Roscommon stand and deliver!

We stood up and were counted says delighted manager as hurlers eye Rackard prize

Nicky Rackard Cup (Round 4): Roscommon 3-24 Tyrone 0-21

Eoin Fitzgerald

Roscommon hurling manager Francis O’Halloran has praised his team’s tenacity – but warned that errors will have to be minimised if Rackard Cup glory is to be achieved.

Roscommon can start preparing for a trip to Croke Park later this month and a Nicky Rackard Cup final date following their best display of the year against previously unbeaten Tyrone at Dr Hyde Park last Saturday.

O’Halloran was understandably delighted with his team’s performance. “We have one game yet to play (against Fermanagh) but we are thrilled with today. We did a lot of work over the last two weeks. We knew that this game was going to be the big one and our lads stood up to be counted today”.

The Clare native paid tribute to the Roscommon panel. “We have 26 or 27 lads there and we have five or six more injured…the honesty in this group is phenomenal and we saw that out there today”.

He agreed that this was his team’s best performance of the year. “Yes it was…everyone stood up out there today. We asked them all to produce their best today and they did that. If we had lost today then so be it…we just wanted them all to show what they could do. To score 3-24 on a day like today is fantastic”.

Cathal Dolan (Four Roads)

He wants the error rate reduced, however. “We lost a bit of shape a couple of times during the game and we made a few mistakes and we won’t get away with that next weekend or when we get to Croke Park”.

Against Tyrone, first-half goals from Daniel Glynn (a penalty) and Brendan Mulry set Roscommon on their way. Roscommon led by ten points at the break (2-13 to 0-9) and never looked in trouble in the second half, winning by twelve in the end.

Tyrone, who arrived with a big reputation, led 0-4 to 0-2 going into the 9th minute. Then Connell Kennelly was fouled in the large square and Daniel Glynn netted the resultant penalty. Ben McGahon, Padraig Kelly and Kennelly added points before the home side struck with a second goal.

It came in the 19th minute, Conor Cosgrove driving in a long ball which an alert Brendan Mulry flicked to the Tyrone net. The home side finished the half with some super scores, not least two stunning sideline cuts from opposite sides of the pitch from Ben McGahon.

Roscommon continued to prosper in the second half, but with the outstanding Damien Casey in their side, Tyrone were always a threat. By the 57th minute, with their previously commanding lead down to five (2-18 to 0-19), Roscommon rallied again, two points from Daniel Glynn (including a free 90 metres out) and one from the excellent Conor Cosgrove amongst the highlights. The icing on the cake came in injury-time when sub Adam Donnelly broke downfield and finished with aplomb for his side’s third goal.

Best for a very impressive Roscommon were Peter Kellehan, Conor Cosgrove, Ben McGahon, Connell Kennelly and Daniel Glynn. Now Roscommon can start looking forward to a trip to Croke Park for the final, just reward for their efforts, in the view of manager O’Halloran.

“I am delighted for these players. We are within touching distance of playing in an All-Ireland final in Croke Park. If you had offered that to me when I took this job I would have snapped your hand off! I’m thrilled for the players”.