Brave Rossies bow out to classy Kingdom

Electric Ireland 2020 All-Ireland MFC Semi-Final

Kerry 3-21  Roscommon 2-13

On the face of it an 11-point loss doesn’t look good in black and white but behind that final scoreline was a courageous and resilient performance from a Roscommon team who simply would not lie down and who kept coming back regardless of the odds. But at the end of the day they were beaten by a Kerry team who were just that little bit classier around the field and especially in attack.

Roscommon manager, Emmett Durney, was understandably proud of his charges at the full-time whistle.

“We are very disappointed. We got off to a good start and we settled into the game well but the couple of injuries we had going into the match caught up with us. Oisin Cregg and Aaron Shannon were both carrying injuries and it showed in both players. The black card and conceding those scores before half-time was also crucial,” he said.

“I’m hugely proud of these young lads. They kept going right to the end. But look, if you go down a man in an All-Ireland semi-final you will get punished and that’s what happened today. It put us on the back foot unfortunately.

“But we never threw in the towel and in fairness to them, they carried the game to Kerry and we had a few more goal chances that we were unlucky with near the end. We never gave up and these lads were a credit to their families, to their clubs and their county. It just wasn’t to be and good luck to Kerry, they are a fine side,” he concluded.

  Having waited six months since claiming their respective provincial titles, this was a chance for these young players to show their skills on the All-Ireland stage and they provided the 500 spectators with a very entertaining spectacle.

Played in warm weather at the magnificent LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, the opening quarter was well contested. Roscommon began on the front foot and hit the first three points of the game from Eoin Colleran (2 frees) and Colm Neary. But Kerry edged their way back into the game and the supremely talented Keith Evans finished a brilliant team move in the 8th minute for a great goal.

The sides were evenly matched at that stage and in the 18th minute it was 0-6 to 1-3 but it was after the water break that things began to fall apart for Roscommon. Darragh O’Sullivan rattled home Kerry’s second goal after a poor kick out from David Farrell and then Aaron Shannon was mysteriously black carded by referee Sean Lonergan for an off the ball incident.

Roscommon did score a super goal in the 19th minute from Ryan Conlon but Kerry made their numerical advantage pay before half-time as they kicked seven points without reply to open up a significant gap. Eoin Colleran did point for Roscommon in first-half injury-time but at the break it was Kerry 2-10 Roscommon 1-7.

Conor Hand, Caelim Keogh and Darren Gately were outstanding for Roscommon. Nevertheless, Kerry, led by man of the match Keith Evans, Cian McMahon, and Paudie O’Leary, were the better team in the third quarter and by the 46th minute they led by 2-17 to 1-10.

  But Roscommon had another kick in them. Gately scored a superb point and Conor Hand blasted home another peach of a goal in the 49th minute, and when the same player pointed a minute later the gap was down to five (2-17 to 2-12).

The Kerry response was clinical, however. In the 52nd minute they were awarded a close-range free but rather than take the simple point, Darragh O’Sullivan played a clever pass to Cian McMahon who almost took the net of the stanchion, such was the power of his shot, for an opportunist goal. Now it was game, set and match to the Kingdom.

Roscommon can look back on their performance with much to be positive about. To score 2-13 against such an accomplished team was a super achievement and some of their scores were out of the top drawer. Emmett Durney and his players left Limerick on Sunday evening with their heads held high. Kerry play Derry in the 2020 All-Ireland minor final this weekend.