CLINICAL COMER’S DECISIVE DOUBLE!

Focus now on National League
FBD Football League Final Galway 2-8 Roscommon 0-13

The concession of two soft goals in the first five minutes of play left Roscommon with a mountain to climb in this entertaining FBD League Final at Tuam Stadium last Sunday.

  A much-improved second-half display saw the Rossies catch their hosts to level the scores with six minutes remaining, but two late points saw Galway edge home to take the title.

  While Roscommon were disappointed to have lost, this was a very competitive and at times exciting final, and, with the National League starting this weekend, excellent preparation for both sides.

  Roscommon never really recovered from those two hammer blows delivered by Damien Comer in the opening five minutes.

  With 30 seconds on the clock Paul Conroy kicked the ball in long, and Comer rose highest to flick the ball over the heads of Neil Collins and Geoffrey Claffey and into the Roscommon net.

  A minute later Johnny Heaney powered forward to kick a fine point for the home side and in the 3rd minute Senan Kilbride scored a peach of a point from 35 metres, to open Roscommon’s account.

  More consternation followed in the Roscommon defence in the 5th minute. This time it was Johnny Heaney who let the ball in high and long and once again Comer rose highest to fist home his second goal. The game settled down somewhat after that and although Galway were on top at midfield, Roscommon came more into the play.

  Kieran Kilcline (from 50 metres), Senan Kilbride, Ciaran Murtagh (a free) and Scottie Oates all scored points to bring Roscommon to within three points (2-2 to 0-5) by the 20th minute.

  Then Adrian Varley and Ciaran Murtagh exchanged points by the 25th minute. Galway points from Damien Comer (a beauty) and Adrian Varley saw Galway ahead by five at half-time (2-5 to 0-6).

  Roscommon were much improved on the restart. The introduction of Seanie McDermott, Niall Kilroy and Ultan Harney in particular was crucial as Roscommon took the game to their hosts.

  Four unanswered Roscommon points from Ciaran Murtagh (two frees) and Cian Connolly (one free and another from play) saw Roscommon come to within a point by the 45th minute – and now the big Roscommon following were on their feet.

  Damien Comer could have got in for his hat-trick in the 48th minute, but Geoffrey Claffey denied him with a flying save. Adrian Varley then lifted the siege with a Galway point (their first of the half) in the 49th minute. Then points from frees from Ciaran Murtagh and Cian Connolly saw the sides level (2-6 to 0-12) with seven minutes left.

  Galway struck late to win it. Johnny Heaney raced forward for another great point in the 55th minute and then a minute later referee Ray McBrien gave Galway a very soft free 13 metres from goal, which sub Shane Walsh converted.

  In the 58th minute Niall Daly kicked a super point to leave only one in it and the game ended in a welter of excitement as Roscommon pressed forward for the equaliser. First, Cathal McHugh was wide with a 20-metre free out on the left wing and then in injury-time Niall Daly’s effort from play was also wide of the posts – and Galway hung on to win.

  It would have been a nice game for Roscommon to win but there will be no tears after this defeat. All eyes are firmly on the game this Sunday against Monaghan, which is the biggest league game that Roscommon have played in many years.

  On Sunday, Thomas Fetherston, Niall Daly, Ciaran Murtagh, Senan Kilbride, Cian Connolly and sub Ultan Harney were prominent for Roscommon. It will be interesting to see how many of the players who started this FBD League Final will start against Monaghan.

  For Galway, Johnny Heaney, Paul Conroy, Thomas Flynn, Damien Comer and Adrian Varley were best.

Galway: Thomas Dolan; David Wynne, Declan Kyne, Eoghan Kerin; Liam Silke, Gary Donnell, Johnny Heaney (0-2); Paul Conroy, Thomas Flynn; Enda Tierney (0-1), Eddie Hoare, Eamon Branagan; Damien Comer (2-1), Adrian Varley (0-3), Fintan O’Currain. Subs: Shane Walsh (0-1, free) for Hoare (47), Stiofan O’Currain for Branagan (57).

Roscommon: Geoffrey Claffey; Ronan Stack, Thomas Fetherston, Neil Collins; Brian Murtagh, Niall Daly (0-1), Ronan Daly; Enda Smith, Cathal Shine; Scott Oates (0-1), Kieran Kilcline (0-1), Ciaran Murtagh (0-5, frees); Cian Connolly (0-3, 2 frees), Senan Kilbride (0-2), Cathal McHugh. Subs: Seanie McDermott for Collins (h-t), Niall Kilroy for Kilcline (38), Ultan Harney for Oates (45), Fintan Cregg for C Murtagh (54).

Referee: Declan Corcoran (Mayo).