Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC (Group C)
Padraig Pearses 2-10 Boyle 3-7
With 43 minutes of this Group C game at Pairc an Piarsiagh played last Sunday, Boyle looked to be out of sight as they led the defending champions by 3-7 to 0-4. While Padraig Pearses did have the aid of a strong wind, they looked out of sorts – and out of the match too.
Yet, having scored splendid goals from Donie and Enda Smith early in the second half to propel them into that 12-point lead, it all fell apart for Boyle in the final quarter as one calamity after another struck Basil Mannion’s men.
Firstly, midfielder Roch Hanmore got a black card in the 45th minute, to be followed two minutes later by a red card for Enda Smith (on a second yellow card offence). Smith was having an absolute stormer and the Boyle challenge wilted after his departure. The comeback was on.
The champions finally drew level in the 6th minute of injury-time when Conor Payne punted hopefully into the danger area. Boyle goalkeeper Robert Kearney went to punch clear, but the ball spun off his hands up into the air and back into the goal. Pearses’ sub Tom Butler was on hand to ensure that the ball crossed the line and the champions’ revival was now complete.
The home side had been smelling blood in that final quarter as they awoke from their slumber. Hubert Darcy scored a goal on the rebound after his penalty kick was saved by Robert Kearney in the 43rd minute. The previously anonymous Paul Carey kicked three great points, and later came that equalising goal of very soft variety.
Boyle had been excellent for three-quarters of the game. With the aid of the wind in the opening half newcomer James Bolger scored an opportunist goal in the 3rd minute and points from Evan McGrath (2), Enda Smith (3), Done Smith and Mark O’Donoghue saw them ahead by 1-7 to 0-4 at half-time. Pearses’ only scores in that opening period came from three Hubert Darcy frees and a Ronan Daly point in injury-time.
Boyle started the second half in blistering fashion and a brilliant goal from Donie Smith in the 32nd minute was followed in the 40th minute by an even better goal from Enda Smith, who powered through the middle and blasted home. Boyle were now 3-7 to 0-4 ahead. But that was as good as it got for Boyle and they will know that this was a great chance for them to record a significant win against the side who beat them at the semi-final stage last year.
For Boyle, Evan McGrath, Sean Purcell, Enda Smith, Donie Smith, Cian McKeon and James Bolger were impressive. For Pearses, most of their good displays came in the second half. Shane Carty, David Murray, Paul Carey and Hubert Darcy were most prominent.
It was a cracking start to the championship season at a breezy but sunny Pairc an Piarsiagh. We will certainly see both these sides in the latter stages of the championship.
Padraig Pearses: Paul Whelan; Shane Carty, Anthony Butler, Shane Mulvey; Gavin Downey, Ronan Daly (0-1), David Murray; Niall Daly, Conor Daly; Lorcan Daly, Niall Carty, Paul Carey (0-3); Emmett Kelly, Hubert Darcy (1-5, 4 frees), Conor Payne. Subs: Tom Butler (1-1) for Mulvey (46), Sean Ryan for Kelly (54).
Boyle: Robert Kearney; Killian Cox, Conor Flanagan, Ciaran Beirne; Evan McGrath, Sean Purcell, Tadgh McKenna; Roch Hanmore, Enda Smith (1-3); Tadhg Lowe, Done Smith (1-2, 2 frees), James Bulger (1-0); Mark O’Donoghue (0-1), Cian McKeon (0-1), Seamus Keane. Subs: Kieran Cox for Keane (h/t), Ryan Finneran for O’Donoghue (55), Brian Furey for Lowe (59).