Strokestown strike late to reach the last eight!

The People’s featured match

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC (Group A)

Strokestown 0-11    Pádraig Pearses 0-11

14-man Strokestown kicked two injury-time points to ensure their place in the quarter-finals on score difference following this very competitive round three clash played in perfect weather conditions in Kiltoom on Friday night.

Fionn Cusack received a black card in the 53rd minute and that, added to an earlier yellow, ensured that the ‘Black and Amber’ were down a man for the final stages of the game. However, they kept their composure and late frees converted by Kevin Finn and Diarmuid McGann saw them earn a share of the spoils. It means that 2019 champions Padraig Pearses must now await the outcome of a play-off draw to see who reaches the last eight.

Pearses blitzed Strokestown from the throw-in and had three points on the board within two minutes through Paul Carey (2) and Niall Daly. Strokestown settled into the game after that and, prompted by the excellent Paddy Brogan, they got back into contention.

Cathal Compton was a very effective target man and Diarmuid McGann and Sean Mullooly were also prominent as ‘The Town’ improved. By the 11th minute they led 0-4 to 0-3 and by the first water break they were 0-6 to 0-4 in front. John Rogers’ men were guilty of three or four bad misses in the second quarter and it meant that Pearses were able to stay in the game and make their experience count, despite limited possession. At half-time Strokestown were ahead by the minimum margin, 0-7 to 0-6.

Rúaidhrí Molloy opened the second-half scoring for Strokestown, but Paul Carey and Hubert Darcy pointed for a much-improved Pearses to level the game by the 41st minute. Pearses’ improvement coincided with the introduction of a number of impressive subs by Pat Flanagan and his selectors.

Pearses seemed to have the initiative when Carey pointed, Cusack saw red and then Davy Murray grabbed a very good individual point. There were two points in it heading into time added on.

In fairness to Strokestown, they stuck to their guns and Finn narrowed the gap from 25 metres in the 61st minute and then McGann fired over the equaliser in the 64th minute. It was no more then they deserved on the evening.

Strokestown: John McHugh; David Neary, Conor Kelly, Cathal Brogan; Michael Fallon (0-2, 2 ‘45s), Keith Murphy, Ciaran Regan; Cathal Compton (0-1), Paddy Brogan; Diarmuid McGann (0-4, 1 free), Sean Mullooly, Fionn Cusack; Rúaidhrí Molloy (0-3, 2 marks), Kevin Finn (0-1, free), Luke Kelly. Sub: Colin Compton for Kelly (48).

Pádraig Pearses: David Donnellan; Anthony Butler, Gavin Downey, Mark Richardson; Shane Carty, Ronan Daly, Davy Murray (0-1); Niall Daly (0-1), Caelim Keogh; Lorcan Daly, Niall Carty, Conor Payne; Emmet Kelly (0-2), Hubert Darcy (0-3, 3 frees), Paul Carey (0-4). Subs: Jack Tumulty for Kelly (42), Aaron Fehily for Payne (50), Eoin Colleran for Carey (54), Daniel Farrell for S Carty (59), Jack Downey for G Downey (61).

Referee: Paddy Neilan.

Man of the Match: Paddy Brogan (Strokestown)