A disastrous second half from Galway in line with a spirited Roscommon fightback sends Galway to the qualifiers once again. Five unanswered points at the end of the first half had Galway leading 0-10 to 0-5 at the break. Quite similar to Roscommon’s position half way through last year's final and just like last year the home side lost out to a hungrier dog on the day.
Many of the Galway players had an off day. In the first half the final ball to the full forward line was just that bit off and when it did come in the players really struggled to make it stick. The final 10 minutes of the first half looked like Galway had turned a corner but they never came back out for the second half. Two points in over 40 minutes of championship football says it all and Roscommon were deservedly crowned champions.
The loss of Fiontain O’Currain to injury half way through the first half was a huge blow to Kevin Walsh’s men. Breaking up play, winning kickouts and scoring only his second ever championship point, Fiontain looked back to himself once again but what hopefully was only a dead leg cut his afternoon short.
Once they got the lead Roscommon were cynical and deliberate in everything they did but credit where credit is due, they did it well. Going down easily, dragging back players and getting into the faces of the Galway players. It is what any team would do in their position to ensure a final was killed off and they got their hands on the trophy.
Damien Comer has been a loss all throughout the year for Galway but none more so than last Sunday. His direct running style of play would have caused trouble for the Roscommon defenders as there was simply no attacking player for Galway with his strength and power. This meant that the players simply had to play the ball around and try to force an opening, leaving the opposing defenders able to sit back and mop up anything that fell their way.
Questions will be asked of Galway management due to the second half collapse, questions such as personnel changes, the timing of some substitutions, and the automatic defensive nature of the second half. Kevin Walsh is sure to take the criticism on the chin but it was just a poor second half showing. Roscommon got a great start to the second half and once the goal went in they caught Galway by the throat and squeezed hard. When a team gets going like that it is almost impossible to rein them in.
The players now have a round of club championship fixtures and three weeks to get this game out of their heads before playing a round three qualifier winner on the weekend of the July 6/7 to see who will get into the Super 8s.
Galway football did have some success over the weekend with the Junior team winning the Connacht final in the curtain raiser beating Mayo on a score line of 1-07 to 0-9, with Dunmore’s Thomas Gleeson scoring the all important goal in the first half.
The U20 side also picked up their first piece of silverware in what is turning out to be a fine debut performance as manager for Padraic Joyce; four wins from four, beating Kildare, Cork, Kerry, and Dublin to win the John Kerins cup. A well balanced team throughout with Sean Mulkerrin, Liam Boyle, and Conor Campbell impressing most at the back. Winning great ball midfield and Matthew Tierney, Padraic Costello, and Darragh Silke all putting up big scores at different stages throughout the competition. They will now play the winners of Leitrim and Roscommon on Wednesday the third of July for a place in the Connacht final.