ROSSIES REIGN IN THE KINGDOM

Allianz National Football League Division One
Roscommon 0-14 Kerry 1-10

Joint Roscommon manager Fergal O’Donnell paid tribute to the “great heart and determination” of the Roscommon starting fifteen and subs following last Sunday’s stunning win over Kerry in Killarney.

  Displaying huge reserves of heart, determination and no little skill, Roscommon travelled to Kerry and pulled off a sensational win at Fitzgerald Stadium. It was the first time that any Roscommon senior football team had won a competitive game on Kerry soil and it a was victory that was thoroughly deserved.

  A delighted O’Donnell quipped to the waiting media that the journey home to Roscommon would be a lot shorter than the journey to Kerry had been.

  On a foul day weather-wise, Roscommon just dug their heels in and refused to be beaten, particularly in the second half when they were playing into the teeth of a gale force wind and driving rain showers.

  The first half was played in three phases. Kerry, playing against the elements, dominated the first ten minutes and scored three points without reply. Roscommon were struggling and, incredibly, they lost seven out of their first eight kick-outs.

  But, as if a light switch was flicked, Roscommon came thundering into the match and they then kicked eight points in a row, playing some sparkling football. Roscommon moved 0-8 to 0-3 clear but a frenzy of scores by Kerry, including a soft goal, saw them lead 1-6 to 0-8 at half-time.

  O’Donnell acknowledged that Roscommon started poorly before recovering very well to score eight in a row.

  “But we conceded a very soft goal. He (Stephen O’Brien) got in very easily for that. We were struggling in the air with David Moran and Johnny Buckley around the middle but we were competing well on the ground.”

  With Roscommon facing into the wind and rain in the second half, it looked odds-on a Kerry win. But Roscommon had other ideas. From the minute the ball was thrown in Roscommon players tore into the game as if their lives depended on it and they fought like tigers to a man. It was stirring stuff and the vociferous Roscommon following were on their feet for most of what was a memorable second period.

  Many Roscommon players stood up to the plate on Sunday and the work rate shown was cheered to the echo by the huge travelling army of Roscommon fans who created a wonderful atmosphere at this famous old ground.

  O’Donnell: “Both sides started slowly in the second half and there was a lot of mistakes out there but our confidence was building all the time and the subs we brought in all did well. Seanie Purcell and Cathal Shine were excellent and they made a huge contribution. We were worth our win and we definitely deserved it and we showed great heart and determination. It may not have been the greatest game of football ever but it was a great win.”

  Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice saw his side come from five points down to lead by one at the break –only for more twists and turns to follow.

  He said: “We were in a good position at half-time but we didn’t build on it and in fairness to Roscommon they kicked some mighty scores and they closed out the game well.

  “We didn’t deserve to win it today. Roscommon were the better team and we just have to take it on the chin and move on. Each team had their periods of dominance but Roscommon took their scores better when they were on top.

  “We are short a lot of players but our effort was well improved on last week. Still, we have a huge amount of work to do. Fair play to Roscommon today…they were the better team.”

  O’Donnell meanwhile wasn’t getting carried away.

  “We are still turning over possession far too many times, but there were some great performances. Cathal (Cregg) got a needless black card and we have to cut out things like that. But the effort was massive today and it may have been a long journey down here but it will be a lot shorter going home after that win.

  “We know that we will struggle in this division and we are delighted to get something here today. Maybe we were unlucky last week, but we got the breaks this week.

  “We have put in a lot of work up to now and I realise that Kerry are not as fit as we are. We wanted to get something out of our first two games and we have managed that. No one is getting carried away but we have three weeks to prepare for the next three games and we can reassess now after this win.”

  Last week Roscommon lost it late against Monaghan, but there was no denying the Rossies this time around.