Championship finishes with a flourish
Maybe it was that the weather helped on the day but both county finals last Sunday were excellent games.
The minor match was as good as I have ever seen in the county. Clann and Brigid’s slugged it out score for score until the final couple of minutes. It was breath-taking stuff.
The senior game was not as flamboyant but it was a thrilling spectacle nevertheless. You have to hand it to St. Brigid’s. They are a fantastic club and their haul of major titles goes on. They know how to win these big games in the county and that experience is crucial. They shot only one wide in the first half. They were so economical in front of goal it meant that the Gaels had to match that if they wanted to win and they fell short in that department.
The sending off of David O’Gara may or may not have decided the game but it was a huge call for Brendan Healy to make on the say of the linesman. I know that I might have purple and gold tinted glasses on but it looked a very harsh sanction to me. We will never know now but it would have been interesting to see how the game would have turned out if the Gaels had 15 men on the field.
As it was, Brigid’s pulled away in the end and their last two goals were very well-taken. On the balance of play they deserved to win it and they were able to get scores easier than the Gaels. They started the season poorly but they have come good at just the right time. Hopefully they will give a good account of themselves against Corofin in the Connacht Club Championship. They look a stronger team this year with Brian Stack improving all the time and a host of young players on the way up.
For the Gaels, the hope would be that they can keep their team together and come back next year. They have put a huge effort in over the past few years trying to win this title and they are certainly not far away. Maybe they need another scoring forward, but they certainly gave this county final everything and the bitter experience of last Sunday will surely stand to them in the future.
But with the minor title and the Junior A title also in the bag, Brigid’s look set fair to dominate the club scene here for many years to come. They are putting in the work and they are reaping the rewards.
Now that the championships are over are there any players who deserve to be looked at for the county senior panel?
I don’t know what the situation is with Cathal Cregg or whether he wants to return but he certainly played well enough this year and his brother Finbar is certainly worth a trial. He had a great championship.
Mark Healy is another who had a super championship although work commitments may well rule him out.
Padraig Kelly is another who played well in every championship game that I saw him play this summer.
James Fetherstone is a goalkeeper with a bright future ahead and he has been with the senior panel already, as has Cian McKeon.
The situation with regard to Neil Collins is uncertain too but hopefully there will be more clarity on that one in the next few months.
It is always nice to see some fresh faces on any county panel. It freshens things up and increases competition for places, which is healthy.
Minors provided a footballing lesson
If you were putting a DVD together to show young players how the game of Gaelic football should be played then you could go no further than last Sunday’s minor final. It was an exhibition from two fantastic teams on how to take scores, long kick passing, superb movement, fielding and great sportsmanship too. St. Brigid’s may have gone into the game as favourites but Clann na nGael were having none of it and we were treated to a thrilling spectacle.
Those entrusted with the future of the game here in the county would have been very happy at what they saw last Sunday. Not for the first time in recent years have we a crop of wonderfully talented young players in Roscommon. We must look after them and bring them forward.
We were in an All-Ireland U-17 final this year, it’s early days yet but Roscommon CBS look very strong this year and there will be high expectations of our U-17 team again in 2018. I know that success at underage level never guarantees success at senior level but the signs are very good at the moment.
Football Gods smile on us again
The football Gods have smiled once again on Roscommon with regard to the draw for the championship in 2018. Having been on the easier side of the draw in each of the previous two years I was fearful that our luck was going to run out but not so and now we await the winner of New York v Leitrim for a place in the Connacht final.
Of course, due respect must be given to that game but the reality is that Roscommon would be 70 minutes away from the new Super 8 competition which every team will be trying to get into next year. It also ensures that Kevin McStay and his team can have a real cut at the league and try to get back to Division One. It is an exciting prospect.
Programme was a real ‘PRO’ job!
I want to publicly congratulate Roscommon PRO Hugh Lynn on the excellent programmes he produced for the recent county finals. As one who worked on a few programmes over the years, I know how much work is involved and they are excellent mementos of the big day for all clubs. Well done!
Sadness at Gerry’s passing
In common with many people in the county I was shocked to hear of the death last week of Gerry Callaghan. I met Gerry regularly at County Board meetings and Roscommon games over the years and he was always a pleasure to meet. He loved sport and we shared a passion for Roscommon football and Manchester United. But he was a lover of all sports and his untimely passing has cast a pall of sadness over the county in recent days. To his wife Teresa and daughters Olivia and Fiona, I extend my deepest sympathy. May he rest in peace.
City running away with the title
Even at this early stage of the season it looks like Manchester City will run away with the Premier League title this year. They are playing by far the best and most attractive football with Kevin de Bruyne the best player in the league at the moment.
Manchester United just didn’t have the stomach for the battle against Huddersfield and afterwards Mourinho blamed his players, which is always a bad sign.
Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal are all prone to major lapses. Jurgen Klopp wil have to get a few results soon or the Liverpool faithful will lose patience.
The only team that appear able to challenge City are Spurs but they suffer from a lack of strength in depth. If Harry Kane, Eriksen or Deli Alli get injured, they are in big trouble.
Here, the build up to the forthcoming World Cup play-off has started and Ireland will hold no fears of Denmark. It looks a real 50/50 affair and if Ireland can show the same spirit they did against Wales over the two legs then qualification is very likely.