Roscommon u21s rule the roost in Connacht

Roscommon 3-14 Galway 3-11: The new president of the Connacht Council, Mick Rock, hit the nail on the head when he said that if there was any truth in recent reports about Gaelic football being dead, it was appropriate the resurrection should take place over the Easter weekend.

Rock made the remarks as his first trophy presentation saw him hand over a cup to his native county after a classic encounter in Tuam.

It was an encounter that had everything that is supposed to be dying in football — quality scores, fast-running moves, heavy hits without cynicism, high fielding, blocking and tracking, and not a dirty blow throughout.

It was helped by the refereeing of Mayo’s Jerome Henry, who let them at it but wasn’t afraid to make an unpopular call for a dodgy pick-up or sloppy handpass.

The 4,796 crowd applauded both teams off at half-time and again at the finish. And that was the appropriate way to treat blanket entertainment.

Galway manager Alan Flynn, who had his hand on their All-Ireland U21 wins in 2011 and two years ago, summed it all up afterwards. “It was fantastic to be involved with and you want to win, yet I know I couldn’t have asked anymore. Roscommon are a superb team,” he said.

His men looked to be setting the foundation for victory when the superb Damien Comer along with Enda Tierney rifled home goals to lead by double scores, 2-4 to 0-5, after just 16 minutes, with Michael Day lording midfield.

But Cathal Compton hit the net for Roscommon to lead by 1-10 to 2-6 at the interval.

Galway hit the opening three points of the second half but Roscommon responded and Diarmuid Murtagh, who finished with 1-7, took over.

He pointed and then got to a long delivery from the excellent Ultan Harney to shoot to the net for a lead Roscommon never surrendered after the 44th minute.

Enda Smith set up Paul Kenny for a fisted goal to put daylight between them but Galway hit back when Eamon Brannigan blasted an astonishing goal to the top right corner. But the Rossies held out for their ninth Connacht U21 title and having retained it for the first time, manager Mark Dowd hopes they can push on and claim a first All-Ireland since 1978, having lost two of the last three finals. “An All-Ireland semi-final is at stake and is our next goal.”

Scorers for Roscommon: D Murtagh 1-7 (6f), C Compton, P Kenny 1-0 each, U Harney 0-3, S Killoran 0-2, J Earley, K Kilcline 0-1 each.

Scorers for Galway: E Brannigan 1-3, D Comer 1-2 (1f), E Tierney 1-1, C Brady 0-3, K Molloy, J Heaney 0-1 each.

ROSCOMMON: S Mannion; N McInerney, C Kenny, D Barron; C Hussey, S Mullooly, R Daly; C Compton (Capt), T O’Rourke (Capt); U Harney, D Murtagh, E Smith; S Killoran, P Kenny, J Earley.

Subs: E McGrath for Hussey (22), K Kilcline for Killoran (35), N Gately for Earley (41), K Finn for Harney (50), T Corcoron for O’Rourke (54), D McGann for Kenny (59)

GALWAY: T O’Malley; A Nolan, J Wyndam, K Molloy; L Silke, C Cunningham, E Kerin; M Day, D Corbett; C Brady, D Comer (Capt), J Heaney; E Tierney, E Brannigan, G Kelly.

Subs: M Farragher for Kelly (24), E Finnerty for Corbett (50), P Mannion for Brady (58), J Donnellan for Brannigan (60). Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo).

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