Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC quarter-final
When Fuerty look back on their first SFC in many decades they can be justifiably proud of their efforts. However, they will rue the many chances that they missed – especially in the final quarter – in this very tight and tense quarter-final played at Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday.
Full credit to Strokestown, however. They looked well off the pace at times in the opening half and at one stage they trailed by five points. But with Colin Compton. Paddy Brogan and David Butler to the fore, they reeled in Malachy Gately’s men in the final quarter and kicked five points without reply to sweep past a shell-shocked Fuerty.
With Niall Kilroy flying, it was Fuerty who looked the stronger side early on. They suffered a severe blow after just eight minutes when county senior panellist Aengus Lyons was forced off with a nasty-looking knee injury. Twelve minutes elapsed before the game’s first score, a point from Niall Kilroy. The same player pointed again soon after. A Cian Murray point and a Gearoid Ennis free helped Fuerty into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead after 24 minutes, with Colin Compton (free) and David Butler on target for Strokestown.
The game then burst into life with two goals being scored inside a minute. In the 25th minute Fuerty struck. Gearoid Ennis was the provider and Niall Kilroy finished brilliantly, low and into the corner. Strokestown responded, sweeping downfield with great effect as Diarmuid McGann set up Colin Compton for another very smart finish.
Robbie Fallon and David Butler exchanged points from play before the break to send the teams into the dressing rooms with Fuerty ahead by two, 1-5 to 1-3.
It looked likely that Fuerty would keep their noses in front as they were always able to match Stokestown score for score in the third quarter. By the 43rd minute, Fuerty led by 1-8 to 1-5. But Nigel Dineen’s ‘Town side stepped up a gear after that and it was a really tense contest in the final quarter. Fuerty didn’t score for the final 20 minutes and that cost them dearly in the end.
Strokestown sub Cian Corcoran boomed over a point from 40 metres in the 48th minute and when Colin Compton converted two frees it left only a point between the teams as the clock ticked on towards the 60th minute.
Fuerty were gaining plenty of possession but their scoring power had dried up. In the second minute of injury-time Niall Kilroy was fouled to the right of the posts about 25 metres out. It looked a simple free for a left-footed kicker. Gearoid Ennis decided to assume the responsibility but he sent the ball agonisingly wide. It was a golden opportunity to at least send the game into extra-time. Strokestown swept downfield and sub Gerard Collins kicked a simple score to seal the victory with all the Fuerty defenders caught downfield.
For Fuerty, this was a desperately disappointing loss. For Strokestown, it’s a great win and now they are in the last four after a campaign that had started poorly for them. They are improving all the time and going into the semi-final against Roscommon Gaels as underdogs will suit them fine.
For Strokestown, John McHugh, Michael Fallon, Paddy Brogan, David Butler and Colin Compton were excellent. For Fuerty, Niall Kilroy was outstanding once again, while Tom Bannon, Peter Kellehan and Philip Neilan were also very prominent.
Strokestown: John McHugh; Conor Kelly, Ruaidhri Molloy, Cathal Brogan; Dylan Owens, Michael Fallon, Kevin Sheil; Paddy Brogan, David Butler (0-2); Tony Lavin, Daniel Rogers (0-1), David Neary; Keith Murphy, Colin Compton (1-4, 3 frees), Diarmuid McGann (0-1,’45).
Subs: Cian Corcoran (0-1) for C Kelly (45), Gerard Collins (0-1) for C Brogan (54), Luke Kelly for Lavin (59).
Fuerty: Joe Fallon; Adam Whyte, Tom Bannon, Cian Murray (0-1); Ben McGahon, Peter Kellehan, Darragh Heavey; Philip Neilan, Brendan Mullen; Aengus Lyons, Eamon Bannon, Niall Kilroy (1-3); Oisin Lyons, Robbie Fallon (0-1), Gearoid Ennis (0-3, 2 frees, ’45).
Subs: Niall Keenan for A Lyons (9), Christy Leahy for R Fallon (43), Joe Brennan for Keenan (b/c 62).
Referee: Pat McTiernan.