Rossies claim season’s first silverware





FBD League Final: Roscommon 2-16 Galway 3-12


Playing in their fifth final in a row, Roscommon dug out a last-gasp win against old rivals Galway in this high-scoring and very enjoyable FBD league decider played at Dr Hyde Park Roscommon last Sunday.

  While no one will be getting carried away with this victory, it’s always nice to win a bit of silverware. After the very poor showing against Down the previous week, the positive attitude shown by the Roscommon players, who refused to lie down having been behind a number of times in the game, was heart-warming to see and a lift ahead of a very important league game against Louth next Sunday in Drogheda.

  Both sides showed several changes from their strongest teams, and it was a chance for the two Kevins, McStay and Walsh, to look at some of their fringe players. From a Roscommon point of view it was great to see Cathal Cregg back in flying form and he has put himself in line for a starting spot against Louth with an excellent display and a goal and four points from play.

  Ross Timothy was also impressive at centre half-back and with Sean Mullooly out and Niall McInerney taking a break, he could come into the reckoning. Seanie McDermott and Peter Domican did well too and Ciaráin Murtagh was also back in scoring form.

  Even though Roscommon looked the best team for most of the way, they gifted Galway two very soft goals to keep them in contention and a few bad misses almost cost them dearly. Overall, it was a good win for Roscommon and a boost ahead of what is a now a crucial league game this weekend.

  On a damp and overcast day, it was Roscommon who were the better side early on. They led by 0-4 to no score by the 10th minute with Cathal Cregg scoring two cracking points and Donie Smith and Ross Timothy with the other two. But Galway came into it after that and with McHugh directing traffic from centre half-forward, they reduced the margin to a point after 15 minutes.

  Then calamity in the Roscommon defence in the 18th minute. An exchange of passes between James Fetherston and Seanie McDermott saw the Roscommon Gaels man slip and Frankie Burke nipped in to prod the ball to the empty net. It was a very soft goal but Roscommon were soon level with points from Cathal Cregg and a Ciaráin Murtagh free.

  Galway went ahead again in the 26th minute when an excellent through ball from Barry McHugh set Burke free and the corner forward grabbed his second goal of the game. A Rob Finnerty free saw the Tribesmen go four ahead but there was still time for the home side to strike before the break. In the 32nd minute, Donie Smith’s raking ball found brother Enda on the rampage and he centered for Cathal Cregg to fist home off the underside of the crossbar. Half-time score: Galway 2-4 Roscommon 1-6.

  The third quarter was tit for tat with the sides level on no less than five occasions. With the score Roscommon 1-10 Galway 2-7 by the 46th minute, points from Enda and Donie Smith saw the Rossies get their noses in front.

  In the 57th minute it looked like Roscommon had finally stolen a march on their rivals when Enda Smith scored a marvellous solo goal to leave them ahead by 2-13 to 2-8. But it wasn’t long before Galway were back in the match. McHugh pointed a long-range free, and in the 59th minute sub Dessie Conneelly was on hand to finish a sharp move to the net. Then points from Eoin Finnerty and Johnny Heaney (it could have been a goal) saw the visitors ahead by two with only two minutes left to play.

  But in fairness to Roscommon they came late to win it. Sub Niall Daly pointed in the 68th minute to reduce the margin to one and another sub, Diarmuid Murtagh, scored a superb point in the 70th minute to tie up the scores going into injury-time.

  Then a controversial free awarded to Roscommon in the 73rd minutes was pointed by Diarmuid Murtagh to edge them ahead. There was still time for Galway to equalise but Sean Armstrong’s 45-metre free fell short and refeeree Eamon O’Grady called a halt to proceedings shortly afterwards.

  The Paddy Francis Dwyer Cup was staying in Roscommon this time around and joint captains Conor Devaney and Ciaráin Murtagh did the honours afterwards with Cathal Cregg the deserved man of the match.

Teams and Scorers


Roscommon: James Fetherston; Philip Neilan, Peter Domican, Seanie McDermott; Tadgh McKenna, Ross Timothy (0-1), Ronan Daly; Conor Daly, Enda Smith (1-1); Fintan Cregg, Niall Kilroy, Henry Walsh; Donie Smith (0-3, 1 free), Ciaráin Murtagh (0-4, 3 frees), Cathal Cregg (1-4). Subs: Cathal Compton for F Cregg (h/t), Conor Devaney for Walsh (h/t), Niall Daly (0-1) for McKenna (55), Ciaran Lennon for C Daly (62), Tadgh McKenna for Neilan (65), Diarmuid Murtagh (0-2, 1 free) for D Smith (65).

Galway: Ronan Ó Beolain; Evan Wynne, Sean Mulkerrin, David Wynne; Gary O’Donnell, Johnny Duane, Johnny Heaney (0-1); Ciaran Duggan, Robert Finnerty (0-1, free); Eoin Finnerty (0-1), Barry McHugh (0-4, 2 frees), Tom Flynn (0-1); Padraig Cunningham (0-1), Sean Armstrong (0-2), Frankie Burke (2-0). Subs: Dessie Coneally (1-0) for Burke (42), Adrian Varley (0-1) for Cunningham (49), Cein Darcy for McHugh (65).

Referee: Eamon O’Grady (Leitrim)


McStay: ‘I was delighted with the attitude’

Kevin McStay said he was happy to have won the game while also relieved that his charges would be preparing for a huge National Football League game against Louth in better form.

  “It was nice to win it. We didn’t want extra-time and look, we could have lost it just as easily and I was delighted with the attitude of the players. I wouldn’t overstate it, but after what happened last week it is a help. It’s better to be facing into Drogheda with a win rather than a loss. It’s good to beat Galway and both sides were experimental but we had a look at our back-up talent and Galway were doing the same so we were glad to win it.

  “I thought that we were the better team overall. We made life difficult for ourselves by giving away two very soft goals but we were down a number of times in the game and we came back every time. It showed that our lads cared and wanted to win this FBD League final today. It meant a lot to us to win and I’m delighted.

  “We made a lot of changes. I was glad Cathal (Cregg) and Ross (Timothy) played well but most of the lads we brought in played well. It was a straight-up game, we just went for it and there was not much tactics involved. I thought that we did our business well and a lot of lads have put their hand up for a place in the team against Louth.

  “After last week we needed to shake it up a bit and we saw a lot of energy from a lot of lads today that was good to see. Look, it was a final and it is good to win it and hopefully we can build on it but we will know fairly quickly when we go out on the field next Sunday. If we played last Sunday like we did today we would have not got ourselves into the situation we are in. But I want us to crack on now and I get the feeling that there is a nice little buzz in the dressing room going forward,” he said.

  McStay was however slightly disappointed with the atmosphere at Dr Hyde Park, particularly when Roscommon were trailing.

  “The crowd are very slow to get behind us to be honest and maybe they are expecting to screw up and that’s tough. We need the home crowd behind us and I know we have not been consistent enough but I would love to see the home crowd commit to the team and not only follow us when we go four points up.

  “We only hear the crowd when we are winning and we need to hear them when things are tight but there was a nice buzz to it all today,” he concluded.

Stat Attack

Wides: Roscommon 7 (5 first half) Galway 9 (7 first half)

Red cards: None

Black cards: Roscommon 1 (Cathal Compton 73) Galway 0

Yellow cards: Roscommon 4 (Ronan Daly, Conor Daly, Enda Smith, Conor Devaney)   Galway 4 (Gary O’Donnell, Tom Flynn,Gareth Bradshaw, Robert Finnerty)

Scores from play: Roscommon 2-11 Galway 3-8

Man of the match: Cathal Cregg (Roscommon)

Attendance: 1,100