spaces of Croke Park. I am expecting Kerry to win by four or five points.

  In the hurling final it would be great to see Waterford winning a national title but Limerick look a really top class side and they can make it two major trophies in a row. 

  On Saturday, there will probably be even more excitement as Leitrim supporters will come in their thousands to headquarters for the Division Four final against Derry. It’s the first time the county have played there since 2006 (Roscommon minors won an All-Ireland semi-final that day) and they will be hoping to win the title although Derry look too strong.  

  There will be a high-quality contest in Division Two when Donegal take on Meath, but I suspect that it may be more of an exhibition type game as both counties are just delighted to be back in the top division.

Delaney’s ‘step-over’ is farcical!

You have to hand it to John Delaney. When his position came under pressure last week he resigned, but promptly stepped into another position manufactured by himself and his cronies. He is one of the highest paid administrators in world football and was even able to loan his employers €100,000 when they were strapped for cash. This happened in a year when the FAI turned over €47 million as well!

  Despite this whole farce it was remarkable to hear the strong support that there is for Delaney among a lot of the grassroots people in the game. On the radio on Monday I listened to people who are lifelong volunteers who would swear by Delaney. It is true that he wielded so much power in the association that he was able to go around the country giving grants to a number of small local organisations and clubs.

  The reality is that while Delaney was earning a telephone number salary, League of Ireland clubs have been struggling desperately. The prize money for winning the season-long SSE Airtricity League Premier Division in 2017 was €110,000, less than a third of the salary that the FAI were giving to John Delaney. 

  The bottom line is that the finances of the FAI will have to be examined from top to bottom. They get millions of euro in taxpayers’ money every year and they will have to reveal what is going on and Delaney’s role in all of this.

  The grassroots game of soccer is strong in some areas but the evidence on the ground in rural counties like Roscommon is that rugby and the GAA are miles ahead in terms of coaching and looking after young players. Coaching and games development costs money. The FAI will have to start spending money further down the food chain. At the moment it’s the senior international team or nothing.

Carty and Connacht set for European action

The Champions Cup quarter-finals will take centre stage this weekend. Leinster should be too good for Ulster in the all-Irish clash and Munster will be very strongly fancied to account for Edinburgh.

  There will be huge local interest in the Challenge Cup quarter-final between Sale Sharks and Connacht. The English side were one of the teams who were too good for Connacht earlier in the competition so this is a really tough game for Andy Friend’s side. Jack Carty is now such a key man for Connacht. He is playing the best rugby of his career and followed up his Ireland debut with a brilliant cameo appearance off the bench last weekend scoring ten points to become Connacht’s record scorer in the Pro14. It will be tough but I am expecting Connacht to get to the last four.

Plenty of positives for Creggs Rugby

 

Creggs RFC have had a fantastic season. It’s just a pity that they have found one team too good for them on the field of play. But despite the losses in the league and cup to the Connemara Blacks, there is much to be positive about.

  Off the field, the developments at The Green have been spectacular and now Pat Cunningham, Ger Dowd and the coaches are developing a fine young team. It’s not much consolation this week but another season in the J1A League and in the Connacht Junior Cup might be exactly what this team needs and they will be ready to embrace success and a possible place in the AIL when it comes along.

 

Cummins stars in narrow ladies win

 

 

Lidl Ladies NFL Division Three

Roscommon 3-8

Longford 1-12

 

The Roscommon Ladies footballers once again stuttered to another narrow win in this competitive curtain raiser at Dr. Hyde Park last Sunday. The final score tells us that Roscommon won by two points but Michael Finneran and his selectors and the rest of the Roscommon players can be thankful for the contribution of goalkeeper Helena Cummins who saved at least five certain goals with stunning saves throughout the match.

  In fact, in my match notes the Michael Glavey’s net minder made at least seven last-ditch saves when players were one on one with her, which must constitute some kind of record. Thankfully for Roscommon they could get vital scores down at the other end of the field. But serious repair work needs to be done in defence if Roscommon are to feature at the business end of league or championship this year. Longford simply got in far too easily time after time.

  After only four minutes Cummins was called into action to smother two shots from Longford full-forward Aisling Greene but after that scare Roscommon settled down and it looked as if the home side would take control. Alice Kelly scored a fifth minute goal and points from Rebecca Finan (2), Katie Daly and Jenny Higgins saw Roscommon lead by 1-4 to 0-1 after fifteen minutes.

  From that point on Roscommon were under pressure but to their credit they were always able to get a score or two when they needed them and that was vital in the end. Four Longford points on the spin reduced the margin to just two in first half injury-time. Then Rebecca Finan fisted home Roscommon’s second goal and at half-time it was 2-4 to 0-5. But they needed the assistance of Helena Cummins twice more in the second quarter as she remained defiant in the face of some slick Longford play.

  Longford were edging closer in the third quarter, and despite two Roscommon points from Rebecca Finan, had reduced the margin to three (2-6 to 0-9) by the 40th minute. Then Roscommon struck for goal again, and this time it was Laura Fleming who hit the target after good work from Rebecca Finan. However, two minutes later Longford were back in the match when Anna McDonnell blasted home after Cummins had blocked her first effort. It was hard to believe that a shot had actually beaten the Roscommon goalkeeper!

  Rebecca Finan and Aoife Darcy exchanged points and with ten minutes to go the margin was still three. Darcy and Aisling Green were on target late for Longford but Niamh Feeney’s point in the 58th minute proved vital for Roscommon who held out for a two point win.

  For Roscommon, apart from the undoubted heroine and Player of the Match Helena Cummins, Jenny Higgins, Laura Fleming and Rebecca Finan were Roscommon’s best performers.

Roscommon: Helena Cummins; Honor Ennis, Sinead Kenny, Amanda McLoone; Joanne Cregg, Shauna Bannon, Niamh Feeney (0-1); Aine Ryan, Jenny Higgins (0-1); Alice Kelly (1-0), Katie Daly (0-1), Laura Fleming (1-0); Siobhan Tully, Rebecca Finan (1-5), Rachel Fitzmaurice. Subs: Rachel Brady for Ennis (15), Sheila Brady for Ryan (18), Sorcha Bruen for Kelly (44), Loiuse Brady for Tully (50), Grainne Lohan for Fleming (55), Nimah Shanagher for Higgins (58).

Longford: E Esler; R O’Farrell, L Keegan, N Darcy; C Farrell, E O’Brien, M Moore; O Nevin, M Reynolds; E Heaney (0-2), M Farrell (0-2), C Healy (0-1); A McDonnell (1-0), A Greene (0-4), A Darcy (0-3). Sub: K Shannon for Reynolds.

 

Referee: John Devlin (Galway)

 

Relegation looms after Tribal defeat

 

 

 

Allianz NFL Division One

Galway 1-17

Roscommon 1-10

It was Breffni re-visited for Roscommon footballers on Saturday last in Salthill when the Primrose and Blue never got going at all against a lively Galway side. In the end, a seven point defeat was an accurate reflection of the play in what was a very poor spectacle on a blustery and cold day.

  This latest performance must have left manager Anthony Cunningham and his selectors scratching their heads wondering how the team can play so well against Monaghan, Tyrone and Dublin and then so poorly against Cavan and Galway.

  The result now means that Roscommon must beat or draw with Kerry at Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday and hope that neighbours Mayo can do them a favour by beating Monaghan at MacHale Park, if they want to survive in the top division. Not too many people outside the county will be surprised that Roscommon’s Division One fate has come down to the final game, but having seen all their games, it would be a pity if they were relegated after putting in such an effort since the start of the year.

  But make no mistake, this was very disappointing. Roscommon won very few breaking balls in the centre of the field and the defence struggled to cope with the pace of Aintaine Ó Laoi, Shane Walsh and Danny Cummins. After Roscommon had played so poorly it was hard to believe that there were only two points between the teams by the 32nd minute (0-9 to 0-7) but a goal and two points for the home side before the half-time whistle put a completely different complexion on matters as the teams went in for the break. Now Galway led by a comfortable seven points. Roscommon were never going to bridge that gap the way they were playing, and so it proved.

  The second half of this game was a turgid affair with Galway holding on to the ball and scoring when they were able to engineer the space to do so. Roscommon did battle away but they could never get close to the home side and despite Conor Cox (by far Roscommon’s best player) rifling home a penalty in the 45th minute, Galway never looked troubled.

  Conor and Niall Daly battled incredibly hard throughout in defence although Conor was very lucky not to have been sent to the line for a rugby tackle on Shane Walsh early in the second half (he was shown yellow). Shane Killoran did well at midfield although Roscommon were second best in that department.

  Conor Cox ploughed almost a lone furrow up front for most of the match but he won some great ball and looked a threat all through. Cathal Cregg had a great first half but he faded out after the break.

   For Galway, Shane Walsh was again outstanding and he was well assisted by Aintaine Ó Laoi, Danny Cummins, John Daly, Tom Flynn and Gary O’Donnell. With Damien Comer and the Corofin players to come back into their team, this is a very accomplished Galway outfit who could yet have a say in the destination of the All-Ireland title before the year is out.

  For Roscommon, it’s down to one final throw of the dice at Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday next. The Jeckyll and Hyde nature of their performances in the league so far is a worry and the hope will be that Sunday next will be one of the good days. Maybe our ‘friends’ in Mayo will do us a favour too. It’s not over yet!

 

Galway: Ruairí Lavelle; Eoghan Kerin, Sean Andy Ó Cellaigh, David Wynne; Gary O’Donnell (0-2), John Daly (0-1), Gareth Bradshaw (0-1); Tom Flynn, Ciaran Duggan (0-1); Peter Cooke, Shane Walsh (0-4, 3 frees), Johnny Heaney; Danny Cummins (1-2), Michael Daly (0-1), Antaine Ó Laoí (0-4, 2 frees).

Subs used: Sean Kelly for O’Donnell (58), Finnian O’Laoi for Cummins (68), Padraig Cunningham for Walsh (70), Cein D’Arcy (0-1) for Flynn (72).

 

Roscommon: Colm Lavin (0-1, a ‘45); David Murray, Conor Daly(0-1), Gary Patterson; Conor Devaney, Niall Daly, Ronan Daly; Tadhg O’Rourke (0-1), Shane Killoran; Niall Kilroy, Cathal Cregg (0-1), Enda Smith (0-1); Ciaran Lennon, Conor Cox (1-4, 1-0 pen, 2 frees), Donie Smith (0-1, a free).

Subs used: Ultan Harney for E Smith (h/t), Sean Mullooly for R Daly (h/t), Aengus Lyons for D Smith (51), Colin Compton for Cregg (56), Hubert D’Arcy for Kilroy (63).

 

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)

Creggs can upset the odds this Sunday!

 

 

 

 

Connacht Junior Cup ‘A’ Final

Creggs v Connemara on Sunday at The Sportsground in Galway at 3 pm

 

 

 

Creggs’ magnificent renaissance in Connacht Rugby can take another giant step when they face old rivals the Connemara All Blacks in the Connacht Cup final on Sunday in Galway. In their two league encounters this season the Connemara men prevailed and they will start out as favourites on Sunday but Creggs will travel knowing that they are well capable of landing the title for the first time in 26 years.

  Connemara are a fine side who are very physical and who are very strong up front. Former Creggs players will remember Henry O’Toole from many battles between the two clubs in the past and on Sunday his son Henry junior will hope to inflict damage on Creggs from his position in midfield or indeed at full-back.

  But Creggs will be aiming to disrupt the Connemara game and will hope to get the ball out to their impressive runners like the Dowd brothers, James Brandon, Eoghan Coyle, Mark Brandon, and Chris Duignan to name just a few. There are injury doubts over the participation of team captain Kevin Brandon and a decision on his participation will not be made until later in the week.

  Creggs will have to come up with a game plan that will stretch Connemara. Creggs head coach Pat Cunningham will have much to mull over this week as he prepares to send his troops into battle. This is a very young Creggs team and they have improved with almost every outing this season.

  There is no doubt that Creggs will be up against it on Sunday but it would be one of the greatest wins in the club’s history if the team were to land the Cup beating the ‘All Blacks’ in the process.

  If Creggs can keep it tight early on and get an even share of possession at the line-outs and in the scrum, they have the attackers to engineer the scores that can win the match. It would be great to see the likes of Tom Fleming getting a cup winner’s medal having played for over a decade and a half for the team.

  This final will revive memories of a golden age for Creggs Rugby which those of us who were around at the time will remember with great fondness. The great days of the likes of Kieran and Ger Dowd, Frank and Liam Brandon, Dinny Monaghan, Liam Callaghan and even the mighty Adrian Leddy to name just a few, can be repeated and Creggs can have new heroes to look up to.

  The most overused cliché in sports is ‘on the day’ but if Creggs can turn in their best performance of the season they can upset the odds and bring home the cup. It promises to be an epic encounter.

 

Prediction: Creggs

Seamus Duke on sport - March 22nd

 

 

Relegation creeps closer for Rossies

Who’d be a pundit? Just when I thought that Roscommon footballers had gotten rid of the dirty petrol in the engine after the poor display against Cavan, with a very good 50-minute effort against Dublin, it was back to the bad old days at Pearse Stadium last Saturday.  

  Roscommon simply never got going, and despite being within two points three minutes before the break, the team never looked like they were in with a chance and the goal and two points scored by Galway before the short whistle were decisive.

  Roscommon got hardly any breaks at midfield and Conor Cox needs more help up front. He was Roscommon’s best player by a country mile, and while Cathal Cregg had a good first half, our options up front are very limited at the moment. We need a fully fit Diarmuid Murtagh back on the team as soon as possible.

  It was a very poor game of football and while Galway did look good going forward, the jury is out on whether they have the team to challenge at the very highest level. They have some excellent, pacy attackers, but they are suspect in defence. But that’s for another day.

  Now Roscommon need a huge display at home against Kerry. Anthony Cunningham’s men have been very good in The Hyde against Monaghan, Tyrone and Dublin and we will need an even bigger effort on Sunday. Kerry losing to Mayo last Saturday was a bad result for Roscommon as they now need a point to get to the league final which means that they will have everything to play for. I would fancy a Mayo win against Monaghan in Castlebar but I fear that it may not be enough to save Roscommon’s bacon. But where there is life there is hope. When Roscommon are not expected to win is when they are at their best.

  This is the final competitive game ahead of what is a very difficult Connacht Championship campaign and a win against The Kingdom would be a big confidence booster ahead of the summer. The Roscommon players will have to dig deep one more time. It’s unlikely we will survive but you know, stranger things have happened!

 

Hope for challengers after Dubs’ defeat

 

Last weekend’s results in the football league were very interesting. Dublin losing a third game in the campaign has led to a suspicion that all may not be well in the camp of the champions as they prepare their five-in-a-row bid. The fact that the Dubs will not be in the league final for the first time since 2012 has given a boost to all the other major sides and Kerry, Mayo, Galway and Tyrone will all want to get to the decider now.

   I have to say that I was wrong about Mayo: I thought after the game against Galway they were finished but they were excellent against Kerry in Tralee. Aidan O’Shea played his best game for the county in a couple of years while his midfield partner Matthew Ruane looks a good player too. I expect them to beat Monaghan on Sunday next.

  Tyrone were really comfortable against Dublin at Croke Park and Jim Gavin has a lot of work to do ahead of the championship now. The champions’ full-back line looks weak and Gavin will have to carry out remedial work there ahead of the championship. I wouldn’t be writing them off yet.

World Cup arrives a year too late

In this column two months ago, I wondered if the World Cup was coming 12 months too late for this Irish team and it looks like the answer to that question is yes.

  While everyone gets so down in the dumps after a bad defeat, the reality is that Ireland are not as good as they thought they were before the Six Nations Championship started but are not as bad as we saw last Saturday in Cardiff.  Ireland were well beaten by a mediocre England team and were hammered by a very good Welsh team. They played poorly against Italy and Scotland and were reasonably good against France.

  But looking ahead to the World Cup the realistic prediction is that we have no chance of actually winning it. With luck we might get to the semi-finals and that’s as much as we can expect. A lot of our great players are suffering a loss of form. Lads like Rob Kearney, Rory Best, Conor Murray Johnny Sexton and Sean O’Brien have a lot of miles on the clock and maybe time is running out for them. They are not robots and maybe they are coming to the end of the line. They have been magnificent servants to Ireland and have brought us great moments over the past five years under Joe Schmidt so I wouldn’t be too hard on them.

  Just a word about Warren Gatland who would not be universally popular in this country for a number of reasons. He has been in charge in Wales for 12 years and in that time he has delivered three Grand Slams. That’s the same number as Ireland have won in their entire history! Gatland will be judged as a class coach and one of the all-time greats.

Delaney’s FAI ‘loan’ beggars belief

Just as the Irish soccer team start a new era under Mick McCarthy this weekend, it’s all overshadowed by the incredible story of John Delaney and his €100,000 ‘loan’ to the FAI. If it wasn’t so serious it would be one of the greatest jokes of all time.

  Delaney is one of the highest paid CEOs in world football and has been for over a decade. His €440,000 a year salary (during the boom) is now down to a miserly €360,000 a year which is telephone numbers of most ordinary people. But not only is Delaney been paid massive money, he was so flush that he was able to give his employers a load to tide them over a couple of years ago! It beggars belief.

  One thing that you can be certain of, Delaney will walk away scot free and will come up smiling and smelling of roses again. These people never pay a price for any indiscretions at all. He has so much power that there is no one able to challenge him. Is it any wonder why there are so many problems with the game in this country? It’s the international team at number one and little or nothing is done below that level.

Sporting highs and lows for CBS

It was a great week for Roscommon CBS. On Wednesday evening last they went down to an excellent Garbally side in the Connacht Schools Cup final but they lost nothing in defeat. There was a huge crowd and a mighty atmosphere in The Sportsground and the CBS battled hard all the way to the finish. But Garbally were just too powerful physically for them and they pulled away in the end.

  There was compensation for the school on Saturday afternoon as they hammered Summerhill College to win the Connacht ‘B’ SFC title in some style. They scored an astonishing 5-22 in the process. Now they face the Ulster champions in the semi-final and while it is very wise not to get carried away and take one step at a time, All-Ireland glory beckons if they can maintain their form.

Rory silences his critics!

Rory McIlroy silenced the critics with a very impressive win at The Players’ Championship at the weekend. Once again there was high drama in the last round as some of the top players in the world challenged for the title and the outcome was in doubt until McIlroy edged ahead over the final few holes. The big question now is can he add The Masters title to his major haul? Time will tell but he is back in the winning enclosure now and that’s a warning to the rest.

 

Kerry bring firepower to Rossies’ last chance saloon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allianz NFL Division One (Round 7)

Roscommon v Kerry at Dr. Hyde Park, Roscommon on Sunday at 2 pm

 

 

The fact that Mayo went to Tralee last Saturday night and beat The Kingdom was a bad result for Roscommon. It means that Peter Keane’s men will need at least a draw to be certain of a league final appearance. They are sure to come with all guns blazing.

  Roscommon will take heart from the home performances so far in this campaign. Against Monaghan, Tyrone, and Dublin, Anthony Cunningham’s men were ultra-competitive and very unlucky not to have actually taken the two points against Tyrone. That late lapse against the Red Hand County could be very costly when it comes to 4 pm on Sunday evening.

  Roscommon’s form in this campaign must have the management tearing their hair out. Very competitive, hard-working and resilient in their three home matches, the team were completely out of sorts and played very poorly against Cavan and Galway and that is a big worry ahead of Sunday.

  I am not expecting many changes on the Roscommon team for Sunday although Conor Cox will need far more help up front if Roscommon are to win this game. Cathal Cregg had a good first-half last Saturday against Galway, but apart from that Cox was ploughing a lone furrow in attack and that will not be good enough to win this game.

  Against Galway Roscommon won very few breaking balls in the middle of the field. Jack Barry and Mark Griffin are the likely Kerry midfield duo on Sunday with the option of Tommy Walsh there as well and a share of the spoils possession-wise will be essential.

  Roscommon have been doing well defensively but it looks like on Sunday they will have to face new superstar Sean O’Shea, the returning James O’Donoghue, Paul Geaney and David Clifford (all likely to start) along with Stephen O’Brien and Tommy Walsh. Just to see those names in print sends shivers down the spine and make no mistake it will be a huge task for the Dalys, Davy Murray, Sean Mullooly and co. on Sunday.

  Of course Roscommon will be depending on Mayo to do them a favour and beat Monaghan in Castlebar. A week ago, I wouldn’t have held out much hope of that happening but Mayo were outstanding in Tralee and now with a place in the final up for grabs they should have the better of Malachy O’Rourke’s men at home.

  But that will be happening 60 miles away from Dr. Hyde Park and this is the last big test for the Roscommon team ahead of the championship in May and it would be a huge confidence-booster to beat the mighty Kingdom on home soil regardless of what happens elsewhere.

   At the risk of repeating myself, Division One is the only place to be playing league football and it would be a huge pity if Roscommon were relegated again having just come up last year. In this campaign we have seen some heart-warming and fiercely determined play for Roscommon especially in Dr. Hyde Park and that will be needed again on Sunday if Roscommon are to have a chance. The players will have to throw caution to the wind and get stuck in from the opening whistle. This is the last chance saloon. I hope that I am wrong but it looks like a bridge too far for Roscommon.

 

Prediction: Kerry

 

Ladies’ promotion bid dented

 

 

 

Lidl Ladies NFL Division Three

Sligo 4-7

Roscommon 2-8

Roscommon ladies footballers’ hopes of promotion were dealt a blow in Cloonacool, Co. Sligo last Sunday when they went down by five points to the local side.

  A total of four Roscommon players visited the sin bin at different stages in the game and that certainly did not help their cause on the day. Rachel Fitzmaurice was on target with a well-taken goal for Roscommon early on, but Sligo looked sharper, and goals from Emma Keaveney and Lauren Boles helped the home side to a 2-4 to 1-2 half-time lead.

  Laura Ann Laffey scored Sligo’s third goal shortly after the break which increased their lead but Rebecca Finan converted a penalty for Roscommon after 45 minutes to bring them back into the match. But when Keaveney scored her second and Sligo’s fourth goal in the 55th minute, the game was over as a contest.

  Roscommon now face a must-win game against Longford at Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday.

Roscommon: H Cummins; H Ennis, S Kenny A McLoone; J Cregg, S Bannon, N Feeney; A Ryan J Higgins (0-1); A Kelly, L Fleming (0-1), S Tully; R Fitzmaurice (1-0), R Finan (1-3), K Daly. Subs: R Brady, L Flynn, S Brady (0-3).

 

Scintillating CBS can go all the way!

 

 

 

 

 

Connacht Colleges SF ‘B’ Championship Final

Roscommon CBS 5-22

Summerhill College, Sligo 2-12

 

 

 

In the many years of playing in this competition, Roscommon CBS footballers reserved one of their finest ever performances for this decider at Bekan last Saturday. The Roscommon town school produced an attacking master-class on the day and now they will face next week’s All-Ireland semi-final against St. Patrick’s of Downpatrick with confidence.

  The CBS lads took the game to Summerhill from the off and although to concede 2-12 might be a slight worry to the management, some of their attacking play was out of the very top drawer. Liam Ormsby was the first Roscommon forward to break through for a goal in the 7th minute.

  Summerhill kept in touch with a Joe Spellman goal shortly afterwards but the Roscommon lads were dominant with Albert Looby and Keith Doyle in command at midfield. A string of four unanswered points followed quickly to give the CBS an early advantage. A fine point from the excellent Tim Lambe was followed by the same player scoring his side’s second goal in the 21st minute, and then less than a minute later Jack McGahon fisted home for goal number three.

  Jim Davis provided Summerhill with a glimmer of hope in the 27th minute with a well taken goal but by half-time Roscommon CBS led by a very handsome margin, 3-12 to 2-4.

  The Roscommon lads kept Summerhill at arm’s length in the second half, and at the end of the third quarter they produced some more attacking magic. Cian Murray scored a great goal with seven minutes to go and when Liam Ormsby fired home a penalty two minutes later, it put the icing on the cake.

  It was a classy display from Eoghan Coll’s side who will fear no one and although it’s one step at a time, this Roscommon CBS team are well capable of going all the way.

Roscommon CBS: G Rodrigues; J Browne, C Walsh, J Martin; C Glennon, J Lohan, C Murray (1-4); A Looby, K Doyle (0-2); T Lambe (1-6), C Lawless (0-4), R Walsh (0-2); L Ormsby (2-2), J Fitzpatrick (0-2), J McGahon (1-0). Subs: C Carthy for Looby, M Dunne for McGahon, K Brennan for Lambe, A Hession for Doyle, C McNamara for Ormsby.

Summerhill College, Sligo: J Teape; P Ward, M Connolly-McGowan, S Muldowney; D Williams, T Gavin, C Kevany; L Hogge, O McDonagh; E Smith (0-7), O Geraghty, J Davis (1-3); F Connolly, J Spellman (1-0), K Harte (0-2). Subs: M Walah for Kevany, J Hegarty for Connolly, K Harte for Ward.

Referee: G McMahon

 

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