Rossies rock the Kingdom!

All-Ireland U-17 Football Championship

Roscommon 2-15

Kerry 1-13

Much like eleven years previously in an All-Ireland Minor Final replay, Roscommon got the better of Kerry in this underage encounter between the sides in Ennis last Saturday. The Rossies ran out deserving winners of an All-Ireland U-17 Semi-Final they dominated and dictated from the off.

  The Connacht champions managed to find the right answers for everything that Kerry were able to throw at them. Roscommon manager Liam Tully hailed a fantastic success after the final whistle, feeling it was nothing more than what the winners deserved.

  “They worked hard and there was great belief about what they were doing throughout the match. I’m very happy with how they responded to Kerry’s goal and the type of football we played to win. It wasn’t pulling and dragging and being defensive and some of the scores we took were amazing,” Tully said of the win.

  He added that while it looks great afterwards that the team never went behind in the game, it wasn’t a source of worry if Kerry had managed to go ahead on the scoreboard.  

  “We’ve been behind in games during the year and found a way back in them but our defence was outstanding in their tackling, dispossession and distribution of the ball which they had to be with the quality of that Kerry team.

  “We lost to Kerry in a challenge match earlier in the year and even though a lot of people didn’t believe me, I felt we could make amends if we played them again during the year. We don’t know a lot about Tyrone but our aim is to do the best we can for as long as we can ahead of the final.”

  Roscommon were in flying form from the off taking an early three point lead as Paul Carey and Peter Gillooly proved to be quite the handful for the Kerry defence on the day. Michael Kelliher scored a fine individual goal in the eight minute after a solo run through the Roscommon defence to get Kerry going on the scoreboard, but the Rossies responded five minutes later. Midfielder James Larkin was fouled by Fergal Barry when through on goal and a penalty could be the only outcome. Paul Carey converted the spot-kick to make the score 1-4 to 1-0 after 13 minutes.

  Luka Brosnan scored Kerry’s first point a minute later but his opposite number Ciaran Lawless scored twice for the Rossies to illustrate their ability to respond well every time the Kingdom got close. Indeed Kerry had to defend well to stop Paul Carey scoring a second goal in the 21st minute. Roscommon led 1-6 to 1-5 at the break.

  The second-half followed a similar pattern with Roscommon scoring and Kerry having to respond to keep the game in the melting pot. Micheal Devlin did have a great goal chance in the 47th minute but Michael O’Donnell saved from the Kerry forward at the concession of a ‘45. Franz Sauerland converted to tie the game at 1-11 apiece.

  The Carey and Gillooly combination worked well for Roscommon again however, as they went 1-15 to 1-12 ahead approaching four minutes of injury-time. Kerry were panicking in trying to salvage matters and the game was effectively decided when Gillooly pounced on a loose ball that came his way in the first minute of injury-time and burst through and finish past Deividas Uosis. 

  Shane Cunnane was a big presence for Roscommon at midfield as their defence coped brilliantly in preventing Kerry getting any sort of momentum in the game.

  Dylan Horan, Jack Keane and Pearse Frost were impressive in the Roscommon full-back line as Oisín Lennon and John Martin also did well in the half-back line.

  Sunday, August 27th is the final date with the Red Hand County of Tyrone as Roscommon have the chance to be crowned the only winners of this once-off competition before the Minor Football Championship reverts to U-17 in 2018.

Roscommon: Michael O’Donnell, Dylan Horan, Jack Keane, Pearse Frost, Ciaran Lawless (0-2), Oisin Lennon, John Martin, James Larkin, Shane Cunnane, Tomas McManus, Paul Carey (1-6), Andrew Lyons (0-1), Peter Gillooly (1-5, 2f), Ciaran Sugrue (0-1), Niall Higgins Subs: Darragh Murray for McManus (H/T), Paul McGrath for Sugrue (41), Ryan Donoghue for Larkin (56), Cathal Crehan (for Lyons (64)

Kerry: Deividas Uosis; Gearoid Lyne, Dylan Casey, Fergal Barry; Luka Brosnan (0-1), Eddie Horan (0-2, 1f), Thomas Devane; Sean O’Connell, Franz Sauerland (0-1); Donagh McMahon, Michael Kelliher (1-0), Sean Doherty; Barry Keane, Donal O’Sullivan (0-7, 6f), Michael Devlin (0-1) Subs: Daire Cleary (0-1) for McMahon (11), Sean Keane for Doherty (H/T), Shay Walsh for Barry Keane (44), Darren Looney for Devane (54), Muiris Fitzgerald for O’Connell (63), Brian Lonergan for Uosis (64).

Referee: Sean Lonergan (Tipperary).