Roscommon Gaels 1-9 St Faithleach’s 1-8
With this Hodson Bay SFC match going into time added on, St Faithleach’s were leading by two points and heading into the quarter-finals of the championship while Roscommon Gaels were on their way.
They Ballyleague outfit even had a free out to run down the clock and keep the Gaels at arm’s length, but after a bout of pushing and shoving, referee James Murray reversed his decision, and instead decided to throw up the ball. What happened next changed the course of this year’s senior club championship.
The Gaels won possession and John McManus was fouled in the large square with Murray rightly awarding a penalty. Gaels sub Rory Carthy buried the spot kick and Frankie Dolan’s men had qualified for the quarter-finals in the most dramatic of circumstances.
They still had to withstand some intense Faithleach’s pressure afterwards as they came looking for a winning goal, but James Featherstone made a brilliant late save at the death to deny the Ballyleague men.
Played in perfect weather conditions in Knockcroghery, the first half was a forgettable affair with both sides ultra cautious. There were only two points from play in the entire half (one for each side) as the Gaels went in leading by 0-4 to 0-2 at half-time.
But the second half was a much livelier affair as both sides upped the ante with a big prize on offer for the winners. Faithleach’s were the better team on the resumption and in the 33rd minute Diarmuid Murtagh got in for a well-taken goal and after that it was tense all the way to the finish. Faithleach’s led by three points with 12 minutes to go but The Gaels kept going and they were rewarded late on.
Sub Rory Carthy made a huge contribution for The Gaels, scoring 1-3 off the bench including that last-gasp penalty and the town side can also be very thankful to their goalkeeper James Featherstone who made a number of crucial saves on the day.
Frankie Dolan’s men may have got out of jail here but they are in the last eight and now they can prepare for a quarter-final local derby against Oran. For Faithleach’s, it was a case of what might have been as their season comes to an end.
Roscommon Gaels: James Featherstone; John McManus, Senan Lambe, Ronan Gleeson; Cathal O’Reilly, Ethan O’Reilly, James Connolly; Scott Oates, Mark Purcell (0-1, ’45); Brian Kelly, Ryan Conlon, Richie Walsh; Cathal Dineen, Kieran Kilcline, Peter Gillooly (0-2, 1 free). Subs: Paul Gleeson for C O’Reilly (41), Rory Carthy (1-3) for Walsh (43), Paddy Fannon (0-1) for Connolly (50).
St Faithleach’s: Alan Manning; Karl Nerney, Patrick Farrell, Adrian Murtagh; Kevin Farrell, Darren Nerney, James Browne; Cian Glennon (0-1), Cathal Gunn; Mikey Dunne, Connell Kennelly, Brian Murtagh; Ciaráin Murtagh (0-3, 2 frees), Dave Rooney (0-1), Diarmuid Murtagh (1-3). Subs: David Harrison for Browne (46), Jonathan Hussey for P Farrell (48).
Referee: James Murray
Man of the Match: James Featherstone (Roscommon Gaels)