All to easy as Tribe reclaim title

GALWAY manager Alan Mulholland reckons his side can make a bid for All-Ireland glory if they repeat the powerful first-half performance which blew Roscommon away in the Connacht U21 football final on Saturday.

Galway secured their 17th crown and first since 2005 in the grade with a devastating opening half display which saw them 0-6 to 0-2 to the good at the break despite playing against the strong wind.

“That was a great showing and fair play to the lads they really worked for each other, made themselves available as soon as there was a pass and took control of the game,” he said.

“The first-half won it for us, but we didn’t hold on to the ball enough in the second-half,” said the Salthill Knocknacarra clubman who guided Galway to the 2007 All-Ireland title and who must surely be a strong contender for the senior job in the future.

“We tried to use the wind too much in the second-half and hit it long but it actually suited us better when we held on to the ball and made the hard yards. But you learn from that.”

The victory was a timely boost for Galway football, not least the style of play they produced in the opening half which left champions Roscommon chasing shadows.

Roscommon have never retained a Connacht underage title or won in Pearse Stadium at any grade since the Salthill venue was redeveloped a decade ago. It was obvious by the interval neither of those facts were going to change.

It was a bitterly disappointing showing from Roscommon. But they just couldn’t get their hands on the ball in the opening half and when they did their sole tactic was long into full-forward Cathal Shine but he was well contained by Galway skipper Colin Forde and corner-back Gary Sweeney mopped up breaking ball.

Galway dominated midfield throughout — their biggest shortcoming at senior level in recent years — with Tomás Flynn, until his late dismissal for a second yellow card and Fiontán Ó Curraoin on top.

Centre-forward Mark Hehir, comfortable off either foot, will have caught Tomás Ó Flatharta’s eye with another accomplished display, with Patrick Sweeney also good in attack, while further back Jonathan Duane commanded centre-back and senior Tomás Fahy produced a man of the match display.

In contrast, Roscommon just did not have players raising their game and while Naas Connaughton superbly saved Eric Monaghan’s 18th minute penalty, by then Galway had edged 0-4 to 0-2 in front and tacked on another brace from Danny Cummins and Patrick Sweeney for a healthy interval lead.

Scott Oates finally ended 27 barren minutes for Roscommon when he found the range after 43 minutes and Shane Regan’s second free, which left it 0-8 to 0-4, a minute later gave hopes of a revival by the holders but they did not score after that.

Instead, Fahy burst forward for a great score and the impressive Cummins added another before Adrian Murphy sealed an encouraging win for Galway with a late goal.

Scorers for Galway: M Hehir 0-4 (1f), A Murphy 1-0, D Cummins, P Sweeney 0-2 each, M Boyle, T Fahy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Roscommon: S Regan 0-2f, S Oates, D McDermott 0-1 each.

GALWAY: M Breathnach; G Sweeney, C Forde, A Tierney; J Moore, J Duane, T Fahy; T Flynn, F O’ Curraoin; C Doherty, M Hehir, M Boyle; D Cummins, P Sweeney, E Monaghan.

Subs: A Murphy for Monaghan (50), JJ Greaney for P Sweeney (58), T Healy for Cummins (60).

ROSCOMMON: N Connaughton; C Duignan, N Collins, C Cafferkey; E Bannon, N Daly, P Brogan; E Stritch, A Feehily; B Murtagh, S Oates, S Regan; N Kilroy, C Shine, D McDermott.

Subs: M Higgins for Feehily (27), D Dolan for Murtagh (30), E Kenny for Kilroy (48), T Cox for Brogan (58).

Referee: M Daly (Mayo).

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up