Tables turned as Rossies take cup back

 

 

 

The tables were turned at Pearse Stadium, Salthill last Sunday as Roscommon recovered from a 0-10 to 0-5 half-time score to once again wrestle the JJ Nestor Cup from Galwegian hands.

  In the 2018 decider at Dr. Hyde Park, it was Roscommon who endured a post-interval collapse, having led by 1-5 to 0-5 at the break. This time around it was the Tribesmen who fell flat after the half-time cup of tea. The fact that Kevin Walsh’s men could only muster two points in a dismal second half told  its own story.

  Roscommon had started the game brightly and showed plenty of attacking intent. However, they lacked intensity at the other end of the field and Galway’s patient approach initially paid dividends.

  While Roscommon were in hot water at the break, the hill they faced could easily have been a mountain had a big call on just ten minutes gone against them. Darren O’Malley’s challenge on Johnny Heaney was deemed fair and just seconds later Conor Cox bounced off Galway defenders before testing the laws of physics with a stunning point.

  Roscommon were an entirely different animal in the second half, however. With the tempo and intensity rising several notches, Galway soon looked a spent force.

  There was still a sting in the tail late on though but Roscommon kept their heads and showed real steel in the closing stages.

  Roscommon’s own ‘Bash Brothers’, the Dalys, brought much-needed muscle and needle to proceedings but in spite of their best efforts and the tireless work of Davy Murray and Niall Kilroy among others, there were a couple of hairy moments late on: O’Malley saved down low before John Daly dragged a late half-chance across the face of goal.

  At the other end, there was further evidence of Roscommon’s new-found doggedness and street smarts. Tadhg O’Rourke took a terrific mark when his team needed it most before one of the best transfers in Gaelic football history stole the show with two more superb scores late on. Conor Cox’s one-man ‘Score of the Game’ competition was worth the admission fee alone.

  Connacht champions for the second time in three years, the stage is now set for Roscommon to lay their Super 8s’ ghosts to rest this summer. However, the fine margins at play in both Castlebar and Salthill suggest there is plenty of fine-tuning to be done ahead of big days out at the Hyde and Croke Park. On the most recent evidence, the team appears to be in the most capable hands and the players will relish the challenge.