THE PEOPLE’S FEATURED MATCH
Hodson Bay Roscommon SFC (Group C)
Oran 5-13 St Croan’s 0-9
The hardest thing to do in any sport for an emerging team is to maintain momentum and follow one great win with another. That however is exactly what Oran did in this very one-sided match played in Rockfield last Sunday.
The local club left no stone unturned in their preparations for their first senior football championship game at the venue in almost a quarter of a century. Their team didn’t let them down either as Oran totally dominated a St. Croan’s side who were game to the end yet outclassed from pillar to post.
Oran simply had too much quality for their opponents all over the field, and, on the basis of this performance, it will take a good team to knock Billy Donnellan’s men off their perch. They set about Croan’s from the first whistle.
Ciaran Lawless and Aidan Brogan (free) exchanged points in the opening four minutes, but the signs were ominous for the Croan’s men early in the contest. Darragh Walsh (0-2, 1 free), Kieran Whyte and Colin Walsh added points to open a four-point gap by the 7th minute. Oran were finding their men easily with intelligent diagonal passing and the scores began to pile up as the match progressed.
Richie Thomson kicked a long-range free for St. Croan’s in the 12th minute, but it was only a drop in the ocean for them as the home side drove forward relentlessly. In the 20th minute Charlie Carthy punched home a Ciaran Lawless long ball from out on the right. Worse was to come for Croan’s in the 25th minute when Vinny Egan’s misdirected kick-out was returned to the empty net by Ciaran Lawless. By half-time it was ‘game over’ territory, Oran leading by 2-8 to 0-2.
St. Croan’s opened the second-half scoring with a Keith Muldoon point, but the home side kept their foot on the accelerator and their third goal came in the 34th minute through Ciaran Lawless. It followed a great team move. St. Croan’s’ best player on the day, Aidan Brogan, had a good tussle with Tom Fetherston all through, but elsewhere it was Oran on top in all sectors.
Billy Donnellan ran his bench late on and there were some very impressive cameos there too. Ciaran Casey tapped home Oran’s fourth goal in the 54th minute, another sub, Mark Gunning, scored the fifth in the 60th minute, and a third, the very experienced Mike Dwyer, chipped in with a great point.
It was another very impressive performance from Oran. They are through to the quarter-finals on merit and on the back of two excellent performances. However, there are much bigger tests ahead. Cathal Kenny, Colin Walsh, Gearoid Keenan, Ciaran Lawless, Charlie Carthy and Darragh Walsh were their stand-out performers.
For St. Croan’s, this wasn’t a good day out and now they will have to set their sights on a relegation battle. On the evidence of this display they will have to pull a major rabbit out if they are to avoid the trap door this year. Mike Holland, Ger Connaughton and Aidan Brogan battled away, but they were fighting a lost cause.
Oran: Paul Brandon: Jack Casey, Tom Fetherston, Kevin Concannon; Eoghan Grady, Colin Walsh (0-1), Cathal Kenny; Connie Regan, Gearoid Keenan; Ciaran Lawless (2-4), Darragh Walsh (0-3, 1 free), Kieran Whyte (0-2); Charlie Carthy (1-1), Paul Kenny, James Fitzpatrick (0-1). Subs: Jack Earley for Paul Kenny (24), Mike Dwyer (0-1) for Concannon (38), Mark Gunning (1-0) for Grady (46), Ciaran Casey (1-0) for Carthy (46).
St Croan’s: Vinny Egan; Mark Kilcommons, Gregory Grogan, Jason Egan; Ger Connaughton, Dan Malone, Gerard Leech; Richie Thompson (0-2, 1 free, ’45), Dean Muldoon; Oisin Egan, Aidan Brogan (0-6, 4 frees), Cathal Connelly; Kevin Lambert, Mike Holland, Keith Muldoon (0-1). Subs: Kevin Smyth for Leech (h/t), Ethan Hoban for O Egan (38), David Hussey for V Egan (50).
Referee: Aaron Clogher.
Man of the Match: Ciaran Lawless (Oran)