Roscommon within reach of top flight after easy win over Faithful county
Allianz Football League Division Two
Roscommon 2-18 Offaly 0-14
Roscommon manager Anthony Cunningham is appealing for home supporters to turn out in force for this weekend’s promotion showdown with neighbours Galway in Dr Hyde Park.
Following Galway’s drubbing of Derry, and Roscommon’s easy win over Offaly in Tullamore, all eyes are on this Sunday’s big Mother’s Day clash of the western counties at Dr Hyde Park. With Galway already promoted, Roscommon should be well up for the task following their excellent display last weekend.
Speaking to the Roscommon People, Cunningham said: “We played well against Offaly. A lot of lads are fighting for positions on the team, which is positive. The task now is to prepare for next weekend. There is a huge rivalry between Roscommon and Galway and we will need a big crowd there to roar us on”.
On the sending off of Keith Doyle early into a very comfortable win in Tullamore, the Roscommon manager expressed sympathy and support for the St Dominic’s youngster.
“I thought Keith was unlucky, but look, he will have many big days ahead in a Roscommon jersey. He is a brilliant talent and it’s great to see him and other young players coming through”.
Roscommon are now one step away from promotion following their dominant display on Sunday. Despite the fact that Offaly were very poor, and that Roscommon were reduced to fourteen men after only 14 minutes, this was an outstanding display from Anthony Cunningham’s team who never looked in trouble during a one-sided encounter.
Roscommon swept forward from the throw-in. Ultan Harney and Eddie Nolan were in control at midfield and Brian Stack, Richard Hughes and Ronan Daly took every opportunity to join in the attack with some superb running. Up front, Donie Smith was on fire, and not far behind was brother Enda, Cathal Heneghan and sub Cian McKeon. In fact Roscommon only kicked one wide in the entire game, a tribute to the accuracy of the attackers.
Roscommon had four points on the board after only four minutes with Ciarain Murtagh, Conor Cox (2) and Ultan Harney on target, and all from play. Ciaran Donnelly and Niall McNamee (free) registered points for the home side but Roscommon’s brilliant attacking play was relentless.
Ronan Daly, Richard Hughes, Keith Doyle and Conor Cox (a mark) extended the lead to six (0-8 to 0-2) with barely 14 minutes on the clock. Then referee Anthony Nolan sent Keith Doyle off (he had started the match in place of Niall Kilroy) for a second yellow card offence and one wondered would this be a turning point.
Despite the fact that Offaly did improve slightly from that point until half-time, Roscommon drove on and at times it looked like it was they who had the extra man.
In the 26th minute Enda Smith drove into the heart of the Offaly defence. He off-loaded to Cathal Heneghan who flicked the ball on to Donie Smith and the Roscommon captain fisted to the net. At half-time Roscommon led by 1-12 to 0-7.
The intensity levels dropped at the start of the second half and we had to wait 10 minutes for a score. Richard Hughes played a super long pass to Enda Smith who powered through, sold a great dummy, and drove the ball past Paddy Dunican in the Offaly goal.
The game petered out after that as both sides ran their benches and Roscommon cruised to victory with the minimum of fuss. Now the focus switches to this weekend’s showdown with Galway at Hyde Park. A win for the home side would guarantee promotion to Division One.