Honours even in bad-tempered affair

Hodson Bay Roscommon SFC Round 5 (Group A): Padraig Pearses 1-11 Roscommon Gaels 1-11

Anyone who thought that there was little intensity in the Roscommon Club Championship this year got their answer in Kilbride last Saturday night when Roscommon Gaels and Pádraig Pearses shared the spoils in a game that was always fiercely competitive and which ended in chaotic fashion as tempers boiled over in the final few minutes. As it was, Gaels sub Aidan Duignan’s point from 30 metres in the 7th minute of injury-time levelled the scores after Pearses had taken the lead with a controversial goal, fisted home by sub Daniel Glynn in the 33rd minute.

  Referee Brendan Healy had an almost impossible task in that final period and he issued no less than five black cards and one straight red as skirmishes broke out on a number of occasions. But thankfully it never really got out of hand. There was good football too. The Gaels were much the better side in the opening half and they deservedly led by five points at the break. But Pearses regrouped at half-time and brought on the returning Conor Daly, and they edged back into the contest and that Glynn goal saw them lead deep into injury-time.

  With David O’Gara and Richard Hughes outstanding in defence, the Gaels were impressive in the opening half. Cian Connolly was very lively up front as the town team went into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead by the 18th minute with Connolly pointing two frees and Kieran Kilcline, James McDermott and Paul Gleeson pointing from play. Niall Daly and Emmet Kelly replied for Pearses. The Gaels led by 0-7 to 0-4 when they broke through for an excellent goal in the 28th minute. Oliver Hannon started the move and a superb pass from Cian Connolly found Brian Kelly who finished expertly to help the Gaels to a 1-7 to 0-5 lead at half-time.

  But Pearses were a different proposition in the second half. The introduction of Conor Daly and Tom Butler was crucial and the accuracy of Hubert Darcy saw them come thundering back into the game. David O’Gara increased the Gaels’ lead to six on the restart but Pearses took over after that. They scored four points without reply from Hubert Darcy (3, 2 frees) and Niall Daly to leave the margin at two by the 45th minute.

  Points from Kieran Kilcline and Brian Kelly steadied the ship for the Gaels by the 53rd minute but Pearses were on top and the exchanges became bad tempered as the winning post came into view. Cillian Egan missed two glorious chances to extend the Gaels’ lead, but Pearses were on top. Hubert Darcy pointed two more frees to narrow the gap to two again by the 58th minute. Roscommon Gaels had two subs, Brian Cleary and Johnnie Conteh, black carded within minutes of their introduction. Then a goalmouth scramble saw Pearses sub Daniel Glynn fist the ball to the Gaels net in the third minute of injury-time and there was a melee as the goal was disputed by Roscommon Gaels players. Pearses veteran Seanie Fahy was shown a red card for another incident as tensions rose even further. Roscommon Gaels’ James McDermott was also black carded in the confusion.

  The goal was eventually allowed to stand, and Pearses were ahead. But Gaels sub Aidan Duignan rescued his team with a fine point in the 7th minute of injury-time. As it turned out the Gaels’ would have made it through anyway as Boyle had beaten Clann na nGael but they were not to know that and the game ended in a welter of excitement with Pearses finishing top of the Group A table.

Pádraig Pearses: Adam McManus; Paul Kelly, Anthony Butler, Shane Carty; Cathal Óg Sulloivan, David Murray, Niall Daly (0-2); Niall Carty, Eamon Donoghue; Emmet Kelly (0-1), Hubert Darcy (0-5, 4 frees), Shane Dolan; Conor Payne (0-1), Aaron Fehily (0-1), Seanie Fahy (0-1). Subs: Tom Butler for E Kelly (h/t), Conor Daly for P Kelly (32), Daniel Glynn (1-0) for Sullivan (black card 42), Adrian Mannion for Carty (black card 65).

Roscommon Gaels: James Fetherstone; Ryan Horan, John McManus, Liam McNeela; Kevin O’Gara, David O’Gara (0-1), Paul Gleeson (0-1); James McDermott (0-1), Kieran Kilcline (0-3); Richard Hughes, John Nolan, Brian Kelly (1-1); Oliver Hannon, Cian Connolly (0-3, 2 frees), Cillian Egan. Subs: Aidan Duignan (0-1) for Nolan (39), Brian Cleary for D O’Gara (52), Johnnie Conteh for Hannon (54), James O’Gara for Egan (55), Ronan Gleeson for Cleary (black card 55), Oisin Hession for Conteh (black card 57), James McDermott (black card 63).

Referee: Brendan Healy