Roscommon's Shane McGinley takes on Jack Connolly of Galway at Tuam Stadium this evening.
Roscommon's Shane McGinley takes on Jack Connolly of Galway at Tuam Stadium this evening.

Connacht MFC: Roscommon produce incredible comeback

Electric Ireland Connacht Minor Football semi-final


Kevin Egan at Tuam Stadium

Roscommon's remarkable underage year continued at Tuam Stadium tonight, where it was the turn of their minors to produce heroics at Galway’s expense. Despite falling 11 points behind in the first half, Enda Nugent’s side delivered an incredible comeback to set up a Connacht final tilt against Sligo next Friday night.

After making a bright start with early points from Ryan Conlon and Shane McGinley, Galway completely took control of affairs and quickly marched into an 11-point lead. Sean Bermingham and Eanna Monaghan registered goals and a series of points, wing backs Jack Folan and Cormac Greaney got into the act with some sublime points, and at midfield the towering duo of Daithi Kilcommins and Hugh Gavin were controlling possession and loading the gun for their attacking colleagues to fire the bullets.

Roscommon made a brief rally just before half-time to give themselves some cause for optimism, with Bobby Nugent scoring from a free and a mark either side of another Conlon point. At 2-8 to 0-6 adrift at half time with a deceptively strong breeze set to favour them for the second half hour, there was still plenty of hope shared among the vocal Roscommon support in the ground.

Galway got the second half underway with an excellent free off the ground from Jack Nolan, but Roscommon quickly rediscovered their rhythm and struck the next five points on the spin up to the water break, continuing their dominance even after James McGreal was black-carded, leaving them one player short.

Their challenge really burst into life with the next score after the restart, a powerful drive from Robert Heneghan that rattled the roof of the Galway net after he exchanged passes with Rory Hester. By now the Rossies had all the momentum and while Galway replied with two points from Sean Bermingham, the tide turned when Luc O'Connor was black-carded for a tackle on Nugent, just as McGreal was due to come back on. Nugent pointed the free to cut the gap to one and Roscommon went on another surge, moving two ahead in stoppage time through Nugent and Shane Walsh before Galway mounted one last attack.

It all boiled down to a 13-metre free that was blasted towards a packed Roscommon goal by Eanna Monaghan, but fizzed inches above the crossbar as opposed to below it, meaning that Roscommon and Sligo will meet in the Connacht minor final for the second year in a row next weekend.

Scorers for Roscommon: Bobby Nugent 0-8 (0-5f, 0-1m), Shane Walsh 0-3, Robert Heneghan 1-0, Shane McGinley (0-1 45, 0-1f) & Ryan Conlon 0-2 each, DJ Hession 0-1.

Scorers for Galway: Sean Bermingham (0-2f) and Eanna Monaghan (0-3f) 1-4 each, Jack Nolan 0-2 (0-1f), Jack Folan & Cormac Greaney 0-1 each.

Roscommon: Seán Kelly; Daniel Casey, James Brady, Eden Kerins; James McGreal, Ethan O’Reilly, Colm Neary; Shane Walsh, DJ Hession; Oisín O’Flaherty, Senan Lambe, Ryan Conlon; Robert Heneghan, Shane McGinley, Bobby Nugent.

Subs: Rory Hester for McGinley (43), Niall O’Donnell for O’Flaherty (60+3).

Galway: Eamon McGrath; Luc O’Connor, Jack Connolly, Daragh Jennings; Jack Folan, Jack Ramsey, Cormac Greaney; Daithí Kilcommins, Hugh Gavin; Jack Lonergan, Seán Bermingham, Glenn Kelly; Eanna Monaghan, Jack Nolan, Niall Mannion.

Subs: Colm Costello for Kelly (36), Ryan Kavanagh for Kilcommins (49), Darragh Lyons for Mannion (49), Eoin Brady for Jennings (54), Niall McGauran for Greaney (57).

Referee: Michael McGirl (Leitrim).