Dolan returns to guide Roscommon to victory

Frankie Dolan's long-awaited inter-county return failed to inspire Roscommon to victory in their Connacht FBD League clash with Mayo at Ballinlough this afternoon.

Frankie Dolan's long-awaited inter-county return failed to inspire Roscommon to victory in their Connacht FBD League clash with Mayo at Ballinlough this afternoon.

Lining out at centre-forward, Dolan was playing his first competitive game for the Rossies since being dropped from John Maughan's panel for the 2006 season.

However, looking quicker, sharper and thriving on a direct style of football, Mayo ran out 2-16 to 2-8 winners with Michael Mullins and Brian Benson supplying the goals for John O'Mahony's side.

Mayo were 0-4 to 0-0 to the good before Dolan opened his and Roscommon's account with an acutely-angled free in the 16th-minute.

Wing forward Alan Dillon, Mayo's best player on the day, had opened the scoring with a neat point after 50 seconds and midfielder Peadar Gardiner soon added another.

Roscommon took their time to settle and that was understandable given that their St Brigid's contingent, which included Dolan and Karol Mannion, only arrived back last night from their club holiday in South Africa.

James Gill left-footed over in the eighth-minute to extend Mayo's lead to three points and five minutes later Dillon made it 0-4 to 0-0.

Dolan's pointed free was followed by white flags from Dillon and Gill again.

Dillon was certainly determined to make an impression, although his high tackle on on-rushing Roscommon goalkeeper Mark Miley saw him deservedly pick up a yellow card.

Dolan set up Mannion for a point to whittle the Mayo lead down to 0-6 to 0-2 and the sides swapped goals in a lively finish to the opening half.

Mayo struck first as Miley made an error in thinking the ball was going to drift over the end-line. Mullins managed to keep it in play and he picked his spot past the stranded 'keeper.

The Rossies replied almost instantly as a long ball floated in was broken down by Senan Kilbride and Jonathan Dunning was perfectly placed to fire home past Shane Nallen.

Mayo took a 1-6 to 1-2 lead into the half-time interval but they were rocked once again just two minutes into the second half when Dunning notched his second goal.

Dolan threaded through a defence-splitting pass and Dunning produced a lovely chipped finish over the head of Nallen.

Mayo kept plugging away though and moved 1-9 to 2-2 clear before Kilbride laid off for Dunning to grab his only point of the game.

O'Mahony's charges were dominating in the possession stakes and should really have been further ahead. By the time Keith Higgins had thundered up from his defensive station to set up Benson's goal, Mayo had struck 13 wides to Roscommon's three.

Dolan then landed his second point before being substituted and while the introduction of Conor Devaney briefly sparked Roscommon into life again, closing points from Dillon, who top-scored with 0-7, Enda Varley and Mullins saw Mayo canter home.

Unfortunately for O'Mahony's side, they have missed out on qualifying for the Connacht FBD League final as NUI Galway's win over Sligo IT today at Ballinode was the students' third straight victory in Section A and sees them through.

In Section B, Liam Sammon's Galway outfit beat GMIT at An Spideal to win through to the final.

Meanwhile, at Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim proved too strong for Sligo when scoring seven of the game's final eight points for a notable 0-12 to 0-7 victory.

Sligo took an early two-point lead with Daniel Davey and Eamon Cawley both on target, while Leitrim shot three early wides.

The first half failed to fire but two spells of decent play, close to the half-hour mark, helped the home side to a 0-4 to 0-3 interval lead.

Darren Duignan and Ciaran Duignan both pointed in the 13th and 15th minutes to draw Leitrim level, then a scoreless 12-minutes followed before Gerry McGowan replied for Sligo.

Leitrim were the more wasteful in the opening 35 minutes, hitting seven wides to the visitors' three, but points from James Glancy, who scored off a Michael McGuinness pass, and Emlyn Mulligan (free) edged them in front for the first time.

Dessie Dolan snr's side continued to look the more potent on the restart but points from Mark Breheny (0-2) and Cawley, who scored from an acute angle, kept Sligo in the hunt.

Cawley's effort levelled the tie at 0-6 apiece but Leitrim took over thereafter. Successive points from Mulligan, who landed two frees, and Shane Foley saw them move three points clear.

And the result was in little doubt when Mulligan tapped over two more frees and Donal Brennan also got on the scoresheet.

Five minutes from time, a rare Sligo attack finished with Cawley pointing a '45' but there was no stopping Leitrim from closing out the league campaign with their second group win.

Today's results::

Section A:

Roscommon 2-8 Mayo 2-14

Sligo 1-6 NUI Galway 0-14

Section B:

Leitrim 0-12 Sligo 0-7

Galway 3-9 GMIT 0-10.

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