Brilliant Boyle too good for Gaels

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC (Section B)

Boyle 2-16 Roscommon Gaels 0-13

Greater composure up front allied to superior firepower proved decisive as Boyle opened their 2021 senior championship campaign with a comfortable win against a battling Roscommon Gaels side.

On a damp evening in Boyle, the sides shared four points in the opening ten minutes. Boyle then upped the ante and hit the Gaels with 1-4 without reply in the next six minutes, establishing a firm foothold in the match.

In the 11th minute a super pass from Colin O’Sullivan was finished to the net by Cathal Feeley, and there were points from Cian McKeon, Donie Smith (free), Jack Moran and Enda Smith to open up a seven-point gap.

The Gaels had plenty of possession, and Kieran Kilcline, Cathal Dineen, John McManus and Mark Healy were doing well for Decie Hoare’s men. However, they missed a gilt-edged goal chance in the 14th minute when Brian Kelly rounded Robert Kearney in the Boyle goal, but with the empty net gaping, his effort hit the butt of the post. It was one of four good goal chances spurned by the Gaels on the night. A more clinical Boyle went in at half-time leading by 1-8 to 0-5.

The Gaels were better in the third quarter and they kicked three of the first four points of the half, but Boyle were simply more economical and accurate in attack. With Enda Smith a powerhouse at midfield, Daire Cregg, Cian McKeon and Donie Smith were able to get the scores needed to keep the county town team at arm’s length.

The Gaels’ best player, Kieran Kilcline, missed two further goal chances in the second half, and with goalkeeper James Fetherstone up the field in injury-time, the ball broke to Daire Cregg and the U-20 star coolly produced an opportunist goal, kicking the ball to the empty net from 30 metres.

The biggest cheer of the night came right on the final whistle when veteran Seanie Purcell (a sub) galloped forward to kick over the final point of the game.

Boyle look very strong up front, but there would still be question marks over their defence. As for Roscommon Gaels, if they’re to progress they will need to be more productive in attack, and the return of Peter Gillooly in the coming weeks will be vital for them in that regard.

Boyle: Robert Kearney; Killian Cox (0-1), Ryan Finneran, Conor Flanagan; Evan McGrath, Tadhg Lowe, Luke Glennon; Enda Smith (0-1), Kieran Cox; Cathal Feely (1-1), Cian McKeon (0-3, 2 frees), Daire Cregg (1-3); Jack Moran (0-2, 1 mark), Donie Smith (0-3, 1 free), Colin O’Sullivan. Subs: Sean Purcell (0-1) for Glennon (40), Colin Goldrick (0-1) for O’Sullivan (40), Mark O’Connor for Feely (54).

Roscommon Gaels: James Fetherstone; Danny Mahon, Tim Lambe, Ronan Gleeson; Cathal Dineen, John McManus, Kieran Kilcline (0-5, 3 frees); David O’Gara, Richard Hughes (0-2); Richard Walsh, Brian Kelly (0-2, 1 ’45), Aodha Hession; Orin Walsh, Mark Healy (0-2), Mark Purcell (0-2, frees). Subs: Brian O’Malley for R Walsh (25), Oliver Hannon for R Gleeson (50).

Referee: Aaron Clogher.