For thirty five minutes it was all going according to plan for Roscommon, who left Dr Hyde Park nursing plenty of regrets following Sunday’s 0-16 to 2-6 Connacht Final loss against Galway.
Kevin McStay’s team produced a competent first half display to lead by 1-5 to 0-5 at the interval despite playing into the teeth of a reasonable wind.
After the interval, though, the complexion of the game changed dramatically as Galway, inspired by Tom Flynn and Shane Walsh, thundered into the contest.
Roscommon responded to regain the lead late on courtesy of a Conor Devaney penalty, but Galway finished strongly reeling off five points without reply.
A match which started in such promising fashion for Roscommon, boosted by a brilliant Ciarain Murtagh goal, ended in bitter disappointment.
‘It’s not heartbreaking, it’s frustrating because we are going to look back and think we had the chances, we won’t be thinking it we know we had the chances, but Galway were able push it home that bit more clinically at the end so I have to commend them and congratulate them and I have’, McStay reflected.
We have to look at the positives and say that because we stayed competitive that there must be some life for us beyond this and round four is the challenge.”
A demanding qualifier assignment awaits Roscommon, who had assumed a healthy position by the interval according to McStay.
‘We got ourselves into a position, but we said, listen lads there is nothing won here yet. We scored substantially more against the breeze than we did with it, didn’t score from play in the second half.’
That was the most remarkable statistic - Galway restricted Roscommon to 1-1 after the restart, a pointed free from Diarmuid Murtagh and Devaney’s powerful penalty.
One of the chief reasons for Roscommon’s difficulties was the injury enforced departure of Cathal Compton.
‘Cathal was playing fairly well at that stage and he was certainly contesting, but I still think there was a lot of breaks in the second half, but we didn’t get them, small fellas can get break the same as big fellas. He was a loss because he was doing nicely and were felt our midfield was ticking along, but I don’t think midfield was the be all. We had the chances, we had great chances.’
Flynn’s influence for Galway increased and Kevin Walsh’s charges were competent throughout the second period when the issue was delicately poised.
‘We didn’t get as many breaks in the second half’, McStay added. ‘Maybe we tired a bit, I’m not so sure. The people they were bringing in were good midfielders.
They had natural midfielders and they were going to get to the pitch of it. Flynn had a very decent second half, seemed to get his paw on a lot of ball.
It was just the scores and we knew this coming in. The one thing that was going to win it was get the scores at the appropriate times to keep the pressure building, especially at home, if we got the crowd involved.
We nearly had them after the penalty and we didn’t kick on again, and Galway steadied and got home.
Roscommon Under 20s overpowered by Mayo
Having shown such promise in wins over Sligo and Galway, Shane Curran’s Roscommon were overpowered 3-16 to 1-6 by a fine Mayo outfit in the EirGrid Connacht Under 20 decider at Dr Hyde Park on Sunday.
Mayo dominated the second half against an outclassed Roscommon, who were unable to build on a solid start to the game.
With Cian McKeon impressing Roscommon enjoyed some decent moments initially with Aidan Dowd’s 21st minute goal offering significant encouragement.
Michael Solan’s Mayo responded, though, as Ryan O’Donoghue netted a 29th minute penalty to edge them 1-5 to 1-3 ahead at the break.
When the action recommenced Mayo took charge with the excellent wing back Paul Lambert repeatedly making telling breaks from deep.
An under pressure Roscommon rearguard were unable to cope as Conor Diskin goaled following a Lambert run.
Evan O’Brien added a point and then Tommy Conroy slammed home the insurance goal for Mayo, who closed out the deal with the minimum of fuss.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Roscommon, who were unable to seriously test a Mayo team that has the potential to flourish on the national stage.
Lake County secure quarter final place
Westmeath advanced to the Quarter-Final stage of the EirGrid Leinster Under 20 Championship following Saturday’s impressive 1-16 to 1-10 win over Longford at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.
It was a satisfying game for Westmeath, who settled quickly as Adam Loughlin-Stones and Nigel Harte landed fine early points. By the time the interval rolled around Westmeath, with Sean Pettit effective, led by 0-9 to 0-6. Tom Molloy’s influence increased after the restart and his late goal sealed the deal for Westmeath, who moved confidently into the knockout stages.
A late Rory Harkin goal for Longford was merely a consolation as Westmeath closed out the game smartly.