Electric Ireland Connacht MFC (Round Robin – Round 1)
A scintillating second half display, which saw the home side outscore Galway by 1-11 to 0-4, ensured that Roscommon opened their 2019 campaign with a thrilling win at Dr. Hyde Park last Friday night.
There didn’t look much prospect of a Roscommon victory when they were comprehensively outplayed in the opening half, at the end of which they trailed by 1-11 to 0-6 and were struggling, particularly in defence. To add to Roscommon’s woes, talented centre half-forward Daire Cregg was stretchered off in the 16th minute with a nasty knee injury.
But Emmet Durney’s side were transformed in the second period. They attacked the ball with aggression and purpose and the whittled away the Galway lead with some fantastic scores, not least a spectacular goal from sub Aaron Oyiki in the 47th minute. Castlerea’s Adam McDermott was also outstanding, scoring 0-7 on the night, five from play. Others to shine for Roscommon were Patrick Gavin, Sean Trundle, Jack McDermott and Cathal Feeley.
It was a lively contest from the opening whistle and it was Galway who dominated for the most part. They led by 1-6 to 0-3 after twelve minutes with Nathan Grainger the goalscorer after a terrible mix-up in the Roscommon defence. Roscommon were clinging on but were struggling to cope with the Galway attack and by half-time the visitors led by 1-11 to 0-6.
But Roscommon were a different prospect on the resumption. Within ten minutes the margin was down to three points (1-12 to 0-12) with McDermott, Cathal Feeley (2), Eoin Colleran, Jack McDermott and Sean Trundle (free) all on target.
In the 44th minute McDermott narrowed the gap even further with a pointed free and then in the 49th minute Roscommon sub Aaron Oyiki lit up Dr. Hyde Park with a magnificent goal. The long ball knocked down to him saw him in possession twenty yards out and with supporters and teammates screaming at him to kick a point, he blasted an exocet missile into the top corner. Two goalkeepers would not have saved the shot and now Roscommon were in business, and ahead in the game for the first time.
Galway kicked two points from Tomo Culhane (1 free) to edge ahead again by the 53rd minute but Roscommon were not to be denied. McDermott kicked three mighty points on the spin (one free) and when Cathal Feeley landed a great score in injury-time, the home side had done enough. Roscommon will now play Mayo in Ballina on Friday night.
After the match the Roscommon team manager Emmet Durney was relieved with his side’s second half display.
“We were rocking at half-time, we didn’t show enough aggression in the first half. We were too slow on to the breaking ball and then we lost Daire Cregg which was a huge loss to the team. But I have great faith in these lads. There is great bravery, courage, commitment and determination in them and those qualities all came to the fore in the second half.
“Adam (McDermott) and Cathal (Feeley) got some great scores and then the big man came on and got a great goal. But we said at half-time that if we didn’t take the game to Galway they were going to roll over us. We had to dig in.
“It’s a great win but it’s only the first game and we have to get ready to go to Ballina and play Mayo now and that will be a whole different challenge. But we will travel with momentum after tonight and I’m delighted for the lads,” he concluded.
Roscommon: James Costello; Patrick Gavin, Tom Shine, Conor Lohan; Cian Glennon, Oisin Cregg, Sean Trundle (0-2, 1 free); Ruaidhri Fallon, Jack McDermott (0-1); Cathal Feeley (0-3), Daire Cregg (0-1), Mark Purcell (0-1); Ben O’Carroll, Eoin Colleran (0-2), Adam McDermott (0-7, 2 frees).
Subs: Mark Naughton for Cregg (16), Aaron Oyiki (1-0) for Purcell (38), Jack Downey for Shine (40), Evan Corcoran for O’Carroll (53), Shane Keenan for Fallon (59).
Galway: Donie Halloran; Jonathan McGrath, Ruari King, Liam Tevnan; Ethan Fiorentini, Darragh Kennedy, Daniel McNulty (0-1); James McLaughlin, Daniel Flaherty; Alan Naughton (0-2, 1 free), Daniel Cox (0-2), Dylan Brady (0-1); Nathan Grainger (1-1), Tomo Culhane (0-7, 4 frees), Warren Seoige.
Subs: Niall Cunningham, for Brady (41), Cian Hernon for McNulty (42), Kyle O’Neill for Kennedy (51), Mark Colleran for O’Flaherty (59), Shane McGrath for Culhane (61).
Referee: Paul Lydon (Mayo)