Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC (Group A): Roscommon Gaels 0-10 Clann na nGael 0-8

In a true ‘game of two halves’, played in atrocious weather conditions, Roscommon Gaels withstood a sustained late onslaught from the champions before emerging with a hard-fought two-point win at Lisnamult on Saturday night.

  The torrential rain and biting cold wind ensured that there was a small crowd in attendance, but despite the conditions the exchanges were intense and it was an enjoyable game.

  Clann will rue missing many chances to secure a draw or even a late win, but the Gaels will point to a good first-half display which set the foundation for this victory.

  Playing with the wind and rain at their backs, the Gaels raced into a 0-5 to 0-0 lead after 14 minutes, with the very impressive Kieran Kilcline (2), Brian Kelly, Aidan Duignan and Scottie Oates on target with scores from play. Then Clann got a grip at midfield and with Graham Pettit and sub Cathal Shine dominating, they replied with three unanswered points, all from Donie Shine (two frees). Kieran Kilcline with another point, and a super team score from Brian Kelly extended the Gaels’ lead again before Fergal Lennon and an Enda Lannon free saw the sides go in at the break with the Gaels leading by 0-8 to 0-4. Given their dominance, the home side should have been further ahead.

  Clann were in control of the second-half exchanges but they frittered away some gilt-edged scoring chances. Graham Pettit and Donie Shine (a free) reduced the lead to two by the 36th minute, and then in the 40th minute Enda Lannon’s free gave the home side some breathing space. But frees from Donie Shine in the 41st and 44th minutes reduced the margin to one and it looked odds-on a Clann win at this stage. But some bad wides from the county champions and some heroic Gaels defending ensured that Clann were not to score again, and when Kieran Kilcline broke forward to score a fine point in the 58th minute, the Gaels secured a vital win.

  Best for the Gaels were Liam McNeela, John McManus, Kieran Kilcline and Brian Kelly, while for Clann, Jack Connaughton, Fergal Lennon, Graham Pettit and Donie Shine were best.

Roscommon Gaels: James Fetherston; Kevin Kilcline, John McManus, Liam McNeela; Kevin O’Gara, David O’Gara, Ronan Gleeson; James McDermott, Kieran Kilcline (0-4); Aidan Duignan (0-1), Enda Lannon (0-2, frees), Brian Kelly (0-2); Paul Gleeson, John Conteh, Scott Oates (0-1). Subs: Mark Nally for Duignan, Richard Hughes for Conteh.

Clann na nGael: Conor Hannon; Jack Connaughton, Stephen Flynn, Ronan Gavin; Fergal Lennon (0-1), David Flynn, Sean McManus; Graham Pettit (0-1), Dara Pettit; Emmet Kenny, Donie Shine (0-6, 5 frees), Cian McManus; Johnny Dunning, Cathal Callinan, Jamie Fahy. Subs: Cathal Shine for D Pettit, Matt Scally for Callinan, Aaron O’Reilly for S McManus, Rory McManus for C McManus.

Referee: G Carmody.