New hurling season begins with wins for Athleague, Four Roads

Roscommon Senior Hurling Championship New hurling season begins with  wins for Athleague, Four Roads Athleague       3-11 Roscommon Gaels 1-10 This was by far the best of the two games played on Sunday in Athleague with the defending champions repelling the strong challenge posed by the town team.   The Gaels began well and led by 0-5 to 0-2 after 19 minutes but Tom Reddington scored Athleague’s first goal in the 22nd minute. The Gaels trailed by a point at the break 1-4 to 0 6.   However Athleague pulled away on the re-start with Reddington hammering home a ground shot from the 20 metre line after three minutes.   Joe Fallon scored Athleague’s third goal from close range in the 47th minute and although Gaels’ sub Henry Flanagan cracked home a goal with nine minutes to play Athleague had done enough.   This was a very good win for Athleague who have had to field this season without many of the players who won them the title last year through retirements and injury.   The Gaels will be disappointed at having lost as they were hoping to start the championship with a win and to compound matters they were hit by the loss of two of their most experienced players, James Durkin and David Casey during the game.   A feature of the game was the brilliant free-taking of Mervyn Connaughton who helped himself to nine points over the hour – six of those from frees. Athleague: D. Connell; D. Delaney, C.  Moran, S. Moore; J. Glennon, N. Connolly, A. Cunniffe; M. Connaughton (0-9, 6 frees), J. Connolly; I. Connaughton,  J. Fallon (1-0), S. McGeeney; T. Connaughton (0-1), T.  Reddington (2-1), D. Flaherty. Subs: E.  Murray for I. Connaughton; S. Waldron for McGeeney. Roscommon Gaels: D. Casey; P. Nolan, J.  Maloney, D. Clogher; K. Doolin, E. Browne, J. Hynes; F. Doyle (0-2), S. Naughton; D. Waldron, L. Casey (0-2), K. Gately (0-3, 2 frees); G. Waldron (0-1), J. Durkin, P. Lennon (0-1). Subs: G. Clogher (0-1) for Durkin; J. Comiskey for Casey; H. Flanagan (1-0) for D. Waldron. Referee: Peter Mullen.  Four Roads    1-9 St. Dominics  1-5 Four Roads were too strong for St.  Dominics in this very low-key opening match at Athleague last Sunday. Four Roads got off to a good start in this game and were 1-3 to 0-1 up after 12 minutes of play and while Dominics did improve they were playing catch-up throughout the game. John Coyne goaled for Four Roads early on and by half-time they led by 1-5 to Dominics 0-3.   Four Roads were dominant but they couldn’t transfer that on to the scoreboard and when Dominics sub Daniel Byrne flicked a 65 to the net in the 46th minute there was only two points in the contest. But Four Roads pulled away again and they got the win they needed but it was none too convincing.   St. Dominics will be very disappointed with the way they played too and they will have to improve if they want to to make the top four places later on in the summer. Four Roads: S. Lohan; N. Cunniffe, M. Mulry, J. McLoughlin; M. McLoughlin, M. Kelly, P. Kelly; J. Moran (0-1), B. Kelly (0-1); E. Rogerson (0-5 frees), K. Waldron (0-1), T. Lennon (0-1); J. Mannion, D. Lohan, J Coyne (1-0). Sub: C. Hynes for Mannion. St. Dominics: M. Miley; J. Heffernan, D. Fallon, N. Moran; A. Creavin (0-5, 4 frees), P. O’Connor, A. Naughton; P. Keogh, M. Brehony; P. Naughton, C. Hunt, M. Beirne; M. Corrigan, L. Murray, D. Naughton. Subs: D Byrne (1-0) for D. Naughton; N. Connaughton for Corrigan; J. Creavin for Hunt.   Referee: B. Flynn.  *The Tremane v Padraig Pearses game was called off due to a bereavement in the Tremane club and that game will be re-fixed for another date later in the year. This weekend’s games (all in Athleague on Sunday next) Tremane v St. Dominics at 1.30 pm Dominics were not very good against Four Roads and they will have to improve if they want to beat Tremane here. Tremane will be out to prove the doubters wrong but if Dominics are to do any good this year then they must win here. Prediction. St. Dominics.   Athleague v Oran at 3pm Oran make their debut against a much-changed Athleague team who did well against a strong looking Gaels team on Sunday last. This will be a tight game and Athleague may just have enough. Prediction: Athleague.   Four Roads v Roscommon Gaels at 4.30 pm.  The Gaels were very disappointed to have lost last Sunday and they also lost two of their best players through injury James Durkin and David Casey. Four Roads were no great shakes against St. Dominics either but they still won and it’s hard to see them losing here. Prediction:Four Roads.