Old rivals serve up enjoyable joust in Johnstown!

Cian is key for Gaels

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC (Group A)

Roscommon Gaels 2-14 Clann na nGael 2-11

Despite the fact that Roscommon Gaels were already through to the semi-finals and Clann were through to the quarter-finals, barring a freak result in Kiltoom, both these renowned protagonists went at it hammer and tongs in what was a very competitive and enjoyable game played in perfect weather conditions at Johnstown.

Clann burst from the blocks and led by 1-2 to 0-0 after five minutes with the very impressive Cathal Shine blasting home a goal after four minutes.

Indeed a minute earlier Clann should have goaled but Donie Shine’s fisted effort struck the crossbar when it looked easier to score.

The Gaels got into the game after that and David O’Gara set up Scottie Oates for a well-worked goal in the 7th minute.

Clann led by 1-4 to 1-1 after 12 minutes but the Gaels took over in the second quarter and with David O’Gara and Cian Connolly rampant, they led by 1-8 to 1-5 at half-time.

The second half was very competitive and the crowd were treated to some great scores from Cian Connolly, John McManus, Donie Shine and Johnny Dunning.

The Gaels were keeping their noses in front and Clann wasted another glorious goal chance in the 48th minute when Matt Scally rounded Owen Hoare before pulling his shot wide. Then with five minutes to go, the Gaels scored a brilliant team goal with Cian Connolly on the end of a five-man attack which started in their own full-back line.

It stretched their lead to seven but there was still time for late drama when Clann were awarded a penalty in injury-time, which was converted by Jamie Fahy. Further points from Jamie Fahy and David Connaughton narrowed the gap even further – but the Gaels had done enough.

Roscommon Gaels: Owen Hoare; John Nolan, Liam McNeela, Kevin Kilcline; Cillian Egan, Paul Gleeson, Kevin O’Gara; Brian O’Gara, John McManus (0-2); Scott Oates (1-1), David O’Gara, Mark Nally; Enda Lannon (0-3, frees), Kieran Kilcline (0-1), Cian Connolly (1-7, 3 frees). Subs: Brian Kelly for Kieran Kilcline (black card, 27), Richard Hughes for Kevin Kilcline (36), Oliver Hannon for B O’Gara (49), Ryan Horan for Oates (58), Oisin Hession for Connolly (59), Ronan Gleeson for Lannon (59).

Clann na nGael: Ronan O’Reilly; David Flynn, Stephen Flynn, Ronan Gavin (0-1); Aaron O’Reilly, Darragh Pettit, Shane Pettit (0-1); Graham Pettit, Matt Scally; Emmett Kenny, Donie Shine (0-4, 2 frees), Cathal Shine (1-0); Jamie Fahy (1-1, 1-0 penalty), Ciaran O’Reilly, Johnny Dunning (0-2). Subs: Darragh Shine (0-1) for D Pettit (24), Jack Connaughton for S Flynn (26), David Connaughton for S Pettit (28), Killian Bannon for E Kenny (35), R. McManus for O’Reilly (40), Cathal Callinan for D Shine (58). Referee: Marty Parker.

Man of the Match: Cian Connolly (Roscommon Gaels)

Five-star champs

Group A: St Brigid’s 5-11 St Faithleach’s 1-8

Any notion that St Brigid’s might struggle against St Faithleach’s in this final group game at Kiltoom was firmly dismissed by a rampant home side who, despite being short at least eight of their usual starting team, were just far too strong for St Faithleach’s.

Paul Furey set the tone in the opening minute with a well-taken goal and when Ian Kilbride followed up with a second Brigid’s goal on twelve minutes, the champions were on their way. At half-time they led by 2-5 to 0-3.

Despite the efforts of Ciaran and Diarmuid Murtagh for Faithleach’s, Brigid’s were comfortably in control and they were always able to get a goal whenever they were threatened.

Gearoid Cunniffe weighed in with another goal for the home side on the resumption and then Conor Gleeson and Darren Dolan completed the rout for St Brigid’s with two late goals.

Brian Murtagh was the St Faithleach’s goal-scorer but Brigid’s were home and dry at that stage and they remain the team to beat in the championship and will now look forward to the semi-final where they will play Clann na nGael or Castlerea.

St Brigid’s: C Sheehy (0-1); R Kelly, N Grehan, C McNeice; D Sheehy (0-1), N McInerney, P Furey (1-0); I Kilbride (1-0), K Mannion (0-4); D Cunniffe, G Cunniffe (1-0), B Stack (0-1); C Gleeson (1-1), C McHugh (0-2), D Dolan (1-1). Subs: G Aherne for Furey, J Cunningham for D Cunniffe, M Moran for C Sheehy, A Gleeson for Stack, R Gilligan for G Cunniffe.

St Faithleach’s: S O’Connor; D McCormack, D Murray, B Scally; J Walsh, B Murtagh (1-2), D Harrison; J Quigley, C Gunn; D Rooney, C Murtagh (0-4), K Farrell; S Phillips, D Murtagh (0-2), S Ormsby. Subs: J Hussey for McCormack, D Gibbons for Quigley, J Sweeney for Walsh. Referee: K Naughton.

Man of the Match: Karol Mannion (St Brigid’s)

Pearses show their mettle

Group A: Padraig Pearses 0-11 Western Gaels 0-9

Padraig Pearses copper-fastened their place in the quarter-finals with this two-point victory against Western Gaels in a low-key encounter at Pairc an Piarsaigh on Saturday evening. Western Gaels started like a train and in fact at one stage they led by 0-7 to 0-0 and also by 0-7 to 0-2 at half-time.

However the home side were a different proposition on the restart and they reeled the Gaels in to record a good win in the end.

With Cathal and Finbar Cregg and Kevin Higgins playing well Western Gaels knocked over some great scores as the home side looked completely out of sorts in the first half.

Pearses improved and with Conor Daly, Davy Murray and sub Hubert Darcy very influential the home side started to chip away at the Gaels’ lead.

Pearses went two ahead before Western Gaels reduced the gap to one with a late pointed free but Davy Murray got the last score to hand his side a narrow win. Pearses now face Boyle in the quarter-final.

Padraig Pearses: A McManus; P Kelly, A Butler, S Dolan; R Daly, D Murray (0-2), E Barrett; C Og Sullivan, N Daly (0-1); T Butler, C Daly (0-1), D Duffy; R Kelly (0-1), N Carty, S Fahy (0-5). Subs: H Darcy (0-1) for Sullivan, A Mannion for Barrett.

Western Gaels: A Hardiman; T Mahon, A Freyne, B Cafferky; C Casserly, E Ryan, T Devine; C Cregg (0-2), S McDermott; T Gill, F Cregg (0-2), S Ryan; N Higgins, K Higgins (0-2), D Moran (0-3). Subs: J McDonnell for Gill, S Conry for Devine. Referee: D Hunt.

Man of the Match: Davy Murray (Padraig Pearses)

Kelly the hero for Castlerea

Group B: Castlerea St Kevin’s 0-12 Kilmore 1-9

He may not have realised it at the time, but Fintan Kelly’s point for Castlerea in injury-time at Kilbride last Saturday evening ensured that Castlerea scraped into the quarter-finals.

If Kilmore had won, Elphin would have qualified for the play-offs and Castlerea would have been out. Once again Kilmore almost put a spanner in the works and they have shown commendable spirit and tenacity in drawing against Strokestown and now against Castlerea.

Castlerea, with Ger Heneghan again in top class form, were the better side in the opening half and were well worth their three-point lead at the break.

Kilmore were a much-improved team on the restart and once again Derek Connellan was their main man as three converted frees from him saw the sides level. Then Dara Feely got in for a Kilmore goal and now Castlerea were in trouble.

Castlerea responded well and four unanswered points saw them assume control once more. Then, as fortunes fluctuated, Kilmore had points from Dermot Foley and Derek Connellan which saw them ahead by two with five minutes to go.

Castlerea however had the final say. Ger Heneghan pointed a free from 40 metres and Fintan Kelly lofted over the equaliser in injury-time to send Castlerea into the quarter-finals where they will face Clann na nGael. Kilmore will face St Croan’s in the SFC relegation play-off.

Castlerea: J Duggan; P Duignan, Niall Collins, D Lyons (0-1); D Creaton, C Dineen, D Quinn; F Kelly (0-3), E Kenny (0-1); R Raftery (0-2), S Heneghan, N Connaughton (0-1); G Heneghan (0-4), Neil Collins, D Scahill. Subs: D McDermott for Heneghan, G McElhone for Lyons, S Ryan for Connaughton.

Kilmore: J McEvoy; J Donohoe, J Sharkey, M Connellan; G Conellan, C Garvey (0-1), L Caslin; D Carney, D Foley; A McEvoy (0-1), P McElhone, P Beirne; D Feely (1-0), R Caslin, K Caslin. Subs: D Connellan (0-7) for McElhone, P Caslin for R Caslin. Referee: P Daly.

Man of the Match: Derek Connellan (Kilmore)

Boyle best in tense encounter

Group B: Boyle 1-11 Strokestown 1-7

Without Donie Smith, Boyle were still too good for Strokestown in this winner-takes-all contest on Saturday evening at Elphin. The first half was a tense affair during which Boyle were the sharper side.

At the break they led by 0-6 to 0-2 with Enda Smith, Tadhg McKenna and Seanie Purcell influential. Enda Smith scored a well-taken goal for Boyle on the resumption to put them in the driving seat, but then Strokestown went on to play their best football of the game.

A goal and a point from Kevin Finn gave them hope but Boyle were always able to keep Strokestown at arm’s length and they held out for a well-merited win. Now Boyle face Padraig Pearses in what will be an eagerly-awaited quarter-final.

Boyle: T Lowe; A Sharkey, C McGowan, K Cox; M Hanmore, S Purcell (0-2), T McKenna (0-2); Kieran Cox, R Hanmore; C McKeon, E McGrath (0-2), J Suffin; D East (0-1), E Smith (1-3), C Brennan. Subs: M O’Connor for Sharkey, M O’Donohue for East, C Goldrick (0-1) for O’Donohue, C Flanagan for O’Connor.

Strokestown: J McHugh; D Neary, R Molloy, D Molloy; D Rogers, S Mullooly, P Brogan; S Butler, T Corcoran (0-1); Colin Compton (0-1), K Finn (1-2), J Rogers; Cathal Compton, D McGann (0-2), C Silke (0-1). Subs: K Beirne for Silke, S Collins for Butler, J Hagan for Neary. Referee: P Neilan.

Man of the match: Seanie Purcell (Boyle)

Elphin miss out

Group B: Elphin 0-13 St Croan’s 0-9

Elphin missed out on a play-off place despite this good win against St Croan’s on Friday night last. St Croan’s now face the worry of a relegation match against Kilmore to see if they can preserve their senior status in their first year back in the top ranks.

It was a tight contest for most of the game and Elphin were only slightly the better side in the opening half, by the end of which they led by 0-6 to 0-5. It was in the third quarter that Elphin took control, knocking over five points without reply.

John Collins and Fintan Cregg were mainly responsible for the surge from the home side as they built up a match-winning lead. Elphin had done enough, and St Croan’s cause was not helped as they were shown two red cards and a black card in the final ten minutes of play.

Elphin: J Conroy; J Carney, J Sweeney, D Cregg; S Beirne, B Rock (0-1), C Brady; K Brady, S Killoran (0-1); P Fox (0-1), Fintan Cregg (0-5), C Sweeney; E Tiernan (0-1), A Murray (0-1), A Kielty. Subs: J Collins (0-3) for C Sweeney, P O’Connor for Brady, M Glancy for Tiernan, M McCaffrey for Murray, Frankie Cregg for Kielty, P Morris for J Sweeney.

St Croan’s: V Egan; K Keenan (0-1), G Connaughton, D Lannon; P Leech, T Mockler, R Timothy (0-1); J Connaughton (0-1), K Muldoon (0-1); K Smyth (0-2), A Brogan (0-1), D Malone; C Connelly (0-1), R Keenan, S Smyth (0-1). Subs: M Connaughton, for S Smyth, A Hurley for Malone. Referee: S Regan.

Man of the Match: Fintan Cregg (Elphin)