Connacht SFC: Roscommon best in the west
Connacht Senior Football Championship Final
ROSCOMMON 1-13 GALWAY 0-12
By John Fallon at Pearse Stadium
Roscommon staged a remarkable comeback to capture their 23rd Connacht SFC title at Pearse Stadium.
Roscommon trailed by five points at half-back, but Galway only managed to score two points when they had the breeze in the second-half.
It completed a miserable weekend for the Tribesmen, with their hurlers having lost to a Dublin team managed by Galway native Mattie Kenny on Saturday.
Now former Galway player and manager Anthony Cunningham has created history by managing a team to provincial glory in two codes after masterminding a superb comeback.
The sides were level three times in the opening 21 minutes but Galway pulled away from there to score five points without reply and lead by double scores — 0-10 to 0-5 — at the interval.
The heavy rain made it extremely difficult and they twice exchanged points in a lively opening with Conor Devaney and Ronan Daly hitting the target for Roscommon, while Michael Daly and Antaine Ó Laoí responded for Galway.
Shane Walsh, with two efforts, and Fionán Ó Curraoin pushed Galway in front with a point from Conor Cox leaving it 0-5 to 0-3 after 12 minutes.
Roscommon drew level at 0-5 apiece after 21 minutes but Galway’s ability to win a lot of possession around the middle of the field saw them open up a five points lead by the break.
Ó Laoí got his second point, Walsh added another free with Eamonn Brannigan, on the for injured Ó Curraoin, also finding the range before the champions extended the lead to five before the interval thanks to Michael Daly and centre-back Gareth Bradshaw.
Roscommon made a superb start to the second-half, with Niall Kilroy giving them a boost with a good point before Cathal Cregg put Diarmuid Murtagh through and the St Faithleachs’ clubman finished in excellent fashion.
That goal lifted Roscommon and they drew level after 42 minutes with another fine point from Cox before Murtagh edged them in front with a free after 50 minutes.
Galway, now with the wind, only got their first score of the second-half after 22 minutes when Michael Daly levelled the match, but almost immediately Niall Daly went forward and restored Roscommon’s lead and then Shane Killoran doubled it when he burst through the Galway defence.
Another free from Murtagh pushed Roscommon a goal in front with five minutes remaining.
Walsh cut the gap to two but Roscommon sealed the win thanks to a couple of points from Cox, prompting a pitch invasion by the delighted Rossies.
Scorers for Roscommon: Diarmuid Murtagh 1-3 (2fs), Conor Cox 0-5 (2f), Niall Daly 0-1, Ronan Daly 0-1, Shane Killoran 0-1, Conor Devaney 0-1, Niall Kilroy 0-1
Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-4 (2fs), Michael Daly 0-3 (1f), Antaine Ó Laoí 0-2, Gareth Bradshaw 0-1, Fiontán Ó Curraoin 0-1, Eamonn Brannigan 0-1.
ROSCOMMON: Darren O’Malley; Conor Daly, Seán Mullooly, David Murray; Niall Daly, Conor Hussey, Ronan Daly; Tadhg O’Rourke, Shane Killoran; Conor Devaney, Cathal Cregg, Niall Kilroy; Diarmuid Murtagh, Conor Cox, Enda Smith.
Subs: Hubert Darcy for Devaney (26), Colin Compton for Smith (57), Cian McKeon for Cregg (62), Andrew Glennon for Murtagh (68), Brian Stack for Killoran (70+5).
GALWAY: Ruairi Lavelle; Liam Silke, Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh, Eoghan Kerin; Gary O’Donnell, Gareth Bradshaw, John Daly; Thomas Flynn, Fionán Ó Curraoin; Peter Cooke, Michael Daly, Johnny Heaney; Antaine Ó Laoí, Ian Burke, Shane Walsh.
Subs: Eamonn Brannigan for Ó Curraoin (21), Sean Kelly for Cooke (54), Cillian McDaid for Heaney (62), Adrian Varley for M Daly (62), Martin Farragher for Burke (68), Kieran Molloy for O’Donnell (70+6).
REFEREE: Barry Cassidy (Derry).