Kepak Roscommon SHC Semi-Final
Four Roads 1-21 Athleague 2-13
Four Roads are on course to regain the Mickey Cunniffe Cup this year after another assured display in this entertaining semi-final played in very poor weather conditions on Saturday evening last. Pádraig Mannion’s charges got ahead early and never looked like losing but Athleague put up a spirited display and were always in the hunt.
With Johnny Coyne and Padraig Kelly really sharp up front, Four Roads were by far the better side in the opening half. Coyne (0-6, four frees) and Kelly (0-3, all from play) were unerring in their accuracy and the former champions led by 0-10 to 0-4 at half-time. Eamon Flanagan kept Athleague ticking over on the scoreboard but the home side were struggling at that stage.
But the second half was a much livelier affair. Athleague scored three points on the bounce after the break from Flanagan (2, 1 free), and Mervyn Connaughton. But each time Athleague threatened, Four Roads raised their game again. They hit four points unanswered to lead by 0-16 to 0-8 after 46 minutes with Shane Curley landing two, including a magnificent sideline cut from 45 metres out.
However, just when it looked like the game was slipping away from them, Athleague were given a lifeline with 10 minutes to play. Eoghan Coyle’s shot for goal was blocked but Eamon Flanagan reacted quickest to score a badly needed goal.
Two minutes later and Four Roads were back in business when James Fitzmaurice pulled low and hard and the ball flew into the Athleague net. There was further drama with four minutes to play when David Flaherty got the final touch to the ball to direct it to the net through a forest of legs to leave just four points between the teams. But late scores from Johnny Coyne (free) and sub Niall Hynes saw Four Roads home safely, with Alan Moore’s point from Athleague of consolation value only.
On this form Four Roads must be long odds on favourites to win another county senior title. Shane Curley, Micheal Kelly, Johnny Moran, Johnny Coyne, Shane Beirne and Padraig Kelly all played very well for them. Athleague battled well but were just beaten by a better side and for them Alan Moore, Pat Nolan, Eamon Flanagan and Robbie Fallon were most prominent.
Four Roads: David Dowd; Cormac Coyle, Mark McLoughlin, Ciaran Dowd; Shane Curley (0-2, 1 free, 1 s/l cut), Micheal Kelly, Johnny Mulry; Conor Coyle, John Moran; James Fitzmaurice (1-0), Johnny Coyne (0-9, 5 frees), Shane Beirne (0-2); Enda Rogerson, Padraig Kelly (0-5), Brian Lawlor (0-1). Subs: Niall Hynes (0-1) for Rogerson (43), Brendan Mulry (0-1) for Lawlor (49).
Athleague: David Connell; Alan Moore, Colm Moran, P Nolan; Niall Connolly, Gary Fallon, Darragh Heavey; David Delaney, David Flaherty (1-0); Eamon Flanagan (1-8, 4 frees), Eamon Bannon, Eoghan Coyle (0-1); Ben McGahon, Robbie Fallon, (0-2), Mervyn Connaughton (0-1). Stephen Kilcommins for Connaughton (41), Aengus Lyons for McGahon (41), JP Murray for Delaney (55), ET Murray for Nolan (55).
Referee: Christy Browne (Galway)
Wides: Four Roads 5 (3 first half) Athleague 8 (5 first half)
Red Cards – None
Yellow Cards: Four Roads 0 Athleague 2 (Eamon Flanagan, Robbie Fallon)
Scores from play: Four Roads: 1-14 Athleague 2-9
Man of the Match: Johnny Coyne (Four Roads)