Lethal Lilywhites rout Rossies

Christy Ring SH Cup semi-final

Kildare 3-24 Roscommon 1-9


Roscommon hurling is in a good place and the emergence of some very talented young players suggests there’s a bright future ahead – that was the defiant message of team manager Johnny Keane as he reflected on a heavy defeat for the hurlers in last Saturday’s Christy Ring Cup semi-final.

Keane said that Roscommon are intent on playing a “positive brand of hurling” and will bounce back from Saturday’s bruising experience.

Roscommon bowed out at the semi-final stage of the Christy Ring Cup for the second year in succession when they were overwhelmed by Kildare in a one-sided affair at St. Conleth’s Park.

Looking at the final score, it is hard to believe that with 20 minutes gone Roscommon actually led by 0-5 to 0-4. But the visitors’ challenge totally collapsed after that and it was plain sailing for the Lilywhites in the end. The home side scored a whopping 3-10 before Roscommon managed another score, at which point (the 42nd minute) the contest was well and truly over.

Having beaten the same opposition in Athleague last year, hopes were high that Johnny Keane’s side could cause an upset and get to their first ever Ring Cup final. It all started very well too with Peter Kellehan, Eamon Flanagan, Shane Curley, Niall Kilroy and Cathal Dolan prominent. Roscommon were competing well and not allowing Kildare to settle.

Cathal Dolan, with three points (one a free), and further scores from Niall Kilroy and Conor Mulry saw the visitors ahead by 0-5 to 0-4 after 20 minutes. The home side looked rattled. But once the lethal twin strike force of Jack Sheridan and Brian Byrne found their range for the home side they simply blew Roscommon away.

Byrne pointed two long-range frees and a point from play to help his side into a 0-9 to 0-5 lead by the 26th minute. The alarm bells were starting to ring for Roscommon. In the 29th minute a fine team move saw James Burke fire home a goal and by half-time Kildare led by 1-11 to 0-5.

Any hope that Roscommon might have had of a revival was crushed within seven minutes of the restart when Kildare rattled in a further two goals and three points. In the 37th minute Tadgh Forde was fouled and Jack Sheridan converted the resultant penalty, and four minutes later Sheridan pounced on a poor puck-out for a clinical finish. Now it was 3-14 to 0-5.

In fairness to Roscommon, they never gave up the ghost and were rewarded when Johnny Coyle scored a consolation goal in the 68th minute. However, Kildare coasted to a very easy win and will now face Down in the final next weekend.

Roscommon will have to go back to the drawing board for 2021 and they know that they have a big gap to bridge between themselves and the top teams in this competition.

Kildare: Paddy McKenna; Simon Leacy, John Doran, Cian Shanahan; Niall O’Muinneachan (0-1), Rian Boran (0-1), Kevin Whelan (0-1); Cathal Dowling, Paul Divilly (0-2); James Burke (1-2), Jack Sheridan (2-6, 1-0 pen, 4 frees, 1 ’65), Conor Dowling (0-1); Tadgh Forde, Brian Byrne (0-8, 4 frees 1 ’65), David Slattery (0-1). Subs: Shane Ryan (0-1) for Dowling (47), Cathal McCabe for Forde (49), Sean Christiansen for Dowling (51), Cathal Dervan for Sheridan (57), Mark Doyle for McKenna (60).

Roscommon: Naos Connaughton; Paul Dolan, Peter Kellehan, Padraig Brennan; Paul Kenny, Micheal Byrne, Eamon Flanagan (0-1, free); Shane Curley, Oisin Kelly; Eamon Kenny, Johnny Coyne (1-0), Eoin Coyle; Cathal Dolan (0-6, 4 frees), Conor Mulry (0-1), Niall Kilroy (0-1). Subs: Pat Nolan for P Dolan and Cillian Egan for Coyle (42), Ben McGahon for E Kenny (46), Jack Lohan for Mulry (55), Paul Kelly for P Kenny (57).

Referee: Thomas Gleeson (Dublin).