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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 10 December, 2018


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Good afternoon and welcome to The42‘s live minute-by-minute coverage of the Connacht senior football final.

Roscommon and Galway have been familiar foes in this decider in recent years, sharing the spoils with Galway taking the 2016 title after a replay only for Roscommon to get their revenge in Pearse Stadium 12 months ago.

Who will come out on top today to lift the JJ Nestor top and, historically, become the first-ever team to book their place in the All-Ireland SFC Super 8s?

TEAM NEWS: Time to check in on the starting line-ups as we near throw-in time at a packed Dr Hyde Park. Here’s the Galway team as named earlier this week.


1. Ruairí Lavelle (Salthill/Knocknacarra)

2. Declan Kyne (Clonbur)
3. Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh (Naomh Ánna, Leitir Mór)
4. David Wynne (Moycullen)

5. Cathal Sweeney (Killanin)
6. Gareth Bradshaw (Moycullen)
7. Seán Kelly (Moycullen)

8. Paul Conroy (St James)
9. Thomas Flynn (Athenry)

10. Eamonn Brannigan (St Michael’s)
11. Barry McHugh (Mountbellew/Moylough)
12. Johnny Heaney (Killanin)

13. Ian Burke (Corofin)
14. Damien Comer (Annaghdown – captain)
15. Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin/Clonberne)

TEAM NEWS: Roscommon are unchanged from their semi-final win over Leitrim. Here’s their named XV.


1. Colm Lavin (Éire Óg)

2. David Murray (Padraig Pearses)
3. Peter Domican (St Brigid’s)
4. Niall McInerney (St Brigid’s)

5. John McManus (Roscommon Gaels)
6. Fintan Cregg (Elphin)
7. Brian Stack (St Brigid’s)

8. Cathal Compton (Strokestown)
9. Tadgh O Rourke (Tulsk)

10. Ciarain Murtagh (St Faithleach’s)
11. Enda Smith (Boyle)
12. Conor Devaney (Kilbride – captain)

13. Donie Smith (Boyle)
14. Diarmuid Murtagh (St Faithleach’s)
15. Niall Kilroy (Fuerty)

A view of fans before the game Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The brollies are up on the Hyde Park terrace, and there appears to be a bit of a breeze as well. The teams have finished the parade, and we’re just about ready to go.

Who do you fancy?


THROW IN: David Coldrick gets us underway. Galway will have that breeze at their backs in the first half.


2 mins – Relatively straightforward free for Ciarain Murtagh after a foul on Enda Smith. Whether it’s some early nerves, or a bit of breeze, Murtagh pulls it left and wide when he really should have pointed.


3 mins – Enda Smith curls in a shot which the Roscommon fans on the terrace behind the Galway goal are willing over the bar. It drops short into the square where Galway keeper Ruairi Lavelle has to get up between his own defender Declan Kyne and Diarmuid Murtagh to clear the danger. Well played.


4 mins – Galway come down for their first attack but it’s left and wide by Eamonn Brannigan.


6 mins – Tricky angle for Conor Devaney but he backs himself and takes the shot on from wide left. It curls across the front of the Galway goal and drops wide on the far side. Still waiting for our first score.


7 mins — Roscommon 0-1 Galway 0-0: And after seven minutes, the Rossies get us up and running. The Galway defence is split by a pass from midfield, Diarmuid Murtagh gets out in front of Declan Kyne, and he turns and points.


9 mins – Barry McHugh tries a free from distance in the hope that the breeze will help it over the bar. It has the legs but not the accuracy and falls wide again for Galway.


10 mins — Roscommon 0-1 Galway 0-1: That’s more like it from Galway – and it’s a super score from Shane Walsh on the run to open their account. He takes a single solo and barely breaks his stride before splitting the posts.


13 mins — Roscommon 0-2 Galway 0-1: Galway appear happy enough to sit off Roscommon and not put them under too much pressure, which is a curious tactic to say the least. It’s Roscommon who are playing more of the football here as Enda Smith pops a short hand pass to Diarmuid Murtagh and he points.


14 mins — Roscommon 0-3 Galway 0-1: Diarmuid Murtagh points an easy free and Roscommon move into a two-point lead.


15 mins – Half-chance for Galway, and maybe if you gave Shane Walsh that moment again, he’d choose to take his point rather than having a go for goal. Good running football by Galway creates the chance but Walsh is under pressure as he gets the shot away. It’s straight at Colm Lavin who deals with it easily.


17 mins — Roscommon 0-4 Galway 0-1: Galway turn the ball over easily as Damien Comer kicks away possession, and Roscommon make them pay. It’s a great ball from Enda Smith, who draws Donie Smith on a nice line away from goal and from his marker Sean Andy Ó Ceallaigh. If Smith doesn’t slip, there’s a definite goal chance, but he regains his composure and takes his point.


18 mins – Another chance for Barry McHugh with a free from the 45m line on an angle. Again, he has the distance, but this time it’s wide on the far side.


19 mins — Roscommon 0-4 Galway 0-2: Sloppy from Roscommon goalkeeper Colm Lavin who puts John McManus under pressure with his pass. Shane Walsh taps it away from the Rossie wing-back, steals possession, and makes an angle before pointing. He’s been Galway’s most lively threat by a distance so far.

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22 mins — GOAL FOR ROSCOMMON! Roscommon 1-4 Galway 0-2 (C Murtagh)

Brilliant individual work by Ciarain Murtagh — Roscommon have found a little bit of joy by attacking down the left side and that’s exactly what leads to the game’s opening goal. Murtagh skips around Barry McHugh and makes a beeline for goal before putting the head down and blasting past Lavelle.

Galway haven’t gotten to grips with the Roscommon attack at all…


23 mins — Roscommon 1-4 Galway 0-3: Roscommon’s defence switches off for a moment, and Ian Burke punishes them with a quick score.


26 mins — Roscommon 1-4 Galway 0-4: Better from Galway and it’s Ian Burke again who draws them back to within three points. A reminder that Galway have the breeze in this half, but it’s Roscommon who have done the lion’s share of meaningful attacking.


28 mins – Damien Comer fetches a high ball and looks to wreak havoc. He’s under pressure — and there’s definite claims for a free as Niall McInerney has enough of a tug on his shoulder to put him off his shot — but the ball spins off his boot and harmlessly across the goal.


29 mins — Roscommon 1-5 Galway 0-4: Enda Smith has been magnificent for the Rossies so far in this opening half, and he plucks Colm Lavin’s kickout cleanly from the sky to launch the latest attack. Again, it’s Diarmuid Murtagh who has the time and space to kick his point.


34 mins – Eamonn Brannigan kicks Galway’s latest wide. Damien Comer is not impressed that these balls aren’t coming into him on the edge of the square, and he lets his team-mate know.


35 mins — Roscommon 1-5 Galway 0-5: Shane Walsh curls over a free to bring Galway back to within three points, but they’ve comfortably been second best in this first half. We’re into the first of two additional minutes.

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HALF TIME: Roscommon 1-5 Galway 0-5

It’s the holders who’ll be happiest as the sides head off at half time. Galway have given Roscommon too much room to play, and Kevin McStay’s men have taken advantage.

Still, only three points in it…


SECOND HALF: Back underway in the Hyde. As Marty Morrissey on RTÉ commentary duty has just mentioned, it’s 27 years since Roscommon won back-to-back Connacht titles. They’re half way there… and half way towards a place in the Super 8s.


39 mins — Roscommon 1-6 Galway 0-5: Free in for Roscommon as Donie Smith rounds David Wynne, who has a bit of a grab at his jersey. Diarmuid Murtagh points and it’s a four-point game.


42 mins — Roscommon 1-6 Galway 0-6: Sean Andy Ó Ceallaigh bursts forward from defence and, for a moment, Barry McHugh is free close to the Roscommon goal if somebody spots him. They don’t, but the attack is not in vain as possession is worked to Shane Walsh out left and he curls over a point.


43 mins — Roscommon 1-6 Galway 0-7: Sean Kelly carries into traffic close to the Roscommon goal but he wins the free and Walsh points it. They’re right back in it now with just two points between the sides.


44 mins – Colm Lavin gets up to claim a delivery towards his goal, and gets a clip around the ears from Damien Comer’s wayward hand. It appeared to be accidental and David Coldrick gives Comer the benefit of the doubt.


45 mins – Not this time though. Comer commits a lazy foul as Roscommon try to play the ball out from the back, and the referee shows him a yellow card.


50 mins – Enda Smith takes on a shot from way out the field, and it drops short into Ruairi Lavelle’s hands. They’re taking on a lot of low-percentage chances at the moment, and none of them are coming off.


51 mins – Now it’s Fintan Cregg’s time to fluff his lines as he has a clear scoring opportunity and scuffs his shot wide. That’s Roscommon’s 11th wide and they’re leaving the door wide open for Galway here.


52 mins — Roscommon 1-6 Galway 0-8: Gareth Bradshaw is brought down, and it’s easy for Shane Walsh. One-point game.


53 mins — BLACK CARD! (David Murray)

Roscommon 1-6 Galway 0-9: All square, and Roscommon are having a bit of a wobble here. Colm Lavin tries the quick kickout to David Murray which is poached, and then Murray drags his man to ground. A clear black card, and the opportunity to level the match, which Shane Walsh takes.


54 mins – Roscommon drop another one into Lavelle’s hands. They haven’t come out of the dressing room at all in this second half.


55 mins – Shane Walsh’s confidence is at an all-time high, as you might expect, but his latest effort drops right and wide.


56 mins – Great fetch by Tom Flynn, great ball in by Shane Walsh, but there’s no free to Galway, despite what looked to be a hold on Damien Comer. Roscommon clear.


57 mins – Chance! Roscommon haven’t got going in attack at all in this second half but they’re a fingertip away from a goal here. Diarmuid Murtagh gathers the long ball just outside the square and rounds Eoghan Kerin. He does well to keep the attack alive and just as he’s about to ship it off, Declan Kyne nudges it away.


58 mins — Roscommon 1-6 Galway 0-10: Free for Galway! Peter Domican is whistled for a jersey pull; Shane Walsh makes no mistake. Galway are one up!


60 mins – Galway 0-11 Roscommon 1-6: Seán Kelly points! Galway lead by two!

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63 mins — PENALTY FOR ROSCOMMON… SCORED! Roscommon 2-6 Galway 0-11: Drama! Brilliant stuff from John McManus whose driving run allows him to set up Murtagh, who is brought down inside the large parallelogram. It’s a penalty, with few arguments, and Conor Devaney holds his nerve to smash it into the roof of Lavelle’s net. Roscommon, who have only scored one other point in this half, somehow lead again.


65 mins — Roscommon 2-6 Galway 0-12: Not for long! Sean Armstrong levels it up.


68 mins – Wides swapped at either end as both sides try to get their noses in front. You don’t need me to tell you that the next score here is a crucial one…


69 mins — Galway 0-13 Roscommon 2-6: Damien Comer! He hasn’t been given much of a chance to show what he can do today, but is both the creator and scorer here as he plays a one-two with Ian Burke, gets himself into position and scores. Galway lead again with a minute left…


70 mins — Galway 0-14 Roscommon 2-6: Comer again! He shrugs off Peter Domican and gets on the end of Ian Burke’s pass. He’s one-on-one with a sight on goal but takes his point to put Galway two up as the clock ticks into the red.

But there’ll be six additional minutes…


70+3 mins – Play resumes after a stoppage to allow Damien Comer treatment. There’ll be more than six minutes played now, so Roscommon still have time, but they will need the next score.


70+5 mins — Galway 0-15 Roscommon 2-6: Galway three up now. You can’t help but feel that Roscommon have kicked this away.


70+6 mins — Galway 0-16 Roscommon 2-6: And Ian Burke makes it a four-point game. Galway have blown Roscommon away in this second half; they’ve been allowed to blow Roscommon away.


A real tale of two halves, and Roscommon simply capitulated in that second 35. Leading by three points at the break, they failed to score from play with the wind at their backs in the second half, managed only 1-1 in total in that time, and ended up losing by four points to a much improved Galway side.

We’ll have lots more reaction and analysis over the course of the evening but for now, congratulations to Galway and their supporters, and thanks for reading.

About the author:

Niall Kelly


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