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Electric Ireland Connacht MFC: Impressive Roscommon advance

A general view of Tuam Stadium. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

A general view of Tuam Stadium. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Electric Ireland Connacht MFC Semi-Final

Roscommon 3-5 Galway 0-7

By Billy Coss at Tuam Stadium

Late first half goals from Eoin Collins and Dara Curran proved crucial as Roscommon earned a well-deserved seven-point victory over Galway and qualified for the Connacht Minor Football Championship final.

Killian Joyce (two) and Niall de Paor were on target for Galway and Dean Casey, Stephen Tighe and Joe McKeon for Roscommon as the sides were level on three separate occasions during a cagey first half.

The home side looked well positioned when de Paor, son of former two-time All-Ireland and All-Star winner Seán Óg, kicked his second point in quick succession to edge the home side in front, 0-4 to 0-3, despite shooting into a tricky wind.

James Duignan’s side would close the half in the ascendancy and three events in as many minutes turned the tide in their favour before the break.

Collins was the catalyst, starting and finishing a move that saw him blast past Galway ‘keeper Jamie King in the 28th minute. It was a superb score from the wing-back who goes to school inside the Galway border in Glenamaddy.

To compound matters for Galway, they lost defender Shay Rabbitt to a black card. Then came the third and perhaps most decisive moment when centre half-forward Dara Curran won a turnover deep inside Galway territory and traded passes with Casey before tucking away a fine finish.

That armed Roscommon with a 2-3 to 0-4 lead at the interval and though Joyce, Galway’s top scorer with five points, trimmed the deficit after the restart, they would not add to their tally again for another 20 minutes.

By then, Roscommon had tacked on a Curran free and also struck for their second goal when Casey collected a pass from Curran and broke through to fire to the net in the 51st minute.

Trailing by 3-4 to 0-5, Galway needed a goal to ignite a late rally but found Roscommon keeper Patrick Gaynor in terrific form when saving from Charlie Killeen.

Joyce landed two late points for Galway before the excellent Curran rounded off the scoring for Roscommon.

Their reward is a provincial final with Mayo on Friday evening at Dr. Hyde Park and by extension qualification for the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Galway, meanwhile, enter a second-tier national competition that will be played for the first time in 2024.

Scorers for Roscommon: Dara Curran 1-2 (1f), Dean Casey 1-1, Eoin Collins 1-0, Stephen Tighe and Joe McKeon 0-1 each.

Scorers for Galway: Killian Joyce 0-5 (2f), Niall de Paor 0-2 (1f).

Roscommon: Patrick Gaynor; Liam Finneran, Gordon Casey, Colin Murray; Eoin Collins, Keelan Kelly (captain), Declan Kennedy; Darragh Devaney, Cathal Enright; Joe McKeon, Dara Curran, Alan Conroy; Shay McGuinness, Stephen Tighe, Dean Casey.

Subs: Seán McDonnell for McGuinness (42), Anthony Cox for Murray (47), Samuel Malec-Hannon for McKeon (53) Jeffrey Oates for Conroy (57), Martin Connaughton for Finneran (58).

Galway: Jamie King; Daniel Hughes (captain), Seán Martyn, Ethan Forde; Shay Rabbitt, Richard McGrath, Cian Rafferty; Alan Burke, John O’Sullivan; Ciarán O’Donnell, Charlie Killeen, Ferdia Ó Braonáin; Killian Joyce, Niall de Paor, Seán O’Callaghan.

Subs: Luke Dempsey for O’Callaghan (43), Brian O’Malley for Rafferty (43), Jerimiah Oifoh for de Paor (49), Michael Leahy for O’Sullivan (49), David Kilraine for O’Donnell (53).

Referee: John Gilmartin (Sligo).