The first Connacht U20 football championship final this Sunday at Hyde Park will be contested between Roscommon and Mayo after Shane Curran’s Roscommon outfit overcame a highly-fancied Galway in Tuam Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Galway, managed by Gerry Fahy, were expected to win this U20 championship tie, but Roscommon, were the deserving 1-11 to 0-11 winners.
Despite three red cards and two black cards, it was never an overly feisty game, but Roscommon’s extra man certainly paid dividends when the Galway legs started to tire in the second half.
An early red card for An Spideal’s Finian O’Laoi hurt Galway badly, although he was rather unlucky. After being fouled, he rose from the ground with his arm over the ball and took a step forward and connected with the Roscommon midfielder. It was not a strike, but the linesman called it and he must have felt the Galway man led with the elbow. Even some of the Roscommon supporters in attendance were surprised with the decision - never mind the Galway ones.
Galway had started brightly with a point from Robert Finnerty after only 20 seconds. Roscommon levelled before Galway were reduced to 14, but Dessie Conneely, who was causing plenty of problems inside, won three frees and scored two of them to put Galway 0-4 0-1 up after 20 minutes.
But on a very warm and sultry day, Galway were always going to struggle being a man down. It was a matter of when, not if.
Roscommon’s Cian McKeon started to come into the game much more and Roscommon’s giant of a keeper Aaron Brady jumped to stop two Galway scores going over the bar, as well as scoring a long range free to leave the sides level at the break.
Shane Curran’s team came out a resurgent outfit in the second half. Getting on top in many positions, it was not long after that Dylan Ruane scored a fine goal after a long run.
The benefit of the extra man was really starting to show at this juncture.
Galway were getting frustrated with their lack of chances, and when Robert Finnerty was dragged to the ground, he pointlessly lashed out and received a red card along with Liam Cregg for what appeared to be sledging, and also a black card for Lorcan Daly.
Galway went all out attack for the last five minutes of the match, showing good heart and went from six points down to two, but McKeon scored a late free to give Roscommon the goal cushion at 1-11 to 0-11.
Based on the second-half performance Roscommon were worthy winners, but it would have been a more interesting game if Galway had kept 15 men on the field of play and played to a higher standard.
Overall though it was a disappointing end to their campaign.
Galway: O Burke, S Fitzgerald, S Mulkerrin, C Campbell, J Glynn, R Forde, C Murray, C Darcy, J Daly, D Silke (0-1 ), L Molloy, F O’Laoi, R Finnerty (0-3 ), L Costello, D Conneely (0-6 ). Subs: B Goldrick for Molloy, R Cunningham (0-1 ) for Silke, J Kirrane for Costello, F Garvey for Murray, M Bairead for Daly.