Sligo brushed aside in championship warm-up
Senior Football Challenge Match: Roscommon 3-21 Sligo 1-10
Roscommon footballers’ preparations for their Connacht semi-final clash with Leitrim continued in Strokestown on Tuesday night with an impressive display against Sligo. Roscommon supporters among the crowd would have been encouraged by a powerful and pacey display especially from the Roscommon attack.
Diarmuid Murtagh was excellent throughout, and after a lot of injuries looks to be back to his best. Ciaráin Murtagh, Conor Devaney, Enda and Donie Smith, John McManus, and subs Gary Patterson and Colin Compton also caught the eye as Roscommon put up an impressive total.
With Niall Kilroy playing a deep role, Roscommon swept forward from the start. Points from Conor Devaney, Diarmuid Murtagh, Ciaráin Murtagh (2) and Fintan Cregg saw Roscommon lead by 0-5 to 0-4 after 20 minutes, with all Sligo’s scores coming from frees. Then the home side pulled clear in the second quarter with a string of excellent points from Diarmuid Murtagh (2), Donie Smith (2) and Enda Smith, and at half-time it was Roscommon 0-12 Sligo 0-5.
Sligo began the second half with a flourish and in the first 12 minutes scored 1-2 to Roscommon’s 0-1. Sligo’s goal came in the 42nd minute when Stephen Coen fisted to the net after a slick team move. But Roscommon reshuffled their pack and dominated the game thereafter. Diarmuid Murtagh converted a free in the 44th minute and two minutes later John McManus played a peach of a pass that released Diarmuid Murtagh and he blasted to the Sligo net for a great goal.
Sub Shane Killoran pointed a minute later and in the 55th minute Conor Devaney scored another fine Roscommon goal having been set up by another sub, Ronan Stack and then a minute later Roscommon’s third goal arrived courtesy of another sub Gary Patterson who converted after Colin Compton’s effort was saved by Aidan Devaney. Roscommon continued to attack relentlessly and ran out the easy winners.
While challenge games are a very unreliable yardstick to measure the championship form of a team, Roscommon certainly looked sharp, fit and eager, and with another challenge game against Longford coming up at the weekend, preparations are certainly on course for June 18th and Kevin McStay and his selectors will be very happy with what they saw here.