Allianz FL D2: Roscommon claim silverware
Allianz Football League Division Two Final
ROSCOMMON 4-16 CAVAN 4-12
By Cian O'Connell at Croke Park
For much of the past decade Roscommon traded on promise, but Kevin McStay’s team are beginning to deliver on the senior inter-county arena.
Having contested nine Connacht Under 21 Finals since 2007, Roscommon are manufacturing capable footballers, and McStay continues to stitch a nice team together.
Last year’s provincial triumph was a significant achievement generating belief and momentum and Roscommon will hit the summer keen to make a similar impact.
This thriller at GAA headquarters captured Roscommon’s willingness to attack and while the concession of four goals is a worry, they still found a route to victory.
It was a curious opening period in the sense that Roscommon leaked three goals, didn’t score a major, and still led by a point at the break.
That was chiefly due to a splendid attack in which Conor Devaney, Donie Smith, and Diarmuid Murtagh excelled alongside Ciaran Lennon, who repeatedly showed for possession.
Lennon’s emergence has been a real positive for Roscommon, who absorbed the concession of two early goals in the first nine minutes.
Conor Bradley burst through to rattle the Roscommon net in the fourth minute while Martin Reilly added a second following a Conor Daly foul on Dara McVeety.
Roscommon, though, weren’t vexed by the shaky start and managed to reel off eight points without reply during a brilliant burst.
Devaney craved involvement, while Smith and Diarmuid Murtagh were always available with Lennon another good outlet. Under pressure Cavan did respond with McVeety demonstrating admirable composure to plunder a 26th minute goal.
That edged Cavan 3-1 to 0-9 in front, but three Roscommon points on the spin from Smith (2) and Niall Kilroy was a defiant response as Kevin McStay’s charges converted 12 from 20 attempts.
Padraig Faulkner nailed a score for Cavan, who trailed at the interval by 0-12 to 3-2 and the issue was delicately poised.
Cavan, though, were sharp after the restart clipping three of the next four points with McVeety remaining prominent, while Seanie Johnston had entered the fray.
Roscommon’s response was to grab a 44th minute goal as Kilroy supplied a fisting finish ensuring the Connacht champions led 1-13 to 3-5.
Seconds later David Murray burst forward to create just enough space to blast a second Roscommon goal and suddenly they had a five point cushion to protect.
Enda Smith announced his arrival into the game with a score, but Cavan came thundering back once more with a goal from Enda Flanagan either side of McVeety and Ciaran Brady points.
Only the narrowest of margins divided Roscommon and Cavan once more, and Johnson restored parity with a splendid effort from an acute angle.
Inevitably Roscommon summoned a riposte as another replacement Cathal Cregg made the Cavan net dance with an assured finish.
Cregg reacted promptly to hit the insurance goal on 64 as Roscommon closed the deal.
Scorers for Roscommon: Cathal Cregg 2-1, Diarmuid Murtagh 0-4 (2fs), Conor Devaney and Donie Smith 0-3 each, Niall Kilroy 1-1, David Murray 1-0, Niall McInerney, Enda Smith, Ian Kilbride, and Ciarain Murtagh (f) 0-1 each.
*Scorers for Cavan: *Dara McVeety 1-3, Enda Flanagan, Conor Bradley, and Martin Reilly (pen) 1-0 each, Sean Johnston 0-4 (2fs), Padraig Faulkner, Ciaran Brady, Caoimhin O’Reilly (f), Gearoid McKiernan (f), and Raymond Galligan (45) 0-1 each.
ROSCOMMON: James Featherston; David Murray, Peter Domican, Fergal Lennon; Conor Daly, Ultan Harney, Brian Stack; Tadhg O'Rourke, Cathal Compton; Ciarain Murtagh, Niall Kilroy, Conor Devaney; Donie Smith, Ciaran Lennon, Diarmuid Murtagh.
Subs: Niall McInerney for Conor Daly (HT) , Enda Smith for O’Rourke (47), Cathal Cregg for Ciaran Lennon (51), Tadhg O’Rourke for Compton (54, BC), Niall Daly for Stack (61), Ian Kilbride for Fergal Lennon (67)
CAVAN: Raymond Galligan; Jason McLoughlin, Padraig Faulkner, Enda Flanagan; Martin Reilly, Ciaran Brady, Oisin Kiernan; Gearoid McKiernan, Killian Clarke; Dara McVeety, Bryan Magee, Cian Mackey; Caoimhin O'Reilly, Adrian Cole, Conor Bradley.
Subs: Niall Murray for Magee (29), Seanie Johnston for O’Reilly (HT), Niall Clerkin for McLoughlin (22), Conor Madden for Bradley (51), Stephen Murray for Flanagan (51), Conor Moynagh for McVeety (62)
REFEREE: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).