Eirgrid Connacht U-20 Football Championship Semi-Final
Roscommon 4-13 Sligo 2-12
Roscommon withstood a second-half rally from Sligo to earn a tilt at Mayo in the Connacht U-20 final following this thrilling semi-final played in perfect weather conditions at Dr. Hyde Park on Wednesday night.
Roscommon were by far the better team in the opening half, at the end of which they led by 1-8 to 0-3 and indeed the margin should have been greater as the home side missed two more gilt-edged goal chances when James Fitzpatrick and Darragh Heneghan were off target.
However with Keith Doyle making some spectacular catches at midfield and Colin Walsh, Robbie Dolan, Ben O’Carroll and Adam McDermott playing well, Roscommon dominated. The goal that the home side deserved on the balance of play came in the final minute of the half when James Fitzpatrick fisted to the Sligo net after Patrick Gavin’s shot struck a post.
Sligo were much better in the second half. Sean Carroll was outstanding and they began to find their form. Oisin Flynn and Lee Deignan kicked some great scores and they kept in touch. Then in the 52nd minute, Carroll blasted home a great goal and it reduced the margin to six. Then points from Flynn and Aaron Perry saw only four between them with six minutes to go. It looked like a nervous final few minutes lay ahead for Roscommon.
But the final three scores of the game were goals. Jason Doory scored a brilliant opportunist goal for the Rossies in the 59th minute and a minute later James Fitzpatrick raised another green flag, fisting to the Sligo net after a mistake from their goalkeeper Conor Carroll. Sligo ended proceedings in spectacular fashion when Joseph Keaney thundered home another super goal in the 62nd minute but it was of consolation value only to the Yeats County.
So Roscommon will now travel to face Mayo in the Connacht final which will be held in Castlebar on Wednesday night next. Liam Tully’s team have turned in two fine attacking performances but their second-half fade out will be a worry as they will be stepping up in class considerably in the final. But credit where it’s due and Roscommon have done everything that has been expected of them so far. The big test will come next week.
Roscommon: Conor Carroll; Cian Glennon, Colin Walsh (0-1) Dylan Gaughan; Patrick Gavin, Thomas Crean, Conor Lohan; Keith Doyle, Ronan Garvin (1-0); Robbie Dolan, Daire Cregg (0-4, 3 frees), Darragh Heneghan; James Fitzpatrick (2-2), Ben O’Carroll (0-3, 2 frees), Adam McDermott (0-3). Subs: Ruadhri Fallon for Heneghan (29), Jason Doory (1-0) for Cregg, Gavan Murray for C Lohan (48), Jack Lohan for Glennon (51), Sean Trundle for Gaughan (56).
Sligo: Keelan Harte; Mark Walsh, Tristan Gilligan, Ciaran McKeon; Sean Carroll (1-0), Jack Lavin, Ciaran O’Reilly (0-1); Matthew Clavin, Feidhlim O’Donnell; Conor Finn, Lee Duignan (0-5, 3 frees ’45), Joseph Keaney (1-0); Gavin Duffy (0-1), Oisin Flynn (0-3 frees), Jack Davitt (0-1). Subs: Aaron Perry (0-1) for Lavin (22), Brian Callaghan for O’Donnell (39), Jim Davis for Duffy (46), Luke Casserly for Deignan (55).
Referee: James Molloy (Galway)