Roscommon U21s seal place in Football final with dramatic winner

Diarmuid Murtagh sealed a wonderful individual performance by calmly slotting a dramatic winner of a hugely entertaining Cadbury All-Ireland U21FC semi-final from a difficult free in the second minute of injury time.

Roscommon 1-19 Cork 3-12

Diarmuid Murtagh sealed a wonderful individual performance by calmly slotting a dramatic winner of a hugely entertaining Cadbury All-Ireland U21FC semi-final from a difficult free in the second minute of injury time.

That only tells a brief part of the story though as Roscommon somehow strove to throw away a game they dominated and still led by six points with eight minutes remaining.

When Dan Mac Eoin drove a 15m free – he was inside the 13m line when he struck it – to the Roscommon net a minute into added time, it looked like Sean Hayes’ men had snatched the unlikeliest of draws.

It wasn’t to be though, as referee, Anthony Nolan judged that Sam Ryan picked the ball up off the ground around 25m out from his own goal. It was an incorrect decision by the Wicklow official, as the substitute used his knees to gather possession.

Murtagh showed tremendous composure to convert the free from wide on the right and while there was a huge element of controversy to the winner, it would be difficult to argue against the merit of the result, despite the grittiness of the Munster champions.

Both teams settled well and when Mac Eoin arced over a brilliant point in the 10th minute, it was Cork that led by 0-4 to 0-3.

It took them another 20 minutes to register their next score however, as Roscommon went on the rampage, kicking the next seven points.

Enda Smith brought the sides level with a towering kick before Micheál Martin was forced into a stunning point-blank save from Donie Smith. Nolan correctly called play back for a foul on the corner-forward though and Murtagh pushed Roscommon ahead.

Smith, Ciaran Kilcline, Ultan Harney, Ronan Daly and Murtagh all added to the tally, with the scores from Daly and Murtagh right out of the top drawer.

Mac Eoin ended the Rebel famine from a free after the seriously under-utilised Alan Cadogan was fouled but Murtagh made it 0-11 to 0-4 at half time.

Cork got the type of storming start they needed to the second half with a 33rd minute Mark Sugrue goal helping reduce the gap to two.

Roscommon showed their credentials though to increase that to six once more, Murtagh knocking over four consecutive frees.

Cadogan remained Cork’s most dangerous operator despite being starved of possession and he scored a scintillating solo goal to breathe fire into the Cork challenge once more, but when Ultan Harney drove an unstoppable shot to the Leesiders’ net in the 52nd minute, it looked all over.

Cork scored the next three points though, with two coming from Sugrue, before Cadogan was fouled and Mac Eoin deployed an Anthony Nash-style approach to the free, to apparently snatch a draw.

It wasn’t to be though, as Murtagh made the most of the opportunity provided to him by Nolan to ensure his side’s progress.

SCORERS FOR ROSCOMMON: D Murtagh 0-10(6fs); U Harney 1-1, T Corcoran (1 45, 1f), E Smith 0-2 each; D Smith, C Kilcline, R Daly, M Healy 0-1 each

SCORERS FOR CORK: D MacEoin 1-6(1-3fs); M Sugrue 1-3 (0-1f); A Cadogan 1-2; S Kiely 0-1

ROSCOMMON:C Lavin, D Murray, S Mullooly, C Kenny, N McInerney, J McManus, R Daly, U Harney, T Corcoran, C Kilcline, M Healy, E Smith, D Murtagh, M Nally, D Smith.

CORK: M Martin; J Davis, C Dorman, S Cronin, K Fulignati, S White, K Crowley, K O’Hanlon, I Maguire, B O’Driscoll, M Sugrue, S Kiely, D MacEoin, J Corkery, A Cadogan. Sub: K Histon for Fulignati (26), K Kavanagh for O’Hanlon (26), S Ryan for Corkery (48), K McIntyre for Kiely (60)

REFEREE: A Nolan (Wicklow)

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