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Missed chances cost Rossies final spot

 

 

Liberty Insurance All Ireland Premier Junior Semi-Final

Limerick 1-12

Roscommon 0-8

 

 

A cursory glance at the final score last Saturday would lead one to form the opinion that this was an easy win for Limerick, but that certainly was not the case. A goal and two points in injury-time at the end of the game gave the final margin a very lop-sided look and was unfair to a battling Roscommon team who just came up short in the end.

  Grit, determination and will-to-win were qualities that Roscommon showed all through this match but in the end it was missed chances that cost them a place in the All-Ireland final against Kerry next month.

  Having recovered from a poor start, Karol Collins’ team worked extremely hard to get to within two points by the 55th minute but some costly wides, and a failure to convert possession into scores proved a bridge too far.

   Played on a day borrowed from mid-winter at Cusack Park in Ennis, with a strong wind and squally showers, the conditions were difficult for the players and it was Limerick who began best with the elements at their backs. By the 9th minute they were ahead by 0-5 to 0-1 with Shauna Fallon’s converted free in the 4th minute Roscommon’s only score.

  But Rachel Fitzmaurice and Susan Spillane were getting a grip at midfield. Both were outstanding all through as they drove Roscommon forward time after time. In the 10th minute Fitzmaurice drove over a point after a surging run, and two minutes later Shauna Fallon converted a free. Then Lorraine Kenny pointed after a superb Roscommon team move and the margin was down to just one (0-5 to 0-4).

  But that was to be Roscommon’s last score of the half and it was Limerick who kicked on before the break. Pressure on the Roscommon defence was yielding frees, and Rebecca Noonan converted three placed balls before the break to leave the half-time score Limerick 0-8 Roscommon 0-4.

  Roscommon opened the second-half scoring in the 32nd minute with a Shauna Fallon free but the Shannonsiders were looking dangerous in attack and Roscommon had reason to be thankful to their goalkeeper twice in the space of two minutes as she kept her side in the game. First Geri Mai O’Kelly sent a blistering drive goalwards in the 36th minute but Michaela Fallon tipped it over for a point and then Ella Whelan was through only for Fallon to make another superb save.

  Rebecca Noonan converted another free for Limerick in the 44th minute to push the margin out to five but Roscommon responded well, and with Spillane and Fitzmaurice in the engine room, the revival came with Roscommon knocking over three points in a row. Shauna Fallon pointed two frees and Susan Spillane pointed from play. With 55 minutes on the clock it was Limerick 0-10 Roscommon 0-8.

  But that was as good as it got for Roscommon and as the game slipped into injury-time Limerick came with a decisive burst of scoring. Noonan pointed a free in the 61st minute and two minutes later Noelle Curtin cut in from the right flank to shoot another point. Then in the 63rd minute sub Shauna Darcy supplied the moment of the game when she burst through the Roscommon defence and blasted home for a superb goal.

  Limerick probably deserved to win it on overall play although Roscommon will point to several missed chances including a few frees that went astray especially in the second half. But it’s a young Roscommon team and under impressive manager Karol Collins they have plenty to look forward to.

Limerick: Leah O’Carroll; Kate Herbert, Anne Tangney, Evan Butler; Sarah Shanahan, Yvonne Lee, Sinead McElligott; Orlaith Kelleher, Ann Kennedy; Rebecca Noonan (0-6, 5 frees), Gery Mai O’Kelly (0-2), Noelle Curtin (0-1); Ella Whelan, Grace Lee, Michelle Curtin (0-3).

Subs: Leah Browne for Kennedy (32), Shauna Darcy (1-0), for Curtin (61), Katie Carroll for Whelan (63).

Roscommon: Michaela Fallon; Aisling McDermott, Maebh Tiernan, Chloe Whyte-Lennon; Aine O’Meara, Emer McNally, Joanne Beattie; Susan Spillane (0-1), Rachel Fitzmaurice (0-1); Alisha Lenehan, Kathy Jones, Shauna Fallon (0-5 frees); Lorraine Kenny (0-1), Fiona Connell, Lisa Dolan.

Subs: Kate Doyle for Dolan (37), Ella Killion for Kenny (47).

Referee: Paul Ryan (Kildare)

 

Yerra…let the mind and media games begin!

 

 

 

Ah the mind and media games have already started ahead of September’s All-Ireland final between the mighty Kerry and the humble, hard-working Dubs (I’m not immune).

  This week we heard what we can only presume (or hope) were tall tales from the Tyrone v Kerry game last Sunday before talented Meath referee David Gough was put under the spotlight for having the temerity to live and work in Dublin!

  We can only assume that rather than climbing a tree with a set of binoculars, career pilot Jim Gavin will be staging flyovers of Kerry training sessions with an AIG sponsored drone in the coming weeks!

  On a serious note, while extremely impressed by Con and Co. in last Saturday’s semi-final, I was sad to see a brilliant Mayo side exit this year’s competition on the end of a drubbing. While many would argue that the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship has become unwatchable at times in recent years, Mayo were always box office, and certainly deserved more for their efforts.

  Onwards and upwards, however, and while Kerry agents were feeding coded messages through the media, Dublin were on the charm offensive at a ‘meet and greet’ in Parnell Park on Monday. There were selfies galore with fans young and old and midfield powerhouse Brian Fenton even showed his softer side as he serenaded a birthday girl. Ah bless! No wonder Mr. Brolly loves them!

  In deepest, darkest Kerry meanwhile, agent Jack O’Connor was being smuggled up to a safe house near the Dublin border, where his mission will be to soften up the Dubs with his Kildare charges next year, presumably as the mighty Kingdom set about defending their All-Ireland title! 

 

Rossies gunning for Royal revenge!

 

 

 

TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Intermediate Semi-Final

Roscommon v Meath at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny on Saturday at 4.45 pm

 

It’s a repeat of the last four pairing from 2018 when Michael Finneran’s Roscommon side face the Royals in the unusual surroundings of Nowlan Park, Kilkenny this coming Saturday. Last year Meath breezed past Roscommon at Dr. Hyde Park but the Roscommon team of 2019 looks a far more accomplished outfit and they have every chance of upsetting the odds this weekend.

  Roscommon manager Michael Finneran is looking forward to the challenge.

  “Training has gone very well. There is a great buzz in the camp and all our players are fit and ready to go. It’s great to be playing and training well into August and we will relish the challenge on Saturday.

  “We have a score to settle from last year but we are not thinking about that. They beat us well in the league but we have become far more competitive since that game and hopefully we can bridge the gap on Saturday. I think we are a more mature and accomplished team this year and we are putting up good scores.

  “We know how difficult this will be. The last two times we have played Meath they have won easily so we know what’s ahead of us but it’s a big occasion and on a fine pitch like Nowlan Park it will suit a team that wants to play fast, open football. We just want to go out and do ourselves justice on the day,” he concluded.

  Roscommon’s improvement in attack this year has been the key to their success thus far but they will have to be strong in defence as Meath have some very skilful attackers. Vikki Wall and Megan Thynne are top-class forwards and pose a major threat.

  This will be a very difficult game for Roscommon as Meath are determined to go one better this year after being beaten in last year’s All-Ireland final by Tyrone. If the weather is fine, the beautiful surface and conditions might just suit Roscommon to set up a massive day in Croke Park next month.

Prediction: Roscommon

Athleague and Pearses into SHC semis

 

 

 

Kepak Roscommon SHC Quarter-Finals

 

Title defence continues

Athleague 2-11  

Oran 1-10

Athleague set up a local derby against Tremane in the semi-finals as they had four points to spare against Oran in a match played in very wet conditions in Athleague last Saturday. There was little between the sides until Robbie Fallon flicked home an Athleague goal after 20 minutes and at half-time the home side led by five points.

  When Cormac Kelly scored a second Athleague goal with ten minutes left it looked good for Seamus Qualter’s side, and while just a couple of minutes later Oran’s best player, Gearoid Keenan, scored a fine goal, the champions held on for a deserved victory.

Scorers - Athleague: E Flanagan (0-7), C Kelly (1-2), R Fallon (1-1), D Heavey (0-1). Oran: J Fallon (0-5), G Keenan (1-1), H Rooney (0-2), E Kenny and D Ryan (0-1) each.

 

Naughton settles it!

Pádraig Pearses 1-21  

St. Dominic’s 1-15

Pearses will meet Four Roads in the semi-final after this six-point win against St. Dominic’s. Pearses needed a strong second-half display to prevail as the Knockcroghery men were the better side in the opening half. Tommy Hurley scored a fine goal early on and at half-time they led by 1-10 to 0-11.

  But Pearses were the better side on the resumption and with Oisin Kelly in superb form they turned the situation around. The sides were level with just ten minutes to go but Pearses finished the stronger with Shane Naughton grabbing a decisive goal in the dying minutes.

Scorers – Pearses: A Fehily (0-9), O Kelly (0-7), S Naughton (1-2), E Costello (0-2), L Fehily (0-1). St. Dominic’s: J Murray (0-6), MJ Egan (0-4), T Hurley (1-0), M Miley (0-3), T Doyle (0-2).

Note: The semi-final line-up will see Tremane play Athleague and Four Roads face Pádraig Pearses.

 

Seamus Duke on sport - August 16th

 

 

 

Dublin on cusp of five-in-a-row!

I was never more sure or certain in many years watching football that Dublin would easily defeat Mayo in last Saturday’s semi-final and I said so here in this column several times in recent weeks. When I saw them in the flesh against Roscommon I was convinced that they would power past every team that was left in the championship at that stage and I am still of the same opinion. They are simply too strong and too powerful and they have so many selection options that they will secure the coveted five-in-a-row on September the 1st. Dublin will do to Kerry what they did to Mayo, Roscommon, Cork and everyone else. It may not be a ten-point margin but it will be a comfortable victory.

  However, I’m glad it’s Kerry that Dublin are playing and not Tyrone. At least there is a chance of a football match with Kerry involved. The Kingdom have some excellent attackers but I would fear for them in defence. Dublin’s attack will be too strong for them.

  It was another wonderful effort from Mayo but it looks like the end of the road for this team. What enjoyment and excitement they have given over the past ten years but they always found one team too good for them. They were just unlucky that they came along in the era of a brilliant Dublin team.

  On the other hand, I wasn’t one bit sorry that Tyrone were beaten. I don’t like their attitude and some of their underhand tactics which have been there for years are very unsavoury.

  It was also a surprise to see how small the crowd was in Croker on Sunday (less than 34,000) after the full house on Saturday evening. The attendances at big football games are certainly falling (if you take Mayo out of the equation) and it is something of a worry for the association. Was it that the Kerry supporters didn’t travel or that people just do not like watching Tyrone play football? There has to be some reason!

Ladies fighting for All-Ireland final spot

It’s a huge weekend for the Roscommon Ladies footballers. They have a large gap to bridge against Meath after last year’s semi-final in Dr. Hyde Park but the way they have been playing this year would suggest that they have a real chance this Saturday.

  They have been scoring heavily but they must ensure that they keep the back door shut as Meath have some marvellous attacking players who will take full advantage of any slackness defensively. I wish Michael Finneran and his team the very best of luck.

  It is a pity that the game is on so far away (in Nowlan Park) and that it clashes with the start of the club championships. It will certainly take away from their support on the day. Fair play to TG4 as they are going to cover the game live. It would be a marvellous boost to the ladies game in Roscommon if they were to qualify for the All-Ireland final.

Championship Watch

All-Ireland SHC Final

Tipperary v Kilkenny on Sunday in Croke Park at 3.30 pm

 

After all the huffing and puffing we are down to old rivals Kilkenny and Tipperary to contest Sunday’s All-Ireland final and there are so many sub-plots as usual.

  Kilkenny were written off on a number of occasions this year not least after their Leinster final defeat to Wexford. Brian Cody has masterminded another memorable year for the Cats but it remains to be seen whether they can cap their revival off with another title. 

  Liam Sheedy was brought back into Tipperary hurling to deliver the MacCarthy Cup and it’s so far so good. However, they can also point to a chastening loss at the hands of Limerick in the Munster final.

  There are great players on both sides. For Tipp, the Mahers are magnificent performers and up front Seamus Callinan, ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer and the McGraths are lethal if they get enough ball. Kilkenny have the truly great TJ Reid in their corner but he will need plenty of help this weekend from the likes of Walter Walsh, Colin Fennelly and Richie Hogan.

  There won’t be a lot in it and I am very reluctant to back against a Brian Cody managed side in an All-Ireland final. But forwards win games and, in my humble opinion, Tipperary are stronger in attack and should be able to get the scores to win it.

Prediction: Tipperary

 

Club championships begin this weekend

 

The senior, intermediate and junior club football championships are starting this weekend and the match previews are elsewhere in the paper this week. There is a new format this year and while we’ll give it a chance before it starts…I would have left the format the way it has been for the last few years.

  The fact that the championships are not starting until this weekend means that it is going to be flat out for club players over the next few weeks with games every weekend, which is unfair. However, the clubs voted for this championship format and fixture list so let’s see how it goes. Hopefully the matches will throw up a few new players for Anthony Cunningham and his selectors over the next couple of months.

 

City, Liverpool and United off the mark

 

It was the start that most people expected in the Premier League at the weekend with Liverpool and Manchester City winning very easily. Manchester United also got off to a good start but their 4-0 win against Chelsea was a bit of a flattering scoreline as Chelsea had hit the post twice before United scored. I suppose that a 4-0 win is better than a 4-0 loss but I wouldn’t be getting carried away just yet!

 

Rossies deserve All-Star nominations

 

The speculation about who might be on the All-Star teams will begin in earnest over the next few weeks, and over a few scoops at the weekend we agreed that Conor Cox and Niall Daly deserve to get nominations with Enda Smith and Conor Hussey outside bets. I don’t think any Roscommon players will actually win an award this year but it would be nice to get a few nominations.

 

What might have been…

 

It’s amazing what can happen. Roscommon minors scored a memorable victory against Galway in the Connacht minor championship in Dr. Hyde Park a couple of months ago with Aaron Oyiki scoring a spectacular goal.

  In fact, Galway were also defeated by a point in the Connacht final after extra-time by Mayo. But lo and behold if they are not into the All-Ireland final after a thrilling win against Kerry in the semi-final last Sunday. Now they take on Cork in the final on September 1st - what might have been folks!

 

No ‘donor fatigue’ for Club Rossie!

The support for the GAA in County Roscommon was plain for all to see once again at last Friday night’s Club Rossie Draw which was held at Hannon’s Hotel.

  For Club Rossie to be able to sell over €250,000 worth of tickets barely six months after the ‘Win a House’ draw is truly remarkable. It seems that there is no such thing as ‘donor fatigue’ when it comes to supporting Roscommon GAA and hopefully now the work can begin in Dr. Hyde Park and that there are realistic plans to develop a centre of excellence for our county teams to train in. With the goodwill that’s there are the moment it is entirely achievable.

 

 

Rossies blitz Rebels for first Super 8s win

 

 

 

All-Ireland SFC Super 8s (Round 3): Roscommon 4-9 Cork 3-9

 

 

 

 

Roscommon produced a second-half goal blitz at Pairc Ui Rinn last Sunday to end their Super 8s Group Two campaign on a high.

  Following earlier defeats to Tyrone and Dublin, Anthony Cunningham’s side were already out of contention for a semi-final spot. The Leesiders had suffered a similar fate, but the county had received a much-needed boost in the form of the previous day’s stunning All-Ireland U-20 success at the expense of a fancied Dublin side.

  However, the Rossies were in no mood to prolong their celebrations and triumphed in a Super 8s encounter at the sixth time of asking. While it was effectively a ‘dead rubber’ affair for both teams, the Connacht champions finally shook off a significant and long-standing hoodoo.

  In their ten previous All-Ireland quarter-final matches, the primrose and blue had failed to register a single win. 2017’s thrilling draw with Mayo was surrounded by nine defeats, so the value of Sunday’s victory cannot be overstated.

  Roscommon looked set for further heartache when a fired-up Cork stormed into a 1-2 to no score lead inside the opening three minutes of the contest. After he expertly broke the deadlock with a tricky free, Luke Connolly intercepted Darren O’Malley’s subsequent short kick-out. He passed inside to full-forward Mark Collins, who rattled the net with a powerful right-footed effort. Another Connolly free supplemented this strike as the Rebels sought to establish a firm foothold amidst torrential rain.

  The early signs were ominous for Roscommon, though they eventually settled into a more familiar stride. Conor Cox had 0-24 to his name in five championship appearances prior to this game and he found the target either side of an Enda Smith point.

  Even though James Loughrey was keeping close tabs on the Listowel Emmett’s man in open play, his placed-ball accuracy played a key part in Roscommon’s early revival. He traded frees with Connolly to leave them two points in arrears at the end of the opening quarter.

  Cox had an ideal opportunity to narrow the gap to a single point on the stroke of 20 minutes, only to drop his shot into the arms of Cork netminder Micheál Martin – son of the Fianna Fáil leader of the same name.

  Cork duly punished this miss at the opposite end, adding points through Kevin O’Driscoll and Ruairi Deane to offer themselves a commanding buffer once more. 

  Nevertheless, determined to make the most of their final competitive outing for 2019, Roscommon restored parity just shy of the half-hour mark.

  After Cox recorded his fourth free of the half, Cathal Cregg released the raiding Brian Stack for a clinical three-point finish. Their elation was short-lived though, as the imposing Connolly punched home Eoghan McSweeney’s cross-field delivery off Cork’s resulting attack.

  This was a setback for the visitors so soon after Stack’s intervention, but they enjoyed a productive end to the opening period. Shane Killoran kicked over at the end of a memorable run and Cox brought his personal haul to five points from close-range.

  A flashpoint in stoppage-time led to black cards for Cork’s Paul Kerrigan and Roscommon’s Niall Daly – they were respectively replaced by John O’Rourke and Colin Compton on the restart. While staring into a slender deficit at the break (2-5 to 1-7), the Rossies swiftly levelled matters courtesy of Andrew Glennon’s free.

  They then went a full 14 minutes without a score and, in that time, Collins added a brace of frees to give Cork some breathing space. In comparison to the lively first half, the game was struggling to catch fire in the third quarter.

  That all changed on 52 minutes, however, when Roscommon hit the front for the very first time. At the tail end of a patient move, Glennon’s telling pass put Stack in the clear for his second goal of the contest.

  In the aftermath of the St. Brigid’s attacker’s latest major, there was a skirmish featuring several players from both sides. Following extensive consultation, referee Noel Mooney issued six yellow cards – evenly spread out on either side.

  There was a three-minute delay before the play resumed, but this did little to halt the Rossies’ march. The industrious Enda Smith continued to drive forward and got the goal his performance deserved with a smooth strike into the right-corner of the net.

  To Cork’s credit, they delivered an immediate response – Loughrey ghosting into the far square for his second goal in as many games. The willingness to go for the jugular at both ends of the field was evident throughout and it came as no surprise when goal number seven arrived in the final minute of normal time.

  A sweeping move initiated by O’Malley saw the ball arrive into the hands of Killoran and his composed finish pushed Roscommon to within touching distance of a fourth championship win of the campaign.

  Substitutes Stephen Sherlock and John O’Rourke raised white flags in injury-time to keep Cork in the frame, but it was a Roscommon replacement – Donie Smith – who clinched the spoils for his side with a point on the break.

  This meant that Roscommon claimed third spot in the group and while Tyrone and Dublin progress to this weekend’s last four, the Connacht champions will be eager to build on this positive display when the action gets back underway in 2020.

Roscommon: Darren O’Malley; David Murray, Conor Daly, Gary Patterson; Niall Daly, Ronan Daly, Conor Hussey; Tadhg O’Rourke, Shane Killoran (1-1); Brian Stack (2-0), Cathal Cregg, Niall Kilroy; Andrew Glennon (0-1, 1 free), Conor Cox (0-5, 5 frees), Enda Smith (1-1).

Subs used: Colin Compton for Niall Daly (half-time, black card), Angus Lyons for Hussey, Fintan Cregg for C Cregg (both 44), Donie Smith (0-1) for Kilroy (55), Diarmuid Murtagh for Glennon (57), Hubert Darcy for Compton (72, black card).

 

Cork: Micheál Martin; Thomas Clancy, James Loughrey (1-0), Kevin Flahive; Stephen Cronin, Sean White, Mattie Taylor; Ian Maguire, Killian O’Hanlon; Kevin O’Driscoll (0-1), Ruairi Deane (0-1), Eoghan McSweeney; Paul Kerrigan, Mark Collins (1-2, 0-2 frees), Luke Connolly (1-3, 0-3 frees).

Subs used: John O’Rourke (0-1) for Kerrigan (black card), Michael Hurley for McSweeney (both half-time), Brian Hurley for Collins (57), Cian Kiely for Cronin (59), Ronan O’Toole for Clancy (63), Stephen Sherlock (0-1) for Connolly (70).

 

Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan)

 

Cunningham happy to finish on a high

 

 

 

 

Roscommon manager Anthony Cunningham cut a satisfied figure following his side’s gutsy Super 8s victory over Cork at a blustery Pairc Ui Rinn last Sunday afternoon.

  After the disappointment of back-to-back defeats at the hands of Tyrone and Dublin - not to mention their three straight reversals in last year’s group - there was a clear determination within the squad to end 2019 on a positive note.

  “We targeted a win this weekend. We really wanted this year’s campaign to finish with a first Super 8s win for Roscommon. We were questioned in the last few weeks by a few people. Were we up for the Dublin match and other matches? This set of players set out at the start of the year and finished off today with what they wanted, which was a win in the Super 8s,” Cunningham remarked.

  Despite the contest effectively being a ‘dead rubber’ (both Cork and the Rossies were out of contention for a semi-final spot), the two sides left no stone unturned in their quest for a win. In a seven-goal thriller, it was Shane Killoran’s 69th minute finish that swung the tie in Roscommon’s favour.

  While clearly disappointed that his team’s campaign has now drawn to a conclusion, Cunningham believes his debut season at the helm has ultimately proven to be a success.

  “We are disappointed, obviously, that it wasn’t a match that put us through to an All-Ireland semi-final. We have to take the harsh lessons of the Tyrone defeat. The panel and players will take that on board.

  “Today was significant because questions were asked in the last few weeks. Questions such as, have we moved on? For us, unbeaten in the Connacht Championship, a very good performance against Tyrone, albeit a bit unlucky. Today we wanted to back those performances up. In very tough conditions away from home, to come out of it with a win, we are very happy”.

  Indeed, torrential rain descended upon the Leeside venue for the majority of the game - leading to some understandable handling errors on both sides. Nevertheless, there was also an abundance of quality football on display and this is something that Cunningham was keen to highlight.

  “We haven’t seen rain all summer and to get those conditions today. The ball was really greasy. Very, very hard to hold the ball, but a lot of good play. Great scores and great goals,” Cunningham said.

  It was also a day that saw referee Noel Mooney kept on his toes, the Cavan official having issued an astonishing 13 yellow cards and three black cards over the course of the proceedings.

  Cunningham believes the conditions had a part to play in this, but was thrilled with the physical approach his charges brought to the game.

  “I think with the conditions, lads were flying into tackles. We wanted that really, we wanted to win our own ball. We’ve seen that over the weekend, you’ve really got to commit in the heat of championship and conditions today led to a lot of clumsier tackles than normal,” he added.

 

Late penalty ends Minors’ comeback

 

 

LGFA All-Ireland Minor ‘B’ Final

Longford 2-9

Roscommon 2-5

 

 

 

In a tight game of such importance major incidents are always crucial and Roscommon will point to the controversial award of a penalty to Longford with eight minutes remaining at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe last Saturday as a major turning point in this All-Ireland Minor ‘B’ Final.

  With Roscommon leading by a point, Longford’s Lauren McGuire’s route to goal was stopped by Megan McKeon and referee Kevin Corcoran blew immediately to award a penalty. It looked a harsh judgement, and to rub salt in the wound, Corcoran brandished a yellow card to McKeon which reduced Roscommon to 13. Ciara Healy tucked away the penalty and Longford kicked on to take the title.

  Roscommon manager Ollie Colgan couldn’t hide his disappointment at full-time.

  “I know it’s a very tough job and it is straight after the game, but it all hinged on one decision (the penalty) and at best it was a controversial decision. The linesperson beside us said it was no penalty but the man in the middle is all that counts. It gave them the lifeline they needed, they were struggling up to that, and if we had got one or two more scores we would have been all right. But hats off to them, they did their work in the first half. We were slow to get into the game and that’s what cost us in the end,” he said.

  In the cold light of day, when the Roscommon management and players pick the bones out of this, they’ll know their poor first-half performance cost them dearly. Their stirring revival in the second half was hugely impressive but overall Longford were marginally the better side.

   In front of a big crowd, it was Longford who started best. With Orla Nevin, Grace Shannon, Ciara Healy and Clodagh Lohan outstanding, they had the lion’s share of possession and were 1-2 to no score up after ten minutes. Deirbhle Rooney and Ciara Healy (free) points were followed in the 10th minute by a tremendous Clodagh Lohan goal following a superb Longford move. Roscommon did get into the game after that but some poor shooting and the fact that four balls were kicked into the Longford goalkeeper’s hands didn’t help their cause.

  Aimee O’Connor opened the Roscommon account with a free in the 17th minute and two minutes later Ellen Irwin fired over a super long-range point from 35 metres. But Longford always looked in control in that first half and further points from Grace Shannon and Ciara Healy saw the gap out to five once again.

  Kate Harrington pointed for Roscommon in the 24th minute after a fine team move, but further Longford points from Clodagh Lohan, Deirbhle Rooney and Lauren McGuire stretched the margin to seven. Roscommon did have a late goal chance but Oonagh Kelly’s effort was well saved by Riane McGrath. At half-time Longford had a handsome seven-point lead: 1-7 to 0-3.

  Ollie Colgan was left to rue a tough opening half.

  “We would have preferred if our first half performance was better, whether the occasion got to us or something I don’t know. We hoped it wouldn’t, we prepared for it, maybe it was just Longford were doing their job very well. They man-marked, they double-marked our key players and it was tough going,” he said.      

  Roscommon needed a reaction on the resumption and they got one. In the 34th minute Aimee O’Connor was probably shooting for a point from 30 metres, but the ball looped over Riane McGrath and into the net. A minute later Roscommon captain O’Connor pointed a 25-metre free.

  Suddenly there were only three points in it with Roscommon subs Micheala Keogh and Lauren Shanagher making major contributions to their revival. In the 41st minute Shanagher was in on goal but when her shot was blocked by Longford goalkeeper McGrath, Oonagh Kelly was quickest to react and she fired the rebound to the net to level the score.

   Roscommon’s tails were up, and Aimee O’Connor fired over a great point in the 48th minute to see her side into the lead for the first time. But it was all to turn sour in those final minutes. Kate McPhillips had been shown a yellow card in the 46th minute and when Megan McKeon was sidelined after the penalty incident, not alone were Roscommon down by two points, they were down two players as well.

   The spot-kick incident seemed to knock the stuffing out of Roscommon and Longford finished with points from Grace Shannon and Lauren McGuire.

  Saoirse Wynne has a fantastic game at full-back for Roscommon while Sheena Kilroe was effective at midfield. The loss of Sarah McVeigh through injury after only eight minutes was severe. Aimee O’Connor and Oonagh Kenny battled away up front and subs Lauren Shanagher and Miceala Keogh were very impressive but it was not Roscommon’s day.

  While manager Colgan highlighted the six-week break between the Connacht Championship and the All-Ireland series as a major hindrance in their bid to secure national silverware, he was upbeat about the future.

  “It would have been lovely to win an All-Ireland minor title but there’s a lot of good work going on in the county, these girls will now go into an U-20 development squad along with last year’s minors, it’s important to keep these girls playing football. The main aim is to get Roscommon up playing senior football at adult level and these girls have a big part to play in that,” he said.

  Meanwhile, Longford manager, Carol Leonard-Manning, was understandably proud of her charges.

  “You always know in ladies football that you’re going have patches of a game when you won’t play well and we certainly didn’t make the start we wanted to after half-time. With this group we’ve been down in games before, they never drop their heads, they fight to the very end and that’s what wins All-Irelands.

  “The penalty changed the game, but if it had been played on, you don’t know what would have happened. The penalty could have been given later, if she wasn’t taken down it could have been a goal”.

 

Longford: Riana McGrath; Ciara Sutton, Sorcha Dawson, Karen McLoughlin; Ciara Mulligan, Orla Nevin, Muireann Claffey; Kara Shannon, Grace Shannon (0-2); Deirbhle Rooney (0-2), Ciara Healy (1-2, 1-0 pen), Lauran McGuire  (0-2); Clodagh Lohan (1-1), Molly Mulvihill, Hannah Glennon.

Subs: Ellen Shannon for Rooney (42), Kamille Burke for Mulvihill (45).

 

Roscommon: Holly Martin; Rachel Mulligan, Saoirse Wynne, Kate McPhillips; Emma Kildea, Kelley Colgan, Megan McKeon; Sarah McVeigh, Sheena Kilroe; Ellen Irwin (0-1), Kayleigh Shine, Megan Kelly; Kate Harrington (0-1),                                     Oonagh Kelly (1-0), Aimee O’Connor (1-3, 2 frees).

Subs: Micheala Keogh for McVeigh (8), Jennifer Brennan for Mulligan (h/t), Lauran Shanagher for Harrington (35),  Edel Byrne for Kelly (45), Kara Earle for Irwin (54)

Referee: Kevin Corcoran (Mayo)

Clinical Ladies set up Royal appointment

 

 

 

TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Quarter-Final

Roscommon 2-18

Kildare 2-10

 

 

Twelve months after their Croke Park aspirations were crushed by Meath at Dr. Hyde Park, Roscommon will have the chance to make amends after a comfortable victory over Kildare last Sunday set Michael Finneran’s on a collision course with the Royal County.

  That game is set for Saturday week (August 17th) at Nowlan Park in Kilkenny and on the form Roscommon showed last weekend in Kinnegad, they’ll feel that they have every chance of upsetting the odds and securing a Croke Park appearance for themselves.

  Defensively there are still some issues to be ironed out – Kildare full-forward Molly Price enjoyed a very productive afternoon and there were far too many occasions when it looked as if the Lilywhites were able to carve open opportunities by running straight down the middle of the field – but up front Roscommon are moving very well, breaking tackles and creating overlaps in doing so.

  A superb team move that started with a stunning block down from Siobhán Tully ended with Rebecca Finan bursting past two defenders and setting up Aimee O’Connor for the game’s opening goal after 13 minutes, and Finneran would have been the much happier manager coming up to half time as his side kept their noses in front, despite playing into a strong breeze.

  That all changed in the 25th minute when Price set up Ellen Dowling for a Kildare goal, and from the restart teenage centre forward Neasa Dooley collected possession and rifled the ball into the roof of the net for a second green flag.

  Roscommon’s response was exemplary however, as they settled into their work and got back on level terms by half-time. Good angles of running and support play around the middle third was key and with captain Sinéad Kenny doing a lot of the hard defensive work, that freed up Laura Fleming to drive at the Kildare defence and create some good openings. Fleming, Róisín Wynne and Finan (twice) all pointed to draw the sides level at half time, 2-5 1-8, and with the wind set to favour them, Roscommon were well-set to drive on and win.

  It took them some time to open up a gap, but points from Siobhán Tully, Finan and Jenny Higgins, not long after her introduction, put some daylight between the sides. Kildare continued to try and run the ball through the Roscommon back line and they carved out occasional chances, with Lauren Murtagh and Molly Price both on the scoresheet at various stages, but their trump card in the first half was their ability to pin Roscommon deep into their own half on the kick-out. Now that Helena Cummins was able to get a bit more distance on her restarts, Roscommon were better able to use the full width of the pitch and create space, and they enjoyed a far greater share of possession.

  Still, it wasn’t until the 55th minute that their ticket into the last four of the TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Championship was stamped. Laura Fleming set the move in motion by winning a Kildare kick-out on the right wing, Siobhán Tully took two defenders out of the game with a jinking run and her handpass across the goal was at a perfect height for Jenny Higgins to leap off the ground over her marker and touch it into the far corner of the net.

  Late scores from Finan and Tully added further flourish to the scoreboard, and proved that while it’s been a comparatively easy run to the last four for the team, they certainly won’t lack for form or confidence when they step up in class against Meath in nine days’ time.

 

Roscommon: Helena Cummins; Honor Ennis, Amanda McLoone, Niamh Feeney; Joanne Cregg, Alice Kelly, Sorcha Bruen; Sinéad Kenny, Laura Fleming (0-2); Natalie McHugh (0-1), Róisín Wynne (0-2), Siobhán Tully (0-1); Rebecca Finan (0-9, 6 frees), Aimee O’Connor (1-1), Rachel Fitzmaurice (0-1).

Subs: Alannah Hanmore for Fitzmaurice (half-time), Jenny Higgins (1-1) for O’Connor (37), R. Brady for Tully (60), Katie Daly for McHugh (60)

 

Kildare: Dervla McGinn; Shauna Kendrick, Trina Duggan, Rachel Cribbin; Claire Sullivan, Sarah Munnelly, Lauren Murtagh (0-1); Siobhán O’Sullivan (0-1), Grace Clifford; Lara Curran, Neasa Dooley (1-1), Aoife Rattigan; Orlaith Sullivan (0-4, 1 free), Molly Price (0-2), Ellen Dowling (1-1).

Subs: Emma Carroll for Murtagh (43), Emily Birch for Rattigan (47), Sally Murphy for Dowling (54), Mikaela McKenna for Curran (60), Rachel Corrigan for Sullivan (60).

Referee: Mel Kenny (Mayo)

 

Seamus Duke on sport - August 9th

 

 

Plenty of criticism for Super 8s!

There has been much criticism of the Super 8s series since the weekend and certainly events in Omagh didn’t help. The fact that Tyrone did not name even one of their starting 15 against Dublin made that fixture a farce. Mickey Harte decided that he was happy enough to take his chances against Kerry in an All-Ireland semi-final, simple as that.

  There must be a way of tweaking the competition so that what happened last weekend in Omagh (and Pairc Ui Rinn where there were only 2,400 people) does not happen again. National League games are far more important than the two games on Sunday and that should not be happening at the latter stages of the championship.

 However, on Saturday night we had a real championship battle as Mayo deservedly overcame a very disappointing Donegal side in Castlebar. You have to hand it to Mayo, I was one who didn’t think they would win on Saturday night last but they got stuck in from the very first whistle and Donegal didn’t know what hit them.

  I want to pick out two Mayo players for special mention: Paddy Durkan is a real Rolls Royce player. He was out injured for a while this year but when he is fully fit he is some asset to Mayo. He links the play brilliantly and there is never a big game that goes by that he doesn’t score two or three points from play. He reminds me of Tomas Ó Sé in his hey-day. I cannot give him any more praise than that. Andy Moran was phenomenal last Saturday again. He won every ball kicked in his direction and scored a couple of mighty points. What an inspirational player he is.

  Playing against Dublin is a completely different ball game for Mayo but I never thought that they could get this far in the championship.

  One aspect of this new condensed season is that fact that the four teams have only a week to prepare for an All-Ireland SFC semi-final which is desperately unfair. It’s like the GAA want to just get it out of the way as quickly as possible.

  I also support those who are bitterly opposed to the GAA selling the broadcast rights to their games to Sky TV (or any other subscription channel). Last weekend the biggest championship game of the summer was played in Castlebar yet hundreds of thousands of people were not able to see it. The GAA is a community based amateur organisation. This must not be allowed to happen again. After RTÉ, give the rights to TV3 or TG4 where people can see the matches.

 

Rossies end 2019 campaign on a high

So the Super 8s have come to an end for another year. I couldn’t make it to Cork because of a family event, but I was able to see the game and although it was played in very poor conditions and in front of a paltry crowd, it was very enjoyable and the effort of both sides could not be questioned.

  Roscommon started badly but they recovered and were always in the hunt. The last time the Rossies were in Pairc Ui Runn they scored four goals and they did it again on Sunday and I was very impressed with Brian Stack who, apart from the fact he scored two fine goals, played really well and it’s good to see him back to his best form. Enda Smith was also very effective and scored the best goal of the game. Shane Killoran had another great outing at midfield and Niall Daly was doing well until he got a very harsh black card.

  It was certainly a far better game than “The Coma in Omagh” which I had on at the same time. I heard the Roscommon v Cork game described as the best in the Super 8s this year, and while I certainly wouldn’t go that far, it was a great way for Roscommon to end their year which overall has been a great success.

  It’s down to a couple of frantic weeks of club action now and hopefully in 2020 promotion back to Division One, and another crack at the Connacht championship will be on the menu.

 

Sporting Snippets

 

The English Premier League season begins again this coming weekend and nothing has happened over the summer to suggest that the power base will lie with any clubs other than Manchester City and Liverpool. There is been a lot of chat about Manchester United but I remain to be convinced.

  Shane Lowry and Tiger Woods are back playing golf this week as the Fed-Ex Cup play-offs begin on the PGA Tour.

  Meanwhile, it’s hard to believe it but the preparations for the forthcoming Rugby World Cup moves up several steps when Ireland take on Italy at the Aviva Stadium this weekend. There will be intense speculation as to what starting fifteen Joe Schmidt will go with to commence his preparations. Will Jack Carty get a chance?

  Here in Roscommon, the final round of league games in football will be played this coming weekend. The semi-final pairings in the O’Rourke, O’Gara and Tansey Cups will be decided and it will be a final chance for club team managers to look at their teams ahead of the start of the championships the following weekend. It should be interesting!

 

Cork youngsters seriously impressive

 

Just a short note about the Cork U-20 footballers. I watched the All-Ireland final against Dublin on Saturday last (a candidate for game of the year?) and they came from nine points down to sweep past a fancied Dubs team to take the title in style. What impressed me about Cork was they have a number of very big, extremely skilful and pacy players. It was the third time I saw them playing on TV this summer and they are a seriously impressive outfit. If these lads are properly looked after then Cork football will be back on top very soon.

 

Mixed fortunes for Ladies footballers

 

It was a mixed weekend for Ladies Football in the county. In Ballinasloe on Saturday the minors started slowly and paid the price in the All-Ireland final against Longford although a soft penalty award against the Rossies was the deciding incident in the end.

  However, the sadness didn’t last long as Michael Finneran’s Intermediate ladies team turned in a splendid high-scoring display against Kildare in the All-Ireland quarter-final on Sunday. Roscommon now face tournament favourites Tipperary in the semi-finals but this is a game that Roscommon can certainly win. Tipp were less than convincing in their two-point win against Clare last Sunday and Roscommon have an attack that can trouble any team left in this competition.

 

All-Ireland SFC Semi-Finals at Croke Park

 

Mayo v Dublin on Saturday at 5 pm

 

Mayo have defied the odds so many times in recent years it would be very foolish to write them off together. They certainly reserved their best championship performance of the year for last Saturday night’s showdown against Donegal. A lot of their top players are back from injury and they have an inner belief that is hard to compete against.

  However, they are moving up several steps in class this weekend. Jim Gavin may have left a lot of his best players at home last weekend but he won’t be doing that on Saturday. Mayo followers will be delighted that I am going to tip against them again but I cannot see Mayo (or anyone else) coming near this Dublin team. The Dubs will pull away in the final quarter.

Prediction: Dublin

 

Tyrone v Kerry on Sunday at 3.30 pm

 

This is a very tight call. At various times this summer Kerry looked by far the most likely team to knock Dublin off their perch, but at other times they have looked a very ordinary side. They have a class attacking unit but doubts persist over their defence.

  Tyrone may not be in Dublin’s class but they have the players and the system to stifle Kerry. There will not be any more than a couple of points in it but I fancy Tyrone to make it a repeat All-Ireland final pairing this year.

Prediction: Tyrone

 

 

 

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