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McNeill hoping Gaels can rise to occasion

 

 

 

Liam McNeill was already a Roscommon Gaels legend before he took on the job of managing the senior team. In each of his five years he has watched his side miss out at the latter stages of the championship. Two years ago they were pipped in the final by St. Brigid’s and last year they lost to Clann by a single point in the semi-final.

  His charges have been impressive this year, remaining unbeaten on their way to Sunday’s final. However, the former midfielder knows that Pádraig Pearses will pose a significant challenge for the town side as they attempt to bridge a 15-year gap since they last won the Fahey Cup in 2004.

  “We’ve played a lot of hard games and you need a few breaks along the way. We had a lot of injuries in our first game against Strokestown but as the weeks have gone by, the injuries seemed to have cleared up. A few lads were away through their careers and college, but we have them back now and hopefully we can get them to a level of fitness that will suffice,” he said.

  Liam doesn’t agree that losses in the recent past will affect this Gaels team.

  “I don’t buy into the theory that losing a final is a bad experience. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Brigid’s won an All-Ireland title and Clann na nGael have won a few county championships but those teams endured knocks along the way.

  “From my own experience, when I won my first county title as a player I had had four or five tough years before that. Winning finals doesn’t come easy. You’re handed a medal for a reason, it’s because you earned it over a period of time.

  “When we started off this project, the first aim was to get competitive again. Mike Ryan and Mike McHale had done great work to get us out of the intermediate league. They took the baton when we were at a very low ebb. They got us back playing senior league. David Kelly stepped in and brought us back to being competitive in the senior championship. The baton was passed on to me then, and we’ve stayed competitive. We’ve probably upped it a little bit every year, and hopefully we might up it a bit more this year”.

  The Gaels committed to bringing home Scott Oates and Cian Connolly from Dubai for their championship games this year. Liam says that the players concerned are giving massive commitment to the cause.

  “It’s unbelievable what the lads have committed to. Once the game is over, they’re back in a car and on to a plane, 11 or 12 hours travelling and straight into school to do a full day’s work. They might get to bed on a Sunday or Monday evening after 35-40 hours on the go. They’ve been brilliant,” he said.

  McNeill also has huge respect for Sunday’s opponents from Taughmaconnell and Moore.

  “They are a phenomenal team. They’re just so far ahead of where they were 12 months ago. They’ve a super manager, they’re very well coached and have huge experience. Five of their team were on the Roscommon team that won a Connacht final against Galway. That experience is invaluable. They’re very strong and physical, but they can also play football. They’ve racked up huge scores this year,” he said.

  Liam added that he believes that all the experiences over the past few years have stood to him personally.

  “I think every experience makes you better. We were fierce disappointed to lose to Clann last year, but that stands to players and management. Maybe you’ll deal with situations differently than you did twelve months previously. I’m very lucky to have a very good management team behind me but once the lads cross the white line, the baton is passed to them and they take over.

  “Having said that, if we don’t improve by 30 or 40 per cent this Sunday, we won’t win. Pearses have beaten Brigid’s in a tough quarter-final, they beat Boyle in a tough semi-final, and they’ll be a better team again on Sunday. If we don’t improve, we’ll be found wanting and we’ll come up short,” he concluded.

 

 

Daly star to cap year to remember?

 

 

All Star nominee Niall Daly is hoping to cap a year to remember by helping Pádraig Pearses to their first ever senior county title.

  When he spoke to the press at the club’s recent press night, Niall said that when Pearses lost to neighbour Clann na nGael, it was “the making of the team”.

  “Looking back on the championship I would say that losing to Clann was the making of us this year. We learned a lot from that game. We had a lot of harsh words in the dressing room after that game which was probably no harm. We had a good hard look at ourselves that Sunday evening and we went out against Brigid’s after that and produced a decent performance.

  The star defender has enjoyed the non-stop football action this season. “This year’s club championship has taken on a life of its own. It’s been so short and played off so quickly; we have been playing almost every week. It’s a format I like. There is not much training between games and like most players I prefer to be playing games. It’s a matter of trying to stay in shape and get out on the field in the best way possible for every game.

  Looking ahead to Sunday, Niall said: “The Gaels will be a huge challenge for us. They have so many great players like Davy O’Gara, Scottie Oates, Cian Connolly, and Mark Healy and they have some good young players too like Peter Gillooly and Tim Lambe, so we are going to have to be really on our game to be competitive with them”.

 

Seamus Duke on sport - October 11th

 

Who will reign supreme in Roscommon?

 

I love county senior football final day. The match itself is often a disappointment but that never matters to the team that wins it. Last year’s final was a wonderful, attacking, high-scoring game. So what can we expect this year? I have previewed the game itself elsewhere in the paper but when your own club is involved it is a very exciting day.

  Roscommon Gaels have been struggling at senior level for more than a decade, however in the past five years they have been very competitive and naturally I will be hoping that they can get over the line this time around.

  However, I don’t think anyone would begrudge Pádraig Pearses a first ever title and if they are good enough to win it then good luck to them.

  Sitting in the press box on Sunday, it will be hard for the eyes not to stray over the wall at the graveyard end of the ground and think of the many great people who served Roscommon Gaels over the years - both on and off the field - who have gone to their eternal reward. They include my own late father who was chairman of the club when he passed away in 1971.

  I will also be thinking about the many great players who have represented the club over the decades and won senior championships including my two brothers, Frank and Declan. But time moves on, and the heroes of today will be attempting to write their own piece of history. Sport, like life moves on and tomorrow we will have new heroes to look back on and that’s the way it should be. But the big question is, who will those heroes be? Sunday will tell the tale.

 

Controversy in Doha as crowds steer clear

 

It’s so very disappointing when sport is dragged through the mire of controversy and corruption, and unfortunately that has happened a number of sports in recent weeks and years.

  In athletics, the World Championships have been taking place in Doha for the past two weeks. The vast stadium was empty almost every day for the championships and it turns out that there was little or no public interest in Qatar.

  Worse still, the powers that be allowed the championships to take place where the conditions for the athletes were totally unsuitable and put the health of the athletes at risk. All the long distance races had to be held at midnight because of the heat and humidity. Clearly Doha was given the championships because they had the biggest chequebook.

  Remember too that the World Cup is due to be held there in 2022. Not alone is Qatar an unsuitable venue for the competition, the whole soccer season has been changed around the world so it can be held in December. It’s a joke.

  All predictions are that the crowds will be very small and the public interest will be minimal. But again, the biggest chequebook wins out in the end.

  There is also a cloud of suspicion surrounding some of the big athletics winners after the Alberto Salazar controversy as the coach was sent home in disgrace from the championships amid drug-taking allegations.  

  From an Irish point of view, there was a positive note however, as Ciara Mageean was a breath of fresh air following her 10th place finish in the 1,500 meters. She was so positive and so happy to have been in the final it was brilliant to see. Her interview after the final was superb. She was a beacon of light amidst the dark clouds surrounding the championships as a whole.

 

Four Roads back on top!

 

Well done to Four Roads on winning the Senior Hurling Championship last Sunday. Since the start of this year Joe Mannion’s side looked the title favourites and there was a spring in their step all year long. It was another great win for experienced lads like Jamie Lawlor, Noel Fallon, Micheal Kelly and Shane Curley and they are now club legends with a slew of county senior medals to their name.

  Athleague were great champions but it wasn’t their day. Seamus Qualter is a great hurling man and they won’t be forgetting 2018 in a hurry. They have lots of good, young hurlers and they will be back for sure.

  Even though it was a one-sided match it was a very enjoyable day in Athleague as usual and a word of thanks to the Roscommon Hurling Board for their kindness and co-operation all year.

Ireland set for must-win Samoan test

 

This Saturday (typhoon permitting), Ireland will line up against Samoa in a must-win game to finish their pool in the Rugby World Cup. They should win and make it through one way or the other but I fear that the next game in the quarter-final is where the journey will end for Joe Schmidt’s men.

  When they played Russia last week they looked as if the shock of losing to Japan was still in their system and their confidence has been hit by that loss. I am banking on Japan beating Scotland in the other game in the group and if that happens Ireland will be facing the All Blacks in the quarter-finals. Not the most appetising prospect!

  So far the only teams that might pose a threat to the All Blacks are England and South Africa. There is still a lot of rugby to be played yet though.

Rossies face tough league campaign

 

In the next few weeks the Roscommon footballers will be back training again for the new season which is hard to believe. The league fixtures for Division Two were leaked at the weekend, and, if correct, Roscommon will have four tricky away games against Kildare, Fermanagh, Armagh and Cavan. Roscommon will be expected to emerge from Division Two again but if that set of fixtures is right then it will not be easy at all. Three away trips to Ulster and one to Kildare. It will be a big test for sure. The only consolation is that the three home games look very winnable.

  In the Connacht championship, assuming that Roscommon are able to beat London, it looks like Roscommon v Mayo in the Connacht semi-final. The big question now is whether Dr. Hyde Park be ready for that big game!

 

From bad to worse at United…

 

The situation at Manchester United continues to get worse as each week goes by. I feel sorry for Solskjaer; he is a nice guy but he seems to be lurching from one crisis to another. The bottom line is that United’s players are not good enough and even St. Peter himself would not be able to manage that Manchester United team at the moment.

  The midfield trio last weekend against Newcastle were McTominay, Pereira, and Fred. That is possibly the weakest trio that I have ever seen play midfield for the club and I am following them since I was a child.

  Rashford is only a young player and is now one of the regulars, but he needs to be left on the sideline for a while. His form is gone completely, but the amazing thing is United have no one else to put in his place.

  There is even worse on the way because United face Liverpool at Old Trafford in their next league game. The way the season is going Liverpool will blow them away. Solskjaer will certainly be under pressure then. I hope that he walks away because I would hate to see him get sacked. The club are being mis-managed into oblivion the way it’s going.

  At the other end of the table, Liverpool are now winning games that Manchester United used to win for over 20 years. Goalkeeping errors, late penalties and brilliant attacking play have all been features of their league campaign so far. There have only been eight games played so far but even at this stage ‘The Pool’ can afford to lose three games and still they would win the title. After 30 years it looks like the famine is over.

 

Four Roads favourites for camogie title

 

 

 

Roscommon Senior Camogie ‘A’ Championship Final

 

 

St. Dominic’s v Four Roads on Saturday in Athleague at 4.30 pm

 

 

The Four Roads/Athleague stranglehold on finals day in camogie has been broken as St. Dominic’s are the new kids on the block this year. They earned their place in the decider following an impressive win against Athleague in the semi-final and are certainly there on merit.

  The Knockcroghery side has some outstanding performers like Caroline Connaughton, Susan Spillane, Joanne Beattie and Kathy Dervan. John Haughey’s charges will be hoping to cause a surprise with their blend of youth and experience.

  But Four Roads are the deserved favourites. The likes of Siobhan Coyle, Lizzie Glennon, Shauna Fallon, Gertie Dowd and Sinead O’Brien have been around for many years and they have experienced players in every line. They have also introduced a number of talented young players to their squad this year. It would be a surprise if Dominic’s were to triumph and provided Four Roads are not complacent they should win another title.

Prediction: Four Roads

 

The ‘B’ final will take place on Saturday between Athleague and Pádraig Pearses at 2.30 pm.

 

NFL and Championship fixtures revealed

 

 

 

Rossies could face Mayo at the Hyde

 

Roscommon’s opponents in both the National Football League Division Two and the Connacht Senior Football Championship have been revealed.

  Roscommon will face four away games in the 2020 Allianz National Football League Division Two campaign while a potential championship semi-final against Mayo looms later in the year.

  Roscommon will start their league campaign on Sunday, January 26th against newly promoted Laois at Dr. Hyde Park. Then on Sunday, February 2nd it’s an away trip to face Fermanagh followed on Sunday, February 9th with a home game against Clare.

  Anthony Cunningham’s men will play Kildare away on Sunday, February 23rd followed by a home game against Westmeath on Sunday, March 1st. The campaign will finish with two away games against Armagh on March 15th and Cavan on March 22nd.

  Meanwhile in the Connacht Senior Football Championship, provided the Primrose and Blue overcome London in Ruislip in the quarter-finals, they will then face the winners of Mayo and Leitrim in the provincial semi-finals.

  On the other side of the draw, Galway travel to New York with the winners facing Sligo in the semi-final.

  If Roscommon and Mayo emerge from their respective games the semi-final between the two will be fixed for Dr. Hyde Park, which will mean that the planned works at the ground will have to be completed by the middle of May 2020.

 

 

 

Dooner's wekend predictions - October 11th

 

 

It’s already beginning to look a little ominous for those hoping to dethrone St. Peter’s this season. The Athlone side enjoyed a comfortable victory away to Boyle Celtic last weekend and are expected to maintain their 100% record this Sunday.

 

Friday, October 11th

RDFL Premier Division

Kilkerrin United v Ballinasloe Town. 8 pm

The Town did well to come away with all three points last weekend and will be favourites on Friday night.

Prediction: Ballinasloe Town

RDFL First Division

Castlerea Celtic B v Roscommon United. 8 pm

The hosts beat this Friday’s opponents to the Division Two title last season but United have improved since then.

Prediction: Draw

RDFL Second Division (8 pm)

Moore United B v St. John’s Athletic B

Home win.

Prediction: Moore United B

Glen Celtic v Skyvalley Rovers B

Celtic were in devastating form last weekend and are tipped to keep their run going.

Prediction: Glen Celtic

Ballymoe FC B v Ballaghaderreen FC B

Away win.

Prediction: Ballaghaderreen FC B

 

Saturday, October 12th

RDFL Premier Division

Boyle Celtic v Moore United. 8.15 pm

Boyle should bounce back from last weekend’s disappointment.

Prediction: Boyle Celtic

 

Sunday, October 13th

RDFL Premier Division

St. John’s Athletic FC v Skyvalley Rovers. 11 am

This promises to be an interesting game. St. John’s were a little unlucky last weekend but are favourites this Sunday.

Prediction: St. John’s Athletic

Shiven Rovers v Castlerea Celtic. 2 pm

The visitors should remain unbeaten. Prediction: Castlerea Celtic

St. Peter’s FC v Ballymoe FC. 2 pm

The Athlone side are gaining momentum.

Prediction: St. Peter’s FC

RDFL First Division

Cam Celtic v Rahara Rovers. 11 am

Rovers are slight favourites to take all three points.

Prediction: Rahara Rovers

Dunmore Town v Dysart FC. 2 pm

The visitors will maintain their 100% record.

Prediction: Dysart FC

Ahascragh United v CP Ajax 2 pm

The Castleplunkett side to win.

Prediction: CP Ajax

Cloonfad United v Ballaghaderreen FC. 2 pm

A tricky test for the league leaders.

Prediction: Cloonfad United

RDFL Second Division

St. Cuan’s United v Ballinasloe Town B. 11 am

The visitors will be hoping to keep pace with Glen Celtic and Skyvalley Rovers.

Prediction: Ballinasloe Town B

Manor United v Boyle Celtic B. 2 pm

Away win.

Prediction: Boyle Celtic B

Roscommon United B v Cloonfad United B. 2 pm

The hosts are certainly improving with each outing but Cloonfad start as favourites this weekend.

Prediction: Cloonfad United B

 

Local handball success stories!

 

 

 

 

 

It has been an exciting and ultimately successful couple of weeks for handball in the county. Last Sunday, Rory Carthy and Carragh Kennedy took home All-Ireland 60x30 titles while the week before Mount Talbot Handball Club celebrated ten years in existence.

  Rory, a member of St. Coman’s Handball Club, became the first Roscommon player to win the Boys’ U-14 title since his clubmate Damien Martin twenty years ago.

  Rory outclassed his Wexford opponent Conor Creane in two straight games last Sunday but the title was arguably won in the semi-finals, when Rory knocked out tournament favourite, Gary McAleer of Tyrone.

  Following Rory’s impressive win, his training partner, Carragh Kennedy, added the Girls’ U-15 60x30 title to the 40x20 crown she had won earlier in the year.

  Carragh stamped her authority on last Sunday’s final against Una Brophy of Laois and was very impressive as she stormed to a 15-0, 15-8 win.

  Elsewhere, Mount Talbot Handball Club celebrated its ten-year anniversary with a terrific few days of handball recently.

  Ballintleva NS retained the Annual National Schools Competition against a battling Mount Talbot NS team on Thursday, September 26th before the Club Championship Finals took place on Sunday, September 29th.

  The Mount Talbot alleys, which had recently been refurbished, played host to a number of fantastic matches throughout the day.

  In the Juvenile Boys Singles, Ciaran Keane overcame Luke Tully in a tight final, while Lucy Coyle defeated Siobhan Keane in the girls’ decider. Ciaran Keane then teamed up with Sean Treacy to claim the Juvenile Mixed Doubles against Eoin Mulry and Eoin Treacy.

  The Tim Cormican Perpetual Cup Ladies Open was won by Catherine Keane who overcame Lisa Holland 15-13 in the decider.

  Liam Ó Ceallaigh and John Paul O’Connor then went head to head in the final of the Martin Turley Perpetual Cup with Liam coming out on top 21-5.

  Liam wasn’t finished there. He teamed up with Liam Cormican in the 60x30 Doubles and they did just enough to defeat Coman Coyle and Mike Holland 21-19 in the final.

  It has been a busy and successful ten years at Mount Talbot Handball Club with adult and juvenile players capturing numerous national, provincial and county titles in Onewall, 40x20, and 60x30.

  Mount Talbot also runs a very successful annual Onewall Tournament each year with the tenth instalment set to take place next summer. The club also received the All-Ireland Club of the Year title in 2012 in what has been a very impressive first decade.

 

  

 

 

Pearses’ ‘12 apostles’ win chaotic encounter

 

 

Hodson Bay Hotel Group SFC Semi-Final

 

Pádraig Pearses 3-10

Boyle 1-14

 

It’s hard to know where to start when describing the second of the county SFC semi-finals in Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday last. It was entertaining at times but it was also chaotic, bizarre, infuriating and baffling. There were great scores, great saves, bad misses, defensive lapses and a dramatic finish, and at the centre of it all was referee Padraig Tiernan who sent off three Pearses players and booked at least eight more players on the day.

  Indeed there was a major controversy in the middle of the second half when the game was held up after a black card was shown to Lorcan Daly. Pearses put on a sub (Alan Duffy) but Boyle alleged that Daly was already booked (Pearses didn’t agree) and should have been shown a red after the black, and that no sub should have been allowed.  Eventually referee Tiernan ushered Duffy off the field. I have never seen that happen in any match before and it added to the chaos and the tension.

  However, the bottom line is that Pearses held on to beat Boyle with twelve men, and they deserved to do so as well. They were the better team on the balance of play and now they are in with a great chance of winning their first ever title when they play Roscommon Gaels in the final.

  The exchanges were lively from the opening whistle, and while Boyle had plenty of possession, Pearses were more dangerous going forward. It was 0-3 to 0-1 for Pat Flanagan’s men after the first quarter with Paul Carey kicking the pick of the scores in the 14th minute.

  After both sides has missed goal chances (Hubert Darcy for Pearses and Dylan East for Boyle), Ronan Daly scored a fine goal in the 19th minute. After another fine point from Carey, Pearses cut through the Boyle defence in the 25th minute, Darcy, sub Tom Butler and Ronan Daly were all involved before Butler fisted home. It was a great move and a fine team goal.

  Pearses were the better team but they were accumulating yellow cards at an alarming rate, (some of the very soft variety) and it was bound to cause a problem later in the game, and so it transpired. Boyle were actually not playing that badly. Tadgh McKenna, Seanie Purcell, Donie Smith and Cian McKeon were all doing well but they were not getting on the scoresheet often enough.

  Then in injury-time at the end of the first half Davy Murray was deemed to have committed a second yellow card offence and was shown red. A Donie Smith point from the resultant free left the score Pearses 2-5 Boyle 0-5 at the break.

  The second half was frantic, fractious, and dramatic. In the 39th minute Tom Butler’s shot came back off a post, but Ronan Daly was on hand to fist home Pearses’ third goal. However almost immediately Boyle were back in the contest when Tadgh McKenna did the hard work, and Mark O’Connor bundled the ball over the line.

  Sub Butler pointed from play in the 44th minute before Lorcan Daly saw black and it was from then on that there was non-stop controversy. When the game finally resumed following the black card rigmarole Pearses found themselves down to 13 men. Donie Smith pointed a free but Niall Daly (who was outstanding) answered that point with an excellent score from 30 metres. The sides were trading point for point, but Pearses remained six ahead. As the game entered injury-time Pearses led by 3-10 to 1-10, but Conor Daly was the latest Pearses player to be shown red for another second yellow offence.

  The final seven minutes saw the play restricted to a small area inside the Pearses 45-metre line as Boyle desperately tried to retrieve the situation against Pearses’ 12 ‘apostles’. In fairness to Done Smith, he did everything he could. He pointed two frees, and another from play and, added to a point from sub Gareth Gilmartin, they whittled the lead down to two. But Pearses were determined to hang on for dear life and after almost nine minutes of injury-time the siege was over.

  Despite all the controversy, Pearses were the best team on the day and deserved their win. However they will have to watch their discipline as they will need all their best players on the field for the full match in the final.

  Niall Daly was once against outstanding and he was well supported on the day by Ronan Daly, Paul Carey, Hubert Darcy, Conor Payne and sub Tom Butler. For a gallant Boyle, Tadgh McKenna and Seanie Purcell gave it everything in defence while Donie Smith and Cian McKeon tried everything they could in attack. It was not Enda Smith’s day. There were reports that he was ill and that may have affected his performance on the day. They needed him at full tilt but it was no to be.

  One more hurdle for Pearses to jump to re-write the history books. In their way are Roscommon Gaels. The best two teams in the championship are in the final now.

 

Pádraig Pearses: Paul Whelan; Shane Carty, Anthony Butler, Mark Richardson; Gavin Downey, David Murray, Ronan Daly (1-2); Niall Carty, Conor Daly (0-2); Paul Carey (0-2), Lorcan Daly, Niall Daly (0-1); Emmett Kelly (0-1), Hubert Darcy (1-1), Conor Payne. Subs: Tom Butler for Kelly (19), Shane Mulvey for Downey (61), Sean Ryan and Alan Duffy for Butler and Payne (67)

Boyle: Robert Kearney; Killian Cox, Conor Flanagan, Michael Hanmore; Evan McGrath, Sean Purcell, Tadgh McKenna; Enda Smith, Kieran Cox (0-1); Dylan East, Cian McKeon (0-5, 2 frees), Jim Suffin; Donie Smith (0-7, 6 frees), Mark O’Connor (1-0), Mark O’Donoghue. Subs: Roch Hanmore for ODonoghue (21), Seamus Keane for Kieran Cox (43), Gareth Gilmartin for Suffin (54), Colin Goldrick for O’Connor (60).

Referee: Padraig Tiernan

 

 

 

Room for improvement as Gaels reach final

 

 

 

Hodson Bay Hotel Group SFC
Semi-Final

Roscommon Gaels 1-13

Strokestown 0-10

 

 

They say that semi-finals are all about winning, and in that regard Roscommon Gaels did what they had to do. They zoomed into a ten point lead by the 8th minute of the second half and cruised home after that. However the town team will not need me to tell them that that they will need an improved performance if they want to get the Fahey Cup back in the county town for the winter.

  Liam McNeill’s men never looked like losing this semi-final, but as Ted Walsh often says when a good horse wins, they ‘idled in front’ and let Strokestown in for a few scores in the second half. But when Richard Hughes scored one of the best goals seen in the club championship for many a long day mid-way through the second half, it set seal on a comprehensive win for the Purple and Gold. Now Pádraig Pearses stand between them and a first title since 2004.

  It wasn’t a vintage display from the Gaels, but they were in control from the first whistle. Richard Hughes and Mark Healy were on the scoresheet with points inside the opening seven minutes as the pre-match favourites took advantage of the stiff breeze at their backs. In the 9th minute Colin Compton kicked over a smart point from 30 metres out, but incredibly it was to be Strokestown’s last score for over 30 minutes of play.

  Hughes, Kilcline, and David O’Gara bossed possession while John McManus and Paul Gleeson were keeping the back door firmly shut. Cian Connolly, Ronan Carolan, Peter Gillooly, Brian Kelly, Hughes, David O’Gara and Kieran Kilcline were all on the mark before half-time and all those scores came from play with the exception of a Brian Kelly free in the 25th minute. At half-time the Gaels led by 0-9 to 0-1.

  Brian Kelly and Tim Lambe added points on the restart to open up a ten-point gap by the 38th minute and even at that early stage the contest looked over. Maybe the Gaels players thought that too, and they took their foot off the accelerator. The result was never in doubt, but Strokestown got a bit more ball, and a few scores to boot. Sub Cian Corcoran Colin Compton (2) and Keelan Beirne were all on the mark, and by the 45th minute it was 0-12 to 0-6.

  But in the 49th minute we saw one of the goals of the year and a score that was worth the entrance fee alone. The ball ran loose to Richard Hughes 45 metres from goal. Instead of picking it up, he controlled it soccer-style, and dribbled into the heart of the Strokestown defence. He sold a dummy that Messi would be proud of before he blasted the ball high into the Strokestown net. It was a fantastic goal and deserving of winning any match.

  It was a matter of going through the motions after that. Colin Compton (2), Tony Lavin (a fisted effort) and Keelan Beirne all scored points for Nigel Dineen’s men, but the Gaels were already thinking about the final and they had the last word too when Mark Nally pointed a free in injury-time.

  For the Gaels, James Fetherstone, Paul Gleeson, Tim Lambe, John McManus, David O’Gara, Kieran Kilcline and the outstanding Richard Hughes were best on the day. For Strokestown, Paddy Brogan, David Neary, Colin Compton and sub Keelan Beirne were most prominent.

 

Roscommon Gaels: James Fetherstone; Paul Gleeson, John McManus, Mike McNeill; Tim Lambe (0-1), Richard Hughes (1-2), Kevin O’Gara; Kieran Kilcline (0-1), Mark Healy (0-1); Brian Kelly (0-2, 1 free), David O’Gara (0-1), Scott Oates; Peter Gillooly (0-1), Cian Connolly (0-2, 1 free), Ronan Carolan (0-1). Subs: Mark Nally (0-1, free) for Carolan (44), Orin Walsh for Oates (51), Cathal Dineen for Gilooly (59), Bryan O’Gara for Healy (61), James O’Gara for Connolly (62), Ronan Gleeson for Hughes (64).

Strokestown: John McHugh; Conor Kelly, Ruaidhri Molloy, Cathal Brogan; Dylan Owens, Michael Fallon, Kevin Shiel; Paddy Brogan, David Butler; Tony Lavin (0-1), Daniel Rogers, David Neary; Keith Murphy, Colin Compton (0-5, 3 frees), Diarmuid McGann (0-1). Subs: Cian Corcoran (0-1) for Kelly and Keelan Beirne (0-2 frees) for Molloy (h/t), Mikey Kavanagh for Sheil (43), Gerard Collins for D Rogers (62), Luke Kelly for Murphy (61).

Referee: Kevin Naughton (Clann na nGael)

 

Oran get another shot at glory

 

 

 

 

Mulryan Construction IFC Semi-Final

 

Oran 1-14

Castlerea St. Kevin’s 1-8

 

 

Oran will have another shot at intermediate glory after an impressive victory over Castlerea St. Kevin’s last Sunday afternoon. Castlerea were reduced to 14 men midway through the second half and that gave Oran the initiative and they always looked the likely victors from that point on.

  Darren McDermott opened his and Castlerea’s account with a free in the second minute whilst James Fitzpatrick got Oran off the mark shortly after with a well taken point. Ciaran Lawless put Oran ahead with a great point from distance before Castlerea had the game’s first big moment. A long ball into the Oran penalty area from Ronan Raftery found Colm McDermott who turned quickly and fired a shot into the bottom corner to leave Castlerea two points up after ten minutes.

  Castlerea will be disappointed that they couldn’t add a few more points and leave a bit of daylight between the sides after their goal. Oran did well to settle and two frees from Ciaran Lawless and Charlie Carthy left the sides level again after the first quarter.

  The sides then exchanged scores. A fine long-range point from Hugh Rooney for Castlerea was cancelled out by a free from Carthy shortly after. Castlerea did have a short purple patch just before half-time with three unanswered points in three minutes. A free from Ronan Raftery was followed up with great scores from Jack Keane and Seamus Stenson. Oran had a goal chance just before the break when Charlie Carthy was bearing down on the Castlerea goal however his shot went over the crossbar to leave Castlerea two up at the interval.

  It took Oran just five minutes of the second period to level the game up with two frees from the reliable duo of Ciaran Lawless and Charlie Carthy. The game’s big turning point however came in the 42nd minute when referee Brendan Healy decided to show Ronan Raftery of Castlerea a straight red card for an off the ball incident. Castlerea really struggled for the remainder of the game and were only able to add three more points to their tally.

  While it was mostly one-way traffic in the closing stages, the sides did exchange scores shortly after the red card through Kieran Whyte for Oran and a free from Darren McDermott for Castlerea, however this would be the last time the sides would be level in the match.

  Points from Gearoid Keenan, Kieran Whyte, Ciaran Lawless and Darragh Walsh left daylight between the sides before Whyte blasted the ball into the roof of the net to seal a place in the final for Oran. Jack Earley added a final point for Oran who will be looking forward to a second final in two years in less than three weeks’ time.

Oran: M Monaghan; J Martin, C Walsh, K Concannon; J Casey, E Grady, M Dwyer; J Regan, K Whyte (1-2); R Farrell, C Lawless (0-4, 3 frees), E Kenny; C Carthy (0-4, 3 frees), C Casey, J Fitzpatrick (0-1). Subs: J Earley (0-1) for Kenny (half-time), G Keenan (0-1) for C Casey (half-time), D Walsh (0-1) for Farrell (52), S Casey for Concannon (56), E Kenny for Keenan (60).

Castlerea St. Kevin’s: K Higgins; H Rooney (0-1), D Quinn, C McDermott (1-0); M Conroy, M Kelly, C Dineen; N Collins (0-1), E O’Connell; M Killelea, S Stenson (0-1), J Keane (0-1); N Bligh, R Raftery (0-1, 1 free), D McDermott (0-2, 1 free). Subs: A Lyons for Dineen (21), R Curran (0-1) for Bligh (46), A McDermott for Stenson (49), D Creaton for Killelea (54).

Referee: Brendan Healy

 

 

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