Allianz FL D2: Spoils shared at Dr Hyde Park
Allianz Football League Division Two
ROSCOMMON 2-12 MEATH 2-12
By Kevin Egan at Dr Hyde Park
Six months after he fired over an injury time free from 40 metres to salvage a draw for Roscommon against Mayo in the All Ireland quarter final at Croke Park, Donie Smith once again played the part of last minute saviour for his county as he coolly slotted home a penalty to tie up an enthralling contest,
Roscommon were by far the more efficient side while playing against the stiff breeze in the first half, and they were very well poised at 1-6 to 1-5 in front.
Just one wide was registered at the town end of the ground by Roscommon in the first half and while Cillian O’Sullivan finished off a superb solo goal to undo their fine early start, the Connacht champions settled back into their work and regained the lead when a Ciaráin Murtagh pass found Seán Mullooly breaking forward, and the wing back duly floated a gorgeous lob over the head of Andrew Colgan to restore the Rossies’ lead. Thomas O’Reilly and Joey Wallace picked off points before half time to keep the game tight, but all the momentum was with Roscommon and they carried that into the second half.
The St. Faithleach’s brothers, Diarmuid and Ciaráin Murtagh terrorised Meath for most of this game and they cut loose after half time, helping Roscommon into a 1-11 to 1-6 lead by the 46th minute. However Diarmuid sustained an injury moments after firing over his fifth point of the game and he was replaced by Conor Daly, a player who normally operates in the middle third of the field.
Whether coincidentally or as a result of that defensive switch, the tie changed utterly and Meath completely dominated the final quarter. Andy McEntee can certainly take credit for his substitutions as Sean Tobin, Eamon Wallace and in particular Padraig McKeever added real impetus to the Meath attack.
A chipped pass from Seán Tobin set up the move that ended with Eamon Wallace firing in Meath’s second goal and they took a four-point lead into injury time, seemingly home and hosed at that stage.
Roscommon rallied once again, however, and after a Finbar Cregg free cut the gap, the last attack of the game led to their decisive score. Conor Devaney showed why he was handed the captain’s armband this year when he earned a critical turnover under the terrace and when the ball was worked down to Finbar Cregg, he was tripped up and Barry Cassidy was left with the easy decision to stretch out his arms.
Despite having spent less than 10 minutes on the field and enjoying little or no possession, Donie Smith duly stepped up to slot home the penalty, guaranteeing a share of the spoils at the end of a thoroughly enjoyable contest.
Scorers for Roscommon: Diarmuid Murtagh 0-5 (2fs), S Mullooly and D Smith (pen) 1-0 each, C Murtagh 0-2 (1f), N Kilroy 0-1, E Smith 0-1, C Lennon 0-1, D Murray 0-1, Finbar Cregg 0-1 (f).
Scorers for Meath: Cillian O’Sullivan 1-0, Eamon Wallace 1-0, Padraig McKeever 0-3 (1f), Sean Tobin 0-2 (1f), Ben Brennan 0-2 (2fs), Thomas O’Reilly 0-1f, James McEntee 0-1, Joey Wallace 0-1, Bryan Menton 0-1, Seamus Lavin 0-1.
ROSCOMMON: Colm Lavin; David Murray, Niall McInerney, John McManus; Conor Devaney, Fergal Lennon, Seán Mullooly; Ian Kilbride, Tadhg O’Rourke; Niall Daly, Niall Kilroy, Enda Smith; Diarmuid Murtagh, Ciarán Lennon, Ciaráin Murtagh.
Subs: Finbar Cregg for Kilbride (25), Conor Daly for D Murtagh (46), Cathal Cregg for Kilroy (52), Ronan Daly for N Daly (54), Peter Domican for Murray (60, black card), Donie Smith for C Murtagh (66).
MEATH: Andrew Colgan; Mickey Burke, Conor Gill, Seamus Lavin; Brian Power, Donal Keogan, Shane McEntee; Adam Flanagan, Bryan Menton; James McEntee, Ben Brennan, Graham Reilly; Thomas O’Reilly, Cillian O’Sullivan, Joey Wallace.
Subs: Brian Conlon for Burke (29), Padraig McKeever for O’Reilly (HT), Eamon Wallace for Brennan (46), Sean Tobin for Reilly (46), Dan O’Neill for O’Sullivan (59), Alan Douglas for Power (70, black card).
REFEREE: Barry Cassidy (Derry).