Allianz NFL Division One
Let’s call a spade a spade, this was a resounding defeat and a very poor display. But just as it is prudent not to get carried away with a win, it would be unfair on the Roscommon team to be too critical after this defeat. But the reality of this particular game is that Roscommon were second best.
The story of the scores will show that Anthony Cunningham’s men came out in the opening seven minutes of the second half and scored three fine points to edge into a one point lead. But the truth was that Cavan were by far the better team up to that point but had shot some really terrible wides that would have had them comfortably ahead at that stage.
Unfortunately for Roscommon, the home side found their range in the second half and they won very easily considering that they shot 16 wides and a very impressive total of 3-13. Roscommon’s cause was not helped by the dismissal of Ultan Harney on a straight red card after 49 minutes for what referee David Gough signalled was an attempted striking offence. After the game Anthony Cunningham was of the opinion that it was a very harsh sanction on the Clann na Gael man, either way Roscommon had just conceded a second goal and were under pressure anyway. With 14 men their task was almost impossible.
So what went wrong? The level of intensity that we saw from Roscommon in the opening three games was missing. Cavan won almost every breaking ball in the middle of the field and Roscommon repeatedly gave the ball away. In contrast, Cavan were very athletic and patient and they swept forward in waves with Ciaran Brady, Christopher Conroy, Killian Clarke, Martin Reilly and Dara McVeety all excellent for the home side.
Roscommon were beaten at midfield and for a team with a growing defensive reputation, to concede three sloppy goals was very disappointing. David Murray, Niall Daly and Conor Hussey were the pick of a well beaten defence. Shane Killoran started very well but tired in the second half and Conor Cox kicked a few great scores from placed balls but was restricted in open play.
It was not a great result for Roscommon especially with the large shadow of the Dubs looming at Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday. A huge relegation battle is now on the cards and it looks like the game against Galway in Pearse Stadium on Saturday, March 16th will be massive in terms of survival.
But it’s one game at a time, and the aim for Roscommon next weekend is to avoid a thrashing from Dublin who seem to be getting stronger with every passing week. Roscommon must get back the aggression and intensity that marked their first three games because if they don’t it could be a long afternoon in the Hyde next Sunday.
Sometimes there are unusual results in the league and Roscommon fans will have to hope that this game was one of those days. Cavan’s record against Roscommon over recent years had been terrible but they put that right last Sunday. It would be fair to say that a nine point win wasn’t even a fair reflection on how the game went. Cavan could have won far more easily. It was certainly a day to forget for Roscommon.
Cavan: Raymond Galligan, Jason McLoughlin, Padraig Faulkner, Conor Moynagh (0-1); Ciaran Brady, Chris Conroy (0-2, 1 free), Conor Rehill; Paul Graham, Killian Clarke, Martin Reilly (1-3, 1 free), Dara McVeety (0-1), Niall Murray (0-2); Niall Clerkin, Jack Brady (0-1 free), Conor Madden (2-1, 1 free).
Subs: Gerard Smith (0-1) for Rehill (44), Thomas Galligan for Graham (44), Pierce Smith for J Brady (52), Stephen Murray for C Brady (58), Cian Mackey for Madden (63).
Roscommon: Darren O’Malley (0-1, ‘45), David Murray, Conor Daly, Evan McGrath; Conor Hussey (0-1), Niall Daly (0-1), Ronan Daly; Tadgh O’Rourke, Enda Smith (0-1); Shane Kiloran, Ultan Harney, Niall Kilroy (0-1); Conor Cox (0-5, 4 frees), Conor Devaney, Cathal Cregg (0-2, 1 free).
Subs: Donie Smith (0-1, 1 free) for Kilroy (h/t), Gary Patterson for Kiloran (51), Aengus Lyons for Hussey (56), Caoilean Fitzmaurice for Cox (64), Hubert Darcy for McGrath (67).
Referee: David Gough (Meath)