Roscommon booked a place in the Connacht Senior Football Championship Final this afternoon following a 4-16 to 2-13 win over Sligo.
Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Although the margin of victory was comfortable in the end it was a very different story at half-time when Sligo, aided by a strong breeze, led by 2-8 to 0-6.
Roscommon started well and led by 0-3 to 0-1 after 11 minutes; with points from Conor Devaney, Fintan Cregg and David Keeenan before Sligo equalised with two points in the space of a minute.
John McManus put Roscommon back in the lead almost immediately but it was to be the home side’s last score for 12 minutes. Moments later the impressive Pat Hughes equalised and in the 20th minute the match was thrown wide open when Sligo were awarded a Penalty following a foul by Sean Mullooly, while attempting to connect with a dropping ball. Adrian Marren coolly sent the resulting spot kick to the back of the net and two minutes later they led by by double scores 1-5 to 0-4. Roscommon continued to apply pressure and attempt to break through the walls of Sligo defenders and in the 28th minute Cathal Cregg shot wide after a fine run through the “Yeats men”. Ciarain Murtagh and David Keenan reduced the deficient however their scores were cancelled out by Adrian Marren and Pat Hughes. Sligo’s cause was not helped in the 33rd minute when Adrian Marren was Black-carded following an earlier incident where he body checked Donie Shine. Shine was later denied a goal – he flicked on a pass from Conor Devaney but the Sligo Keeper reacted quickly.
Pat Hughes increased Sligo’s lead in the first minute of time added on and then disaster struck for Roscommon. A long ball into the Roscommon square was not dealt with. It bounced from Kyle Cawley passed Geoffrey Claffey and although David Murray initially cleared it off the line Cawley made no mistake second time around and sent it to the back of the net.
Roscommon made a dream start to the second half when, after 30 seconds, Senan Kilbride flicked on a Niall Daly shot which was dropping short and sent it to the back of the net.
Mark Breheny settled Sligo’s nerves with a pointed free but two points from Donie Shine, one from Conor Devaney and a ’45 from Geoffrey Claffey left just two point between the sides after 45 minutes; 1-10 to 2-9. During this period the introduction of Neil Collins and re-organisation at the defence gave Roscommon more solidity and reduced Sligo’s chances.
Pat Hughes increased Sligo’s lead in the in the 48th minute but a moment later Ciarain Murtagh sent the ball to the back of the net to level the game following fine work by Cathal and Fintan Cregg. Five minutes later a point from Murtagh put Roscommon into the lead and they he scored the day’s second penalty to make it 3-11 to 2-10.
At this stage Roscommon’s higher fitness and skill levels told and they broke through the Sligo defence at ease on a number of occasions. Enda Smith, who replaced Cathal Cregg in the 50th minute, scored 1-1. Donie Smith, who replaced Senan Kilbride in the 59th minute, scored two points and was unlucky not to score a goal – one of his shots hit the inside of the post in the 64th minute. Conor Devaney and David Keenan also pointed while Sligo got consolation scores through Mark Brehony and Pat Hughes.
Final score Roscommon 4-16 Sligo 2-13
Roscommon will face either Mayo or Galway in the Final on July 10th – those two meet next Saturday evening.
1 Geoffrey Claffey. (0-1)
2 Sean McDermott.
25 Sean Mullooly.
4 Niall McInerney.
5 John McManus. (0-1)
6 Sean Purcell.
7 David Murray.
8 Niall Daly.
19 David Keenan. (0-3)
10 Fintan Cregg. (0-1)(1F)
11 Ciaran Murtagh (C). (2-2 (1 Pen, 1 F)
12 Conor Devaney. (0-3)
13 Senan Kilbride. (1-0)
14 Cathal Cregg.
15 Donie Shine. (0-2)
Neil Collins for Purcell (40), Enda Smith (1-1) for C Cregg (50), Donie Smith (0-2) for Kilbride (59), Cathal Compton for Shine (59), Niall Kilroy for F Cregg (69), James McDermott for Keenan (70).
Yellow Cards: Donie Shine, Sean Mullooly
Red Cards: None