Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC Final
Pádraig Pearses 2-8 Clann na nGael 0-11
Pádraig Pearses came of age on Sunday last as they won their second senior title in three years – and thoroughly deserved to do so. Their experience, power, strength and excellent teamwork once again came to the fore with the eventual winners never allowing Clann to get into the game for any sustained period of time.
Pat Flanagan’s men started well, and although Clann threatened their dominance on a couple of occasions, they were never really in trouble and closed out the win in style, scoring two vital second-half goals just when they were needed.
There will be huge satisfaction down Taughmaconnell and Moore way this week after this superb win. Winning their first title in 2019 was a huge achievement, but winning a second title marks them out as a very good side and the dominant force in Roscommon club football right now.
As for Clann, they never really got going and couldn’t come to grips with the power of Pearses, particularly around the middle of the park. They were second best to most of the breaking balls and the likes of Ciaran Lennon never got the kind of ball that made him such a threat in this year’s championship.
Conditions were poor with the heavy rain starting to fall just as the ball was thrown in and the first half became a very scrappy affair as a result. But the game livened up considerably in the second half and full credit to the players on both sides for producing a decider that was always interesting.
Pearses began on the front foot and were much the better side in the early stages. Niall Daly and Paul Carey (a free) opened the scoring inside the first four minutes. Indeed Pearses could have recorded an early goal in the 5th minute when Lorcan Daly burst through, but his shot was well saved by Ronan O’Reilly.
Hubert Darcy then rifled over a super point from 40 metres before Clann opened their account when Ciaran Lennon pointed a free in the 7th minute. Niall and Conor Daly were dominating the midfield exchanges and it was Conor who fired over Pearses’ fourth point, in the 11th minute. The game became very scrappy after that and Pearses lost their way somewhat and were not to score again until the second half.
Clann were now getting a bit more possession and Ciaran Lennon converted two frees to send the teams in at half-time with Pearses leading by 0-4 to 0-3.
The second half was a much better spectacle. The very lively Paul Carey fisted over in the first minute following a super run, but Clann points from Lennon (a free) and a super long-range effort from Cathal Duignan suggested that we could have a closely fought finish.
Pearses were always playing the better football. In the 35th minute, Conor Lohan pounced when the ball was spilt by the Clann defence and he sent Paul Carey in on goal, the talented youngster finishing expertly. Lorcan Daly added a well-taken point soon after and the gap was now out to four.
Clann were struggling now and although Ultan Harney scored the point of the game in the 41st minute, Pearses were always that bit more clinical. Hubert Darcy and Carey (free) extended the margin to five by the end of the third quarter and now Clann’s backs were to the wall.
In fairness to Liam Kearns’ side, they produced their best football of the game when Dara Pettit, Shane Pettit and Ciaran Lennon (free) pointed without reply to reduce the margin to just two with seven minutes left – but Pearses always had an answer.
In the 58th minute, we witnessed a superb team goal when Lohan and Lorcan Daly set up Carey once again and he passed to unmarked sub Jack Tumulty who fisted to the empty net. Game, set and match, and no more than Pearses deserved.
Clann went down fighting with injury-time points from Ciaran Lennon and sub Josh Lennon but by that stage the red and white ribbons were being put on the Fahey Cup for its journey down south for the winter.
It was a very impressive show from Pearses who have improved with every game in the championship this year. They have an experienced and settled team full of excellent footballers.
On Sunday, Mark Richardson, Conor Lohan, David Murray, Niall Daly, Conor Daly, Hubert Darcy and Paul Carey were outstanding, with Niall Daly showing great leadership with a superb display in the middle of the field.
It was a disappointing day out for Clann who were strangely off colour. Dara Pettit, Jack Connaughton, Paddy Gavin, Oisin Lennon, David McManus and Ciaran Lennon were prominent but it was a day to forget for the men from Johnstown.
Now Pearses have a four-week break before the Connacht Club Championship. They could go very well in that competition.
Note: This county final was very well refereed by Patrick McTiernan.