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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 23 October, 2018
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Roscommon put poor league form behind them with a stunning Connacht final victory over Galway

Kevin McStay’s side had nine points to spare over the disappointing Tribesmen.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Roscommon 2-15

Galway 0-12

John Fallon reports from Pearse Stadium, Salthill

A ROSCOMMON TEAM who lost their opening six league games this spring captured their 23rd Connacht title and first since 2010.

Kevin McStay’s men were well worth their surprise win in a game where they led from the first minute and never trailed against the reigning champions.

Galway finished with 13 men following a row in the closing stages which saw sub Michael Lundy red-carded, while Damien Comer picked up a second yellow. By then Roscommon were down to 14 after Cian Connolly collected a second yellow card.

It was Roscommon’s first Connacht final win at Pearse Stadium since 1978.

Roscommon delivered quick ball into their attack when they had the wind in the opening half but while they led by 1-6 to 0-2 after just 14 minutes, they only managed one more point for the remainder of the half.

Galway struggled against the wind and by the interval Shane Walsh was their only scorer, kicking two frees and one from play.

Tadgh O’Rourke with Fiontan O Curraoin and Paul Conroy Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

They shot half a dozen wides but Roscommon were even more inaccurate, hitting nine with the wind behind them.

But they had two points on the board after less than 90 seconds with Ciarain Murtagh and his brother Diarmuid finding the target for a perfect start.

Ciarain Murtagh and Walsh exchanged points before Roscommon hit three in succession from Ciarain Murtagh, Conor Devaney and Diarmuid Murtagh before Walsh pulled back one from play for the holders.

But then Roscommon struck a telling blow when Cian Connolly finished low to the bottom left corner after a superb delivery from Diarmuid Muratgh.

That left it 1-6 to 0-2 after 14 minutes but a Diarmuid Murtagh point four minutes before the interval was all they added.

Walsh pulled back another free for Galway and Michael Daly saw a goal chance come back off the bottom of the left post.

Both sides struggled in the wet conditions with the crowd of 18,287 having little to cheer about.

Galway drafted in Gary Sice and Danny Cummins at the break and quick points from Walsh and Damien Comer cut the gap to 1-7 to 0-5 after 38 minutes.

John McManus with Shane Walsh Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

But then Diarmuid Murtagh responded with a point before Brian Stack took the kickout and soloed through for his first championship goal to make it 2-8 to 0-5 after 41 minutes.

Galway responded well with six points in succession, two apiece from Walsh and Paul Conroy and one from captain Gary O’Donnell and Michael Daly.

Diarmuid Murtagh pulled back a free to lift the siege and extend the lead to four points and efforts from Cian Connolly and Donie Smith, either side of a Damien Comer point, saw Roscommon lead by 2-11 to 0-12 with eleven minutes left on the clock.

The Galway challenge fizzled out and they didn’t score from the 54th minute, including eight minutes of stoppage time, and will now have to regroup for the qualifiers after this nine points defeat.

Scorers for Roscommon: D Murtagh 0-5 (0-3f), C Connolly 1-1, C Murtagh 0-3 (0-2f), B Stack 1-0, C Devaney 0-3, D Smith 0-2 (0-1f), S Killoran 0-1.

Scorers for Galway: S Walsh 0-6 (0-4f), P Conroy 0-2 (0-1f), D Comer 0-2, G O’Donnell 0-1, M Daly 0-1.

Roscommon

1. Colm Lavin (Eire Og)

2. David Murray (Padraig Pearses)
4. Niall McInerney (St Brigid’s)
5. Sean McDermott (Western Gaels)

7. Conor Devaney (Kilbride)
6. Sean Mullooly (Strokestown)
3. John McManus (Roscommon Gaels)

8. Tadhg O’Rourke (Tulsk)
10. Enda Smith (Boyle)

9. Fintan Cregg (Elphin)
11. Niall Kilroy (Fuerty)
12. Brian Stack (St Brigid’s)

15. Ciarain Murtagh (St Faithleach’s)
14. Diarmuid Murtagh (St Faithleach’s)
13. Cian Connolly (Roscommon Gaels)

Substitutes:

22. Gary Patterson (Micheal Glaveys) for Murray (36, blood)
2. Murray for Patterson (half-time)
23. Ian Kilbride (St Brigid’s) for Cregg (48)
21. Donie Smith (Boyle) for D Murtagh (53)
20. Colin Compton (Strokestown) for C Murtagh (66)
24. Ronan Stack (St Brigid’s) for Kilroy (70)
25. Shane Killoran (Elphin) for B Stack (75)

Galway

1. Ruairi Lavelle (Renvyle)

2. Cathal Sweeney (Kilannin)
3. Declan Kyne (Clonbur)
4. Eoghan Kerin (Annaghdown)

5. Gary O’Donnell (Tuam Stars)
6. Gareth Bradshaw (Moycullen)
7. Liam Silke (Corofin)

8. Paul Conroy (St James’)
9. Fiontan O Curraoin (Mícheal Breathnach)

10. Thomas Flynn (Athenry)
13. Eamonn Brannigan (St Michaels)
12. Johnny Heaney (Killannin)

11. Michael Daly (Mountbellew/Moylough)
14. Damien Comer (Annaghdown)
15. Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin/Clonberne)

Substitutes:

21. Gary Sice (Corofin) for Heaney (half-time)
23. Danny Cummins (Claregalway) for Branngian (half-time)
24. Michael Lundy (Corofin) for Flynn (60)
20. Enda Tierney (Oughterard) for O Curraoin (66, blood)
19. David Wynne (Moycullen) for Conroy (75, black card).

Referee: David Gough (Meath).

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About the author:

John Fallon

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