The sky suggests otherwise but the summer starts here as the football championship gets up and running at Dr Hyde Park. Throw-in as at four, and we’ll have live coverage and analysis throughout the afternoon. All your thoughts and comments are welcome. Also, our preview of the game can be found here… http://thescore.thejournal.ie/plenty-on-the-line-as-wests-awake-to-roscommon-and-galway-455597-May2012/
Often we have complained about a slow start to the football championship but there are big games dotted all around the place today and while the biggest sides will be there come August, for those involved today, what happens this afternoon will decide the direction of their summer.
And take these two specifically. The winner will fancy a Connacht final for sure but also a Connacht title and a place in the last eight of the championship. As for the loser, given the break until the qualifiers and the deflation that will inevitably occur, it’s next to impossible to see them making an impact on the latter stages. That’s what is at stake.
As a fellow journalist who would probably prefer to remain nameless has just said, “The smell of chip vans mixed with cow dung, the championship is here”.
Moving on quickly, to the teams…
Roscommon: G Claffey; S McDermott, N Carty, S Purcell; C Dineen, P Domican, I Kilbride; M Finneran, K Mannion; D Keenan, C Cregg, J Rogers; S Kilbride, D McDermott, D Shine.
Galway: A Faherty; K McGrath, F Hanley, K Kelly; G Bradshaw, J Duane, G O’Donnell; J Bergin, G Higgins; G Sice, D Burke, T Flynn; S Armstrong, P Conroy, M Hehir.
We think on paper Roscommon are the better team, they’ve had poor leagues before and lifted it for championship and if Des Newton can get the best out of them here, they’ll win midfield, have a greater ability to score and will triumph.
There are games underway elsewhere and Seamus O’Carrol has just goalled for Limerick who lead Waterford 1-3 to 0-3 early on, Laois are off to a flyer in a huge game in Pearse Park leading 0-5 to 0-1 and Louth and Westmeath are all square at 0-4 a piece.
Meanwhile unsurprisingly close and edgy up north as Donegal lead Cavan by 0-5 to 0-4 after 20 minutes. There we expect the visitors to Breffni to wear down their opponents and kick on as the game progresses.
We’ll keep you updated on those games throughout the afternoon but the big one is definitely here and we are only minutes from the off.
It’s dry and calm, granted a little bit of a dull day. Let’s hope that’s not the case on the field, although Alan Mulholland does admire the Donegal style and has two backs in his half-forward line. But Roscommon have physicality around the place and will look to break tackles when not going long into a dangerous full-forward line. We’ll find out if that works very soon as the parade comes to a close.
Referee is Joe McQuillan, a man who may have the keys to Dublin city. Game on!
1 minute, Roscommon 0-0 Galway 0-1: Fine start by Galway as Gareth Bradshaw gets forward from wing-back to point. He’s a guy that is capable of an All Star if his team would play to his level. He’s had some serious seasons of late.
2 minutes, Roscommon 0-1 Galway 0-1: Back come Roscommon, Senan Kilbride gets free from Finian Hanley who he dragged out the field and kicks round the corner from distance. David Keenan should have added to it but there’s space there for the home side.
6 minutes, Roscommon 0-2 Galway 0-1: This is the thing about Roscommon’s size here and it’s an area they can capitalise on. They win the ball in midfield, Karol Mannion runs forward and a brilliant point from distance. We wondered if the big names of the home side would awake from their league slumber and they certainly have. Donie Shine misses a free to extent the advantage though.
9 mins Roscommon 0-2 Galway 0-2: Paul Conroy does what he is there to do and wins a high-ball in the forward line. But he does more too and scores. Great work. Bigger blow than that for Roscommon is Michael Finneran is gone from the middle with injury, an area they hoped to capitalise on, Niall Daly replaces him. Half-time elsewhere, Louth 1-6 Westmeath 0-7, Longford 0-3 Laois 0-9, Cavan 0-4 Donegal 1-7, Limerick 1-5 Waterford 0-7
11 mins Roscommon 0-2 Galway 1-3: Worse for Roscommon as Conroy wins ball inside, he has started really well and he distributes superbly. That allows Mark Hehir in on goal, he rounds the goalkeeper and hits the net. Sean Armstrong provides the salt after that wound with a long-rang point.
15 mins Roscommon 0-2 Galway 1-5: Getting away from Roscommon here. They are losing out around the middle since that Michael Finneran injury and Karol Mannion has to step up and get the forwards ball and a chance to get into the game. Instead Gary Sice pops over a free and is then tripped in the box. Sean Purcell isn’t booked and only a free is given, granted it is converted. Roscommon get away lightly there.
22 mins Roscommon 0-2 Galway 2-6: Paul Conroy’s aerial ability and the runs of Gary Sice are the obvious problems but Roscommon are turning over the little ball they are getting their hands on, are being bullied around the middle, aren’t working hard enough and their inside forward line are spectators. Not Galway’s though as Gareth Bradshaw gets into an attacking position again and shoots over from 40. All over after 20 minutes now as the Galway half-back line win ball, clear quickly and directly, Conroy does superbly to take the ball, turns and goals low.
26 mins Roscommon 0-3 Galway 2-7: David O’Gara is on for John Rogers and Roscommon score for the first time in 20 minutes thanks to an easy free. That’s as good as it gets, as Gary Sice keeps up with the entire opposition tally with his third of the day. With midfield won, Joe Bergin then gets forward for a simple score too. It’s a procession. Galway are as good as Roscommon are bad.
32 mins, Roscommon 0-4 Galway 2-8: Donie Shine puts over a free for his first of the day. There is no reaction from the crowd. Elsewhere, Limerick 1-5 Waterford 0-7 after 39 minutes. Game on at the Gaelic Grounds unlike here. Game on in Longford too as Paul Barden goals for the home team, 1-3 to 0-9 now to Laois. It’s Louth 1-6 Westmeath 0-8 and Cavan 0-4 Donegal 1-7. All those games in the early stages of second half. As for here, half-time closing in and Galway on top in every single sector from Finian Hanley to Paul Conroy.
Half-time, Roscommon 0-6 Galway 2-8: Cathal Cregg from play and a Senan Kilbride free finishes the first-half scoring, but Roscommon need so much more. They need goals; they need to help their full-back line deal with Paul Conroy; they need Karol Mannion to get more physical and they need others to help him around centrefield; they need their half-forward line to win a ball every so often and stop the Galway half-back line being the platform for so many quick and direct opposition attacks; they need their full-forward line to drop deeper to get ball if it isn’t coming directly; they need Donie Shine to lift his head up and look interested. As for Galway, they just need to keep doing the same. The first five minutes of the second half will tell if this will be a massacre or a game of football. We have a sneaky feeling it might still get interesting.
Not a fan of the breaking tables at half-time approach to management but Roscommon are completely lacking passion, and that’s not just because they seem to be overmatched. Then again they need to be instilled with a quiet and steely belief too. Welcome to championship management Des Newton.
Elsewhere, Donegal 1-11 Cavan 0-6 after 54 mins. Laois 0-11 Longford 1-7. Westmeath 0-12 Louth 1-7. Limerick 1-8 Waterford 0-7. Most eyes look towards Pearse Stadium where former Essendon Bomber Michael Quinn is in centrefield for the home team and seemingly dominating.
Excuse the deviation but it is half-time and one-sided here, and after freezing when they might have beaten Laois last year, it’s the opposite this year. Michael Quinn, back from Aussie rules, brings the home side back level after 56 minutes.
We shall be back on here at Hyde Park in just a couple of minutes, but earphones in, we’ll keep you up to date with a belter of a game down the road in Pearse Park where it’s Longford 1-9 Laois 0-11. Some comeback from Glenn Ryan’s side. Six minutes left there.
Back underway here and Roscommon have a mammoth task ahead, trailing by eight. Laois back level in closing five minutes despite 13 wides, while an Ian Ryan goal looks to have helped Limerick to safety against Waterford.
38 mins, Roscommon 0-8 Galway 2-8: Roscommon need a big start to the second period and Shine from a free and O’Gara from play closes the gap. Longford lead by two as Laois have goal ruled out for square ball (it does still exist from a free remember), Westmeath lead Louth by one and Donegal are cruising. A great start to the championship.
38 mins, Roscommon 0-8 Galway 2-9: Conroy, who else, puts a stop to a Roscommon surge as he has far too much space as he swivels and pops over. But whatever is lacking in drama here certainly isn’t up the road. Full-time in Pearse Park, Longford 1-10 Laois 0-12, the home side’s first Leinster win for five years. Glenn Ryan is running and jumping all about the place as if he were still a centre-back for Kildare.
46 mins, Roscommon 0-8 Galway 2-9: Completely flat here, so much so that Alan Mulholland brings on Michael Meehan for Sean Armstrong. You get the sense that move is not so much about today, but about the rest of this Connacht championship.
51 mins, Roscommon 0-8 Galway 2-11: Meehan taps over a free and we get the sense we are in the wrong venue as Conroy adds another. Padraic Joyce on too. Just as Longford have pipped Laois, Louth have pipped Westmeath in dramatic fashion.
55 mins, Roscommon 0-9 Galway 2-12; Meehan gets his second after Joyce sets him up. That should tell you all you need to know about this game. Galway have been very good but let’s not get too excited either. There has been no intensity or passion from the home side, something we have gotten used to from them in recent years, and there has been no Plan B either since Michael Finneran went off a few minutes in either. Very underwhleming, even as David O’Gara kicks a lovely score.
It’s so one sided here, Twitter is being used for Kildare Championship scores. Athy lead Moorefield 0-6 to 0-5. We know you wanted the latest. Now you’ve gotten it.
60 minutes: Roscommon 0-9 Galway 2-14. Lovely Joe Bergin score but everything now is relative as it is about 20 minutes since Roscommon gave up. Looking at their attitude as well as their performance, the only thing that will prolong their summer is the fact it is quite a wait for the qualifiers. Corner-back Kieran McGrath pops up for another for Galway who’d be as well served by a training session at this point.
62 mins, Roscommon 0-9 Galway 3-14: Goal for Galway and far more telling than the actual score is those involved. Padraic Joyce plays a brilliant cross-field ball, Michael Meehan shows great hands and composure on the edge of the square to take it down and create space in one movement. The goal is at his mercy but he lets Gary Sice finish. Sublime.
We haven’t gone asleep, just not a whole lot is happening. Three minutes to go, Galway still 12 points ahead, we suggest you get on with your Sunday at this point.
Did we say 12, we mean 14 points ahead. That Athy-Moorefield game is taking too much of our attention. We shall apologise to the editor by buying him a pint later!
Full-time, Roscommon 0-10 Galway 3-15: Paul Conroy fittingly wraps up Galway’s scoring. Ger Heneghan not-so-fittingly wraps up Roscommon’s scoring.