Allianz FL D2: Roscommon earn promotion
Allianz Football League Division Two
Roscommon 1-20 Galway 1-15
By Ian Cooney at Dr Hyde Park
Roscommon are back in Division One after a terrific first-half display lay the foundations for victory, and promotion, against Galway in perfect conditions at Dr. Hyde Park.
In front of nearly 6,000 supporters, the Rossies played some of their best football in this season’s league campaign as Cian McKeon’s 32nd minute goal helped them to a 1-14 to 0-6 lead.
In fairness to Pádraic Joyce’s men, they upped the ante in the second half, but they had left themselves with too much to do, despite Johnny Heaney’s spectacular goal five minutes from time.
Conor Cox finished with 0-8 for the Rossies while Galway midfielder Niall Daly kicked five points from play on his league debut.
By the end of a dramatic afternoon of league football, Roscommon were the only unbeaten team left in the country.
The Rossies were 0-6 to 0-4 ahead in a free-flowing contest after 16 minutes but when Cathal Sweeney was shown a black card for tripping Ciaráin Murtagh as he bore down on goal, the home side made the most of their numerical advantage, hitting 1-6 without reply.
A hat-trick of points from Murtagh inside the space of two minutes were crucial, as was McKeon’s goal when he combined with his Boyle clubmate Donie Smith before palming the ball to the net.
Galway were far more competitive after the break as Roscommon tried to play a containment game. They were always able to keep the Tribesmen at arm’s length but three points from Daly alongside efforts from Dessie Conneely and Liam Silke kept their opponents honest.
When Johnny Heaney scored a brilliant goal in the 65th minute to leave six points between the teams, which was followed by efforts from Tony Gill and Owen Gallagher, Roscommon supporters started shifting nervously in their seats for the first time.
But substitute Niall Kilroy’s point in injury time confirmed Roscommon’s promotion and a rematch with Galway in Croke Park next weekend.
Scorers for Roscommon: Conor Cox 0-8 (0-4f), Cian McKeon 1-2, Donie Smith 0-4 (0-3f), Ciaráin Murtagh 0-3, Richard Hughes 0-1, Enda Smith 0-1, Niall Kilroy 0-1
Scorers for Galway: Niall Daly 0-5, Dessie Conneely 0-4 (0-2f), Johnny Heaney 1-0, Cathal Sweeney 0-1, Jack Glynn 0-1, Matthew Tierney 0-1 (0-1f), Liam Silke 0-1, Tony Gill 0-1, Owen Gallagher 0-1.
Roscommon: Colm Lavin; David Murray, Brian Stack, Eoin McCormack; Richard Hughes, Niall Daly, Ronan Daly; Ultan Harney, Eddie Nolan; Ciaráin Murtagh, Enda Smith, Cathal Heneghan; Cian McKeon, Donie Smith, Conor Cox.
Subs: Keith Doyle for Nolan 52, Niall Kilroy for Heneghan 52, Diarmuid Murtagh for McKeon 57, Conor Hussey for Niall Daly 61, Conor Daly for Harney 63.
Galway: Conor Flaherty; Seán Fitzgerald; Kieran Molloy, Jack Glynn; Tony Gill, Seán Kelly, Cathal Sweeney; Matthew Tierney, Niall Daly; Finnian Ó Laoi, Paul Kelly, Johnny Heaney; Dylan Canney, Eoin Finnerty, Dessie Conneely.
Subs: Dylan McHugh for Ó Laoi 28, Owen Gallagher for Finnerty 31, Liam Silke for Sweeney h-t, James McLoughlin for Paul Kelly 49, Cormac McWalter for Canney 58
Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Tipperary).