Your favourite local sports column (that’s us here; Sports Desk) hereby formally extends a sympathetic ‘It’s okay, we understand’ to all Roscommon and Galway footballers who played any part in last Sunday’s wind-sponsored National Football League game at Dr Hyde Park.
Conditions really were very bad, with the strong winds making shooting (and foot-passing) extremely difficult. So, a free pass then to all who struggled to freely pass (or shoot)…
Watching from the stand on the Athlone Road side, I heard a few groans (in fairness, not too many) as supporters endured a fairly tedious game, but it really must have been so, so difficult to try and play constructive football in such conditions.
In the end, I thought it was great that Roscommon secured their first point of this season’s league campaign, because it was looking very bad entering the final nine or ten minutes of normal time, at which stage the home side were a man down, and playing against the unforgiving wind. To emerge with a draw from that position was a very good outcome for Roscommon (Galway did have a player black-carded a few minutes after Donie Smith was sent off).
Galway seemed to settle earliest, and had an edge possession-wise during undistinguished opening exchanges. It looked ominous for the home team, but thankfully early substitute Conor Cox judged a few pressure kicks superbly well and three scores from his boot meant Roscommon had a three-point half-time lead (0-7 to 0-4).
Galway predictably closed the gap, before scores from Ben O’Carroll and Diarmuid Murtagh lifted the hard-working home team, Roscommon now 0-9 to 0-7 ahead, 53 minutes having elapsed.
It still looked ominous for Davy Burke’s men, given the general rhythm of the game, with Galway more direct, Roscommon opting for patience before profit.
Galway closed the gap to one, then came Donie Smith’s instinctive reaction to Paul Conroy’s overzealous attention, the Boyle man seeing red. Galway drew level, and while an ambitious late Roscommon attempt at a winner went wide, it was Paraic Joyce’s team that looked marginally more likely to win it.
It ended with honours even, which I would suggest was probably a relief for Roscommon on the day. A word for Eoin McCormack, who made some notable penetrating runs, on a day when Roscommon’s laboured and conservative approach occasionally tested the patience of the home crowd.
All told, not an ideal day for football, and Roscommon’s resilience delivered a badly-needed point. Onwards and upwards!