JUNIOR CERTS!

Roscommon into Connacht Final  Connacht Junior Football  Championship semi-final Roscommon ……………… 1-12 Mayo …………………………. 1-7 Seamus Duke  Roscommon’s junior footballers reached the Connacht final by virtue of this five-point win against Mayo in Ballinlough last Friday evening. It was a very enjoyable match and featured good performances from some of the Roscommon lads on view and certainly the watching Roscommon senior team manager Michael Ryan could have a few new selection posers ahead of the Galway match after this game.   However before anyone gets too excited, it must be said that Roscommon fielded a very strong team with many senior players on view whereas Mayo are restricted to picking from junior and intermediate clubs. Nevertheless it was a worthwhile work-out ahead of the championship.   The story of the game is easily told. Roscommon raced into a 1-7 to 0-1 lead by the 17th minute. Then they lost their way altogether and didn’t score for 33 minutes as Mayo took over completely and at one stage reduced the gap down to one point, 1-7 to 1-6.   However Roscommon pulled away towards the end of the game to qualify for the final where they will play against Leitrim. That game is a curtain-raiser to the Roscommon/Galway game in Salthill in two weeks’ time.   In Ballinlough on Friday evening, Roscommon burst from the blocks and after 16 minutes this looked like a mis-match. Martin Reynolds, John Rogers and Conor Devanney opened the scoring with points in the first four minutes before Cathal Carty kicked Mayo’s first point in the 7th minute.   Roscommon were totally dominant and Kevin Higgins, Donie Shine (2) and Cathal McHugh made it 0-7 to 0-1 after 15 minutes and then in the 17th minute, Roscommon grabbbed an excellent goal.   Donie Shine made the catch, and his pass to John Rogers was on a plate and the Strokestown man (who was easily Roscommon’s best player) flicked on to Conor Devanney who blasted to the Mayo net. After that Roscommon seemed to sit back and admire their handiwork as Mayo came back into the game.   Carty was on target in the 20th minute and four minutes later Diarmuid Costello scored another Mayo point. In the 25th minute Roscommon had a let-off when David Kilkenny’s run was abruptly — and illegally — stopped by the Roscommon defence and Alan Costello skewed his penalty over the Roscommon bar. But the momentum was with the Mayo men and they pressed on.   Carty narrowed the gap further with a 29th minute point and three minutes before half-time Mayo grabbed a deserved goal when Rory Hannick made a great run and shot low past Mark Miley to narrow the gap to two at half-time. Roscommon 1-7 Mayo 1-5.   Roscommon struggled at the start of the second half. Cathal Carty’s free  reduced the margin to one in the 3rd minute but it was a false dawn as Roscommon reorganised and began to play well again. Kevin Higgins fisted a good point in the 12th minute. Then Donie Shine rattled over a great point from play in the 16th minute and when man of the match Rogers was on target in the 22nd minute, Roscommon were back on track.   Sub Johnny Dunning and Shine scored points to leave Roscommon in the comfort zone by the 31st minute and while Mayo did tag on another point Roscommon had the win in the bag.   Senior team manager Michael Ryan will certainly have been happy with the performances of John Rogers and Mark Miley, who did well for Roscommon between the posts. Peter Domican had an excellent outing in the half-back line while other to do well were sub Eamon Towey, Conor Devanney and Kevin Higgins. Roscommon: Mark Miley; Donal Ward, Ray Cox, Ronan Brady; Peter Domican, David Flynn, James Keague; Brian Higgins, Martin Reynolds (0-1); Kevin Higgins (0-2), Frankie Dolan, John Rogers (0-2); Conor Devanney (1-1), Donal Shine (0-4), Cathal McHugh (0-1).Subs: Jonathan Dunning (0-1) for Dolan, Eamonn Towey for Ward, Fintan Cregg for McKeague, Robbie Gaynor for McHugh, Brian Cregg for Cox. Mayo: F Ruddy; O Feeney, S Barrett, P Earley; D Costello, C Cafferky, D Kilkenny; P Collins, P Barrett; D Corrigan, C Carty, P Doherty; A Costello, R Hannick, P Casey. Subs: M Conroy for Barrett, C Boyle for Corrigan, O Connor for Conroy, V Callaghan for Cafferky, D Dempsey for Boyle. Referee: E O’Grady (Leitrim).