Super second half sees Roscommon claim Connacht title

Super second half sees Roscommon claim Connacht title
Diarmuid Murtagh score Roscommon's goal. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Roscommon 1-12 - 0-11 Galway

A forceful second-half display - during which they outscored their hosts by 1-8 to 0-2 - secured a 25th Connacht SFC title for Roscommon.

Not since 2001 have Roscommon beaten Galway and Mayo in the one summer, with this latest provincial triumph, the county's second in third years, masterminded by a Galway native in Anthony Cunningham.

Behind by five at the break, it took Roscommon all of seven second-half minutes to undo Galway’s somewhat substantial interval advantage. It began with a Niall Kilroy point on 39 minutes, Roscommon’s first score in 19 minutes of action. Then arrived the sole goal of this Connacht decider, Cathal Cregg sliding possession through to Diarmuid Murtagh who angled the ball around the onrushing Ruairí Lavelle. A Conor Cox point not too long after and Roscommon, whose situation looked rather dire going back down the tunnel at half-time, were back on level terms.

Diarmuid Murtagh’s first free of the afternoon, on 51 minutes, edged the 2017 champions in front for the first time since the sixth minute. Michael Daly’s white flag for Galway on 57 minutes represented their opening score of the second-half and while it brought temporary stalemate, momentum lay with the visitors and there it would remain right through to the finish.

Ultan Harney of Roscommon being chased by Galway's Eoghan Kerin Picture: INPHO/Tommy Dickson
Ultan Harney of Roscommon being chased by Galway's Eoghan Kerin Picture: INPHO/Tommy Dickson

The Tribesmen, whose forward play was nothing short of tragic in the second period, managed the paltry total of 0-2 upon the change of ends, one of which was an injury-time ‘45.

Star of the show was Roscommon’s Kerry import Conor Cox, who finished with 0-6 to his name. He gave Galway full-back Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh a torrid time.

There were rather bizarre scenes at the finish as Roscommon supporters in the crowd of 17,639 flooded the field before referee Barry Cassidy had sounded his full-time whistle. An announcement came over the PA requesting patrons leave the field so as to allow the game to continue. It took almost a minute before the pitch was free of supporters.

In what was a slow grind of a first-half, it was the hosts who held a double-scores, 0-10 to 0-5, interval advantage. The healthy attendance at Salthill had been treated to a lively opening 11 minutes of fare, during which seven points were tallied. The last of those was an audacious effort, kicked from the tightest of angles, courtesy of Conor Cox’s left boot.

 Galway's Johnny Heaney being pressured by Cathal Cregg of Roscommon. Picture: INPHO/Tommy Grealy
Galway's Johnny Heaney being pressured by Cathal Cregg of Roscommon. Picture: INPHO/Tommy Grealy

That left the visitors just one behind, 0-4 to 0-3, but they’d manage only two further scores for the remainder of the half. Those white flags came back-to-back, via Cox (free) and Diarmuid Murtagh, on 17 and 20 minutes respectively to tie proceedings at 0-5 all.

But that, of course, was Roscommon’s lot for the first-half, whereas Galway, who were employing their familiar approach of numbers at the back, followed by patient build-up play in the opposition half, would proceed to reel off five unanswered points from Antaine Ó Laoi, Shane Walsh (free), Eamonn Brannigan, Michael Daly (free) and Gareth Bradshaw.

Shane Walsh of Galway being chased by Shane Killoran of Roscommon. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfil
Shane Walsh of Galway being chased by Shane Killoran of Roscommon. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfil

It all changed upon the resumption.

Scorers for Galway: S Walsh (0-4, 0-2 frees, 0-1 ‘45); M Daly (0-3, 0-1 free); A Ó Laoi (0-2); E Brannigan, G Bradshaw, F Ó Curraoin (0-1 each).

Scorers for Roscommon: C Cox (0-6, 0-3 frees); D Murtagh (1-3, 0-2 frees); N Daly, R Daly, S Killoran, K Kilroy, C Devaney (0-1 each).

Galway: R Lavelle; L Silke, SA Ó Ceallaigh, E Kerin; G O’Donnell, G Bradshaw, J Daly; T Flynn, F Ó Curraoin; P Cooke, M Daly, S Walsh; A Ó Laoi, I Burke, J Heaney.

Subs: E Brannigan for Ó Curraoin (22 mins, inj); S Kelly for Cooke (54); C McDaid for Heaney (63); A Varley for M Daly (64); M Farragher for I Burke (70); K Molloy for O’Donnell (75).

Roscommon: D O’Malley; D Murray, S Mullooly, C Daly; N Daly, C Hussey, R Daly; T O’Rourke, S Killoran; C Devaney, C Cregg, N Kilroy; D Murtagh, C Cox, E Smith.

Subs: H Darcy for Devaney (26, inj); C Compton for E Smith (57); C McKeon for Cregg (63); A Glennon for Murtagh (69); B Stack for Killoran (74).

Referee: B Cassidy (Derry).

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