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Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Walsh goal decisive as Roscommon minors claim final GAA honours of 2020 in biblical conditions

Amid Storm Bella, Roscommon held Sligo scoreless for 55 minutes and fended off a late fightback to claim provincial honours.
Dec 26th 2020, 8:36 PM 11,060 2

SHANE WALSH’S 44TH-MINUTE goal proved decisive for the Roscommon minors as they overcame Sligo 1-5 to 1-2 to win the Connacht Minor Football Championship at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence in Bekan, Co. Mayo.

The game’s low scoring was to be expected in biblical weather conditions, Storm Bella heaving and spluttering down on the last GAA final of 2020 as Emmet Durney boys won their first minor title in eight years — or a first since 2017 at the U17 age grade.

Sligo, who were chasing their first minor title since 1968, might have felt at times as though they were waiting just as long for a score: they didn’t register for a full 55 minutes before a late surge that saw them finish three points short.

roscommon-players-celebrates-at-the-final-whistle The Rossies celebrate at the final whistle. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

With the wind and rain on their backs, Roscommon opened up a 0-4 to 0-0 lead at the turnaround, Oisín Cregg, skipper Eoin Colleran and Conor Hand (x2) firing over to give their side a commanding lead in the conditions.

The Rossies fended Sligo off in the third quarter, maintaining their healthy advantage until the imperious Hand fed Walsh for the defining goal after Sligo lost possession in their half-back line.

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Hand added his third point before Roscommon ostensibly declared at 1-5, eight points to the good. Canice Mulligan and substitute Simon McKeon finally replied for Sligo with minutes remaining and when Dylan Walsh’s 59th-minute free found its way to the net, they sniffed a chance.

But Roscommon held firm to claim provincial honours, the last of their kind on the GAA calendar after what has been a difficult and remarkable year.

eoin-colleran-lifts-the-trophy Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Roscommon: D. Farrell; M. Sugrue, C. Keogh, L. Walsh; C. Neary, A. McManus, E. Ward; O. Cregg (0-1), J. Greene; S. Walsh (1-0), R. Conlon, C. Hand (0-3); A. Shannon, E. Colleran (0-1f), D. Gately. Subs: T. Lennon for Shannon (HT), B. Nugent for Gately (39′), D. Coleman for McManus (55′), D. O’Beirne for Ward (60′).

Sligo: J. Lundy; L. Casserly, R. Kelly, J. Kiernan; R. Chambers, C. O’Reilly, M. Heraghty; D. O’Boyle, B.Byrne; D. Foy, L. Marren, C. Mulligan (0-1); D. Walsh (1-0f), C. Oates, A. Gallagher. Subs: S. McKeon (0-1) for Kiernan (43′), B. Duffy for Oates (47′), C. Mitchell for Byrne (50′), T. Langan for Kelly (55′).

Referee: P. Guckian (Leitrim).

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