Dominics’ Day!

Roscommon Herald Intermediate Football Championship Final St. Dominics              2-13 Michael Glaveys        1-7 The great man would definitely have approved. Sitting in a comfortable chair no doubt, and watching his beloved St. Dominics play in last Sunday’s very enjoyable Roscommon Herald Intermediate Football championship final, the great Jamesie Murray would have been a proud man – and later on Sunday night I’m sure that ‘The West’s Awake’ got an airing as Jamesie toasted this excellent win by his club.   To win a final is the most important thing I suppose but when you win playing open, attractive football it’s a bonus – and that’s what St. Dominics did when they overwhelmed Michael Glaveys in a game that was very easy on the eye but one which Dominics were the dominant force in after the first quarter of play.   The men from Knockcroghery and Lecarrow areas reserved their best performance in  almost three years for this final and put the disappointment of losing last year’s final after a replay firmly behind them with an excellent display from all their players. Their manager, John McGowan, and his selectors, deserve great credit for producing such a big performance on the big day.    For Glaveys it was a disappointing day out. Apart from the first fifteen minutes they were second-best and although they kept going  right to the finish they will be the first to admit that they were beaten by a better team on the day.   Dominics had stars all over the field. Mark Miley collected another medal last Sunday to add to his vast collection and he was ever-vigilant between the posts. Padraig Naughton was excelllent at full-back while further out the field Tom Gately played a captain’s part in the half-back line. Aidan Weir played in a number of positions and he too was excellent.    Michael Finneran and Liam Murray ruled the roost at midfield and Murray in particular was outstanding. He left on the final whistle for a holiday abroad and can be well satisfied with this massive win. What a sportsmen he has been in Roscommon over the past decade, in both football and hurling.   Niall Naughton played his best game in years for ‘The Doms’ while Ultan Kelly, Seamie McKeown and Conor Fallon were the most prominent in an excellent Dominics attack which was on fire from the time the ball was thrown in.   Glaveys will be disappointed on the day but in fairness to them they never dropped their heads. Cormac Costello made some great catches throughout but in truth he had to give  best to the rampant Conor Fallon. Stuart Daly battled away manfully in the half-back line while further out the field veteran Eugene Coggins was the pick of the Glaveys attack.  Others to do well there were youngsters Kevin Cummins and Eugene Stritch, however it simply wasn’t Glaveys’ day.    The big crowd (at least 1,500) made for an excellent atmosphere on a dry day and in the first quarter it looked like we were going to have a thriller.    Conor Fallon rattled over two early Dominics’ points in the first four minutes before Coggins opened Glaveys’ account with a lovely point on the run after six minutes.  Fallon extended Dominics’ lead in the 9th minute with a free from 22 metres before Glaveys missed a great goal chance a minute later. Coggins drove deep into Dominics territory and he off-loaded a great pass to James Heneghan, whose shot rolled agonisingly wide despite the efforts of Thomas  Finnegan to steer it home.   However Coggins followed up four minutes later with another excellent point and when Thomas Finnegan scored a close-in free in the 18th minute, the sides were level.   This was as good as it was going to get for Glaveys and Dominics took over after that. Finneran, Murray and Naughton were ruling the roost in the midfield area while inside, Conor Fallon was wreaking havoc.   Finneran kicked a great point from 30 metres in the 20th minute before Tom Gately grabbed another point a minute later following a peach of a pass from Aidan Weir. Two further points from Fallon in the 29th (free) and 31st minutes (play) ensured that Dominics went into the break 0-7 to 0-3 ahead.   The second half continued in a similar pattern to the first with Dominics able to hold on to their lead quite comfortably, although the football was fast and very enjoyable to watch. Fallon, with two more points, exchanged scores with Dermot Boylan and sub Tommy Keane to leave it Dominics 0-9 Glaveys 0-5 after ten minutes of the second period.    Then the crowd were treated to two well-taken goals within 40 seconds of each other. In the 15th minute Paul Dolan attempted a  Dominics point but the ball hopped up high and struck the angle of post and crossbar and county senior player Michael Finneran was lurking on the edge of the square. He was quickest to react and adroitly palmed the ball to the empty net.   To Glaveys’ credit they were back in the match in less than a minute. The kickout reached Tomas Finnegan and his low pass was taken well by Eugene Stritch who finished brilliantly past Mark Miley for a super goal. However, instead of inspiring Glaveys, it was Dominics who then kicked on to victory.    Ultan Kelly grabbed a great point on the run in th 17th minute and two minutes later Finneran extended Dominics’ lead with another pointed free. Then with eight minutes to go came the goal that was to end the game as a contest.   Finneran, Murray and Weir were all involved and when Ultan Kelly got the ball he shot first-time from almost twenty metres and the ball flew into the top corner for a superb goal.   It was all academic after that. Finneran kicked another free and although Glaveys did score late points from Alan Daly (fist) and sub Stephen Ronane it was Ultan Kelly who had the final say with an excelllent point scored from 30 metres range.    The final whistle brought wild celebrations as Dominics marked their entrance to the Roscommon SFC as hundreds of their supporters swarmed on to the field to acclaim  their heroes.   Manager John McGowan deserves great credit too as do the whole management team and club officers. Dominics were down and out last year after the final and they entered this final last Sunday as the outsiders but certainly  answered the doubters with a brilliant display.      On the evidence of last Sunday the Knockcroghery men will be more than able to hold their own in the senior ranks in the coming years.    For Glaveys, they have had a very good year and although they will be disappointed this week they know that they can come back again. Under Joe Garvey, Johnny Coggins and Ger Dowd they have made great progress this year and with young men like Kevin Cummins, Eugene Strictch and Darren O’Malley on the way up, the future for the Ballinlough club is very bright. St. Dominics: Mark Miley; Padraig Mulally, Padraig Naughton, Andy Grady; Anthony Naughton, Aidan Weir, Tom Gately (capt., 0-1); Liam Murray, Michael Finneran (1-3, 2 frees); Tom Gilleran, Niall Naughton, Paul Dolan; Ultan Kelly (1-2), Conor Fallon (0-7, 4 frees), Seamie McKeown. Subs: Arthur Beades for Gilleran, Kieran Hunt for Dolan, Brian Carney for McKeown. Michael Glaveys: Gary Brennan; Ian Daly, Cormac Costello, David Paige; John T. Burke, Stuart Daly, Paul Cummins; Alan Daly (0-1), John P. Burke; Eugene Stritch (1-0); Eugene Coggins (0-2), Kevin Cummins; James Heneghan, Dermot Boylan (0-1), Thomas Finnegan (0-1). Subs: Tommy Keane (0-1) for Heneghan, Derek Waldron for John P. Burke, Joe Gorman (capt.) for Paul Cummins, Michael O’Shaughnessy for Boylan, Stephen Ronane (0-1) for Finnegan. Referee: Kieran Madigan. County IFC Final at a glance Man of the match: Liam Murray (St. Dominics) There were several contenders for the man of the match title. Aidan Weir, Tom Gately, Michael Finneran, Niall Naughton and Conor Fallon were all in tremendous form on the day, as were Eugene Coggins and Kevin Cummins for Michael Glaveys. However Liam Murray was outstanding from the first whistle. This marvellous player has been a great servant for his club over the years and richly deserves his award after a brilliant display. The weather: Dull and overcast, but perfect for football. A light breeze assisted St. Dominics in the first half. The absence of rain meant that the grounds conditions were perfect. The crowd: About 1,500 people were there and they combined to create a great atmosphere. The football served up was as good as we have seen at club level in Roscommon this year. Entertainment Value: With a county hurling semi-final on afterwards it was certainly good value, especially for the neutrals. Both teams were intent on playing open, attractive football and the contest was excellent as a result. Referee Watch: Kieran Madigan used his common sense to good effect and allowed the play to flow. A good performance from the referee.