Gillooly gives Roscommon Gaels grand opening





Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC (Group B) Round One


Roscommon Gaels 2-10


Strokestown 0-8


This was a game that Roscommon Gaels never looked likely to lose, yet they were never really able to shake off a very depleted Strokestown side in the opening round clash at windy Elphin last Saturday evening. It was not until Peter Gillooly punched home their second goal in injury-time that the town side looked comfortable.

  Having said that, with the likes of Mark Healy, Mark Nally and Ronan Carolan to return, Liam McNeill and his management team will be happy to get this vital first win under their belts and move on to next weekend.

  Strokestown were short the likes of Cathal Compton, Kevin Finn and Thomas Corcoran and unless they can get some or all of those players back they could be in a relegation battle later in the year. In contrast, the Gaels welcomed back Scott Oates, who started and made a big contribution especially in the first half, and Cian Connolly, who looked sharp when introduced in the second half.

  With the strong breeze at their backs in the opening half, the Gaels dominated possession but after an initial scoring burst they didn’t trouble the scoreboard operator as often as they should have on the balance of play. Brian Kelly, Paul Gleeson and Richard Walsh were all on target in the opening seven minutes but the town team were not to score for another ten minutes.

  Diarmuid McGann opened Strokestown’s account in the 9th minute but there were slim pickings for the Strokestown attack as David O’Gara, John McManus and Scott Oates dominated the midfield exchanges. Points from Brian Kelly and two pointed frees from Peter Gillooly got the Gaels back on track. In the final five minutes McGann added a point for Strokestown while Gillooly completed the first-half scoring with a pointed free from a tight angle. Half-time: Roscommon Gaels 0-7 Strokestown 0-2. 

  Strokestown scored the first two points of the second half when Cian Lavelle and Daniel Rogers were on target. But it took them twelve minutes to get those two scores and although the Gaels were playing poorly at this stage, they were still well ahead on the scoreboard. Then in the 46th minute the Gaels got in for the first score of the second half, a goal converted expertly by Peter Gilooly.

  Seven points ahead inside the final quarter, it was looking good for the Gaels but they stalled again and Strokestown came back into the game with four unanswered points. Keith Murphy, Daniel Rogers, Paddy Brogan and Colin Compton were all on target and with five minutes to go the margin was only three points.

  But with Cian Connolly now very influential, the Gaels steadied the ship and closed out the win late on. Gillooly popped over a brilliant point and in injury-time he fisted home his second goal after a clever team move. Connolly then completed the scoring in the 63rd minute with a point from play.

  The Gaels will be happy with their win but they know that they will have to improve if they want to be contenders for the title. Are the town team genuine contenders? To borrow a word from the Carlsberg add, probably. But there is a lot of football to be played yet!


Roscommon Gaels: James Fetherstone; Mike McNeill, Paul Gleeson, Ronan Gleeson; Kevin O’Gara, David O’Gara, Tim Lambe; John McManus, James O’Gara; Richard Walsh (0-1), Scott Oates, Brian Kelly (0-2); Peter Gillooly (2-4, 3 frees), Ciaran Kilcline (0-1), Orin Walsh.

Subs used: Cian Connolly (0-1) for R Walsh (41), Gustavo Rodriguez for R Gleeson (49), R Walsh for O Walsh (53).


Strokestown: John McHugh; Conor Kelly, Cathal Brogan, Keelan Beirne; Dylan Owens, Michael Fallon, Kevin Sheil; Paddy Brogan (0-1), Colin Compton (0-1); Tony Lavin, Daniel Rogers (0-2), David Neary, Keith Murphy (0-1), Diarmuid McGann (0-2), Cian Lavelle (0-1).

Subs used: Ruaidhri Molloy for Sheil (41), Cian Corcoran for Lavelle (47), Cathal Lavin for Murphy (53 b/c).


Referee: Patrick McTiernan