Roscommon booked their place in a third successive FBD League Final despite a one point defeat to Mayo in an action packed game in Kiltoom.
Roscommon got out of the blocks fastest with Cian Connolly pointing twice before mayo got their opening point via Conor O’Shea in the third minute. Moments later Enda Smith sent the ball to the back of the Mayo net, finishing off a well worked move. Mayo responded immediately with points from Liam Irwin and Danny Kirby to leave it 1-2 to 0-3 after six minutes. Donie Smith and Ciarain Murtagh (a free) cancelled them out and extended Roscommon’s lead.
The increase in intensity and speed compared to the last two games was most evident in the 12th minute. Paddy Durcan and Kevin Higgins traded points before Liam Irwin sent the ball past Colm Lavin. Kevin Higgins got his second point of the afternoon a moment later to make it Roscommon 1-6 Mayo 1-4. The umpires got a well deserved break until two frees from Cillian O’Connor levelled the game in the 23rd minute. Mayo took the lead for the first time in the 24th minute went Fergal Boland pointed. Mayo kept the pressure on and Colm Lavin made a double save two minutes later to deny Fergal Boland. Boland then converted the resulting 45. Cian Connolly reduced the lead to one but Cillian O’Connor put Mayo back into a 1-9 to 1-7 lead via a free. In the final minute of normal time Ciarain Murtagh tapped over a close range free. At half-time it stood Roscommon 1-8(11) Mayo 1-9(12).
The opening score of the second half came via a Cillian O’Connor free in the 37th minute. Roscommon had to wait for a further four minutes but it was worth it. Enda Smith received a pass from Ciarain Murtagh and beat three men before finding the net for the second time. Brother Donie increased the lead, via a free, but it was cancelled out by yet another Cillian O’Connor free. Enda Smith then scored two points in succession; one was a free from an acute angle, the other from play. With 48 minutes played Roscommon led by 2-11 to 1-11.
Donie Smith got his third point of the game, a free, in the 51st and it was quickly followed by a Tadhg O’Rourke point from play. Mayo’s cause was helped when Conor O’Shea, who was on a yellow card, received his marching orders after body-checking Enda Smith. Enda pointed again in the 56th minute to put Roscommon into a six point lead. Niall Kilroy punched a point to make it Roscommon 2-15 Mayo 1-11 and Donie Smith further increased the lead.
Mayo were awarded a penalty in the 65 minute after a foul on Jason Gibbons. It was duly sent to the back of the net by Cillian O’Connor; bringing his total to 1-5. With four minutes of normal time remaining the scoreboard read Roscommon 2-16 Mayo 2-11 but the game was far from over. Substitute Andy Moran rounded Colm Lavin to score Mayo’s third goal to leave two between the teams. The Fourth Official announced that there would be a minimum of five minutes of additional time. With the last attack of the game up stepped Andy Moran to score his second goal in six minutes and give the visitors the win. It ended Roscommon 2-16 Mayo 4-11
Despite the loss Roscommon will now face Galway in the FBD League Final, for the third year in succession, next Sunday at 2pm in Kiltoom.
We caught up with Donie Smith after the game. He was asked about the manner of today’s defeat and his thoughts on the next few weeks:
Enda Smith 2-3 (2f); Donie Smith 0-4, (2f); Cian Connolly 0-3; Ciarain Murtagh 0-2 (1f); Kevin Higgins 0-2; Tadhg O’Rourke 0-1; Niall Kilroy 0-1
Colm Lavin; David Murray, Thomas Featherston, Niall McInerney; Ronan Stack, Ultan Harney, John McManus; Tadhg O’Rourke, Kevin Higgins; Fintan Cregg, Ciarain Murtagh (C), Enda Smith; Cian Connolly, Tom Corcoran, Donie Smith.
Niall Kilroy for Murtagh (44); Gary Patterson for Harney (45); Shane Killoran for Cregg (48); Henry Walsh for Connolly (55); Brian Murtagh for Stack (60); Cathal Shine for Donie Smith (67).