Allianz Football League Round Up
This weekend saw the final round of matches in the Allianz leagues, with Galway qualifying for the Division 2 final proving to be the highlight for the Connacht teams.
In Division 1, it was a happy end to an often tumultuous campaign for Roscommon, who despite being already relegated managed to get a morale boosting first win under their belts, beating Cavan 1-13 to 1-10.
Match report from rte.ie:
Roscommon 1-13 Cavan 1-10
Cavan’s hopes of remaining in Division 1 were killed off in an entertaining clash at Hyde Park when a Roscommon side, who were already relegated, picked up their first points of the campaign.
The sides were level at 0-08 at the break before Cavan enjoyed a great start to the second-half when Dara McVeety found the net.
But the Roscommon response was excellent with Cathal Compton shooting home an equalising goal inside a minute and they never trailed from there to the end.
The sides were level six times in an entertaining opening half and went in deadlocked at 0-08 each with never more than two points between the sides.
Cavan, needing to win to have any chance of survival, led by 0-04 to 0-02 at the end of the opening quarter but efforts from Niall Kilroy and Sean McDermott saw Roscommon draw level.
The sides continued to exchange points to the interval, with six Cavan players finding the target while Roscommon had seven different scorers.
The second-half exploded into action with McVeety hitting the net from close range for Cavan less than two minutes after the restart.
Roscommon, however, did not fold and they struck back immediately with Compton showing good composure to fire home a goal straight away.
And Kevin McStay’s men never looked back from there. They were the only side in the entire league without a point going into the final round of games and were clearly determined to rectify that.
They hit three good points in succession to take a firm grip on the match with Diarmuid Murtgh, Kilroy with his third effort and Ciaran Murtagh with another free, putting them 1-11 to 1-08 in front after 55 minutes.
Gearoid McKiernan responded with a pointed free for Cavan to cut the gap with ten minutes remaining but they struggled to create chances and faded.
Thomas Corcoran and Conor Devaney extended Roscommon’s lead to four going into the closing stages.
Another free from McKiernan reduced the margin to three but Cavan never looked like getting the goal required to save the day and these two sides will meet again next year in the league but this time in Division 2.
Roscommon: C Lavin; D Murray, G Patterson, N McInerney; S McDermott (0-01), U Harney, C Devaney (0-02); T O’Rourke, E Smith; N Kilroy (0-03), C Murtagh (0-02, 0-02 free), D Smith (0-01); D Murtagh (0-02, 0-02 free), C Compton (1-00), C Connolly (0-01).
Subs: S Killoran for Patterson (35 mins), B Stack for D Smith (50 mins), R Stack for McDermott (60 mins), T Corcoran (0-01) for Connolly (60 mins).
Cavan: R Galligan (0-01, 0-01 free); K Brady, R Dunne, F Reilly; M Reilly (0-01), C Moynagh, C Brady (0-01); T Carr, K Clarke; G Smith, G McKiernan, D (0-02, 0-02 free), McVeety (1-01); N Murray, J Dillon (0-01), N McDemott (0-03, 0-02 free).
Subs: C Mackey for G Smith (35 mins), N Clerin for Dillon (46 mins), N Clerkin for Carr (50 mins), J Brady for McDermott (58 mins), J McEnroe for C Brady (60 mins), C Madden for Murray (65 mins).
Also in Division 1, Mayo enjoyed a 1-12 to 0-13 victory over Donegal in Castlebar. Unfortunately it was not enough for them to qualify for the league final but it has secured Division 1 football for them next season. Here is the match report and teams from rte.ie:
Mayo 1-12 Donegal 0-13
Cillian O’Connor scored 1-05 and Mayo secured their NFL Division 1 status with a 1-12 to 0-13 victory over Donegal at a jam-packed MacHale Park in Castlebar.
There was a real championship feel to the game, and throw-in was delayed by ten minutes due to crowd congestion with 14,102 in attendance. But Donegal responded better to lead 0-11 to 1-05 at half-time.
Cian Mulligan kicked a couple of great scores at the start of the second-half, but Mayo hit their stride and O’Connor’s brilliance shone through, after Eamonn Doherty got a straight red for Donegal.
All of the pressure was on Mayo coming into this game, and with Cavan playing against an already relegated Roscommon, they knew it was essential to win – although their Connacht rivals held up their side of the bargain.
Mayo were brilliant when they secured a badly needed 1-10 to 0-12 victory over Tyrone in Round 6 last weekend, and that was a huge step forward for Stephen Rochford’s side.
But after a positive league campaign, which yielded three wins from their opening five games, Donegal had to settle for their second draw with a 1-11 to 1-11 stalemate against Monaghan in Ballyshannon.
Donegal played against the breeze in the first-half but they dominated, and scored the first two points through Eoghan Ban Gallagher and Cian Mulligan.
Mayo hit back emphatically in the fifth minute when O’Connor slotted home a penalty – he had been fouled by Donegal goalkeeper Mark Anthony McGinley.
And Mayo seized the momentum briefly, with points from Andy Moran, O’Connor and a fine Danny Kirby effort giving them a 1-03 to 0-02 lead after eight minutes.
But between the 11th and 32nd minutes Donegal out-scored Mayo by eight points to one. Michael Murphy was inspirational and brought his tally to four points for the first-half.
Colm Boyle finally got Mayo back on the scoreboard one minute before half-time, but the brilliant Frank McGlynn cancelled that out, and Donegal led 0-11 to 1-05 at the break.
Lee Keegan almost scored a goal on the resumption but his fisted effort was saved by McGinley and it rebounded over for a point.
Two Cian Mulligan points then flew over to give Donegal a 0-13 to 1-06 lead, but incredibly Donegal wouldn’t score again in the game.
Instead Mayo took over after a huge bust up where Donegal had Jason McGee, Ciaran Thompson and Michael Murphy all yellow carded, along with Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea in the 53rd minute.
Keith Higgins quickly pointed and then Doherty got sent-off for a straight red card when he allegedly kicked out at O’Shea with 12 minutes left to play.
The Donegal heads dropped after that, and O’Connor kicked four points as Mayo went through the gears to seal the win.
MAYO: D Clarke; C Barrett, K Higgins (0-01), B Harrision; C Boyle (0-01), L Keegan (0-02), P Durcan; T Parsons, D Kirby (0-01); F Boland, S Nally (0-01), D Drake; K McLoughlin, A Moran (0-01), C O’Connor (1-05, 1-00 pen, 0-04f).
Subs used: D O’Connor for Boland (half-time), S Coen for Boyle (half-time), A O’Shea for Kirby (46), J Doherty for Moran (59), D Vaughan for Drake (65).
DONEGAL: M A McGinley; P McGrath, N McGee, K Lacey; E B Gallagher (0-01), E Doherty, M O’Reilly (0-01); J McGee, M Murphy (0-04, 0-03f, 0-01 45); C Mulligan (0-03), M Carroll, C Thompson (0-02); J Brennan (0-01), H McFadden, F McGlynn (0-01).
Subs used: E McHugh for McFadden (49), P McBrearty for Lacey (59), M McHugh for McGlynn (65), M McElhinney for McGrath (68), M Langan for McGee (69).
Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath).
In Division 2, Galway needed to avoid defeat in their final game against Kildare in order to gain promotion to Division 1 and to ensure they qualified for the league final against the same opposition this coming Sunday. They managed to pull off a narrow victory, eventually coming out the right side of a 0-14 to 0-13 scoreline against a much-changed Kildare outfit. They now face Kildare in that Division 2 league final which has been fixed for next Sunday at 2pm, preceding the Division 1 showdown between Dublin and Kerry at 4pm. Here is the report and team’s from Sunday’s game from rte.ie:
Galway 0-14 Kildare 0-13
Galway will play Division 1 football in 2018 after Kevin Walsh’s side held on to win against Kildare at Pearse Stadium.
A Galway win looked a formality when Eamonn Brannigan put them five ahead with 16 minutes remaining, but Niall Kelly’s introduction inspired the already-promoted Lilywhites to twice close to within a point, only for Shane Walsh to wrap up the win late on.
With the knowledge that a win or a draw would suffice for the Tribesmen to clinch top-flight football for next season, there were no gung-ho tactics on display from the home side, who stuck to their patient plan in search of chances.
This was far from the usual Kildare team seen so far in the national league as Cian O’Neill made 14 changes from last week’s win over Clare – Fionn Dowling was the only survivor – while six of his team, including the entire full-back line, made their first starts for the county.
It was Dowling who got Kildare off the mark in the first minute with a great score from the left, and only for a fine Rory Lavelle save a minute later, Ben McCormack’s goal bound effort could have stunned Galway.
But they slowly grew their way into the tie, and with Fiontán Ó Curraoin and Paul Conroy dominant under the kick-outs, the opportunities began to flow. A free from Barry McHugh drew Galway level after six minutes, while a good score form Tom Flynn registered Galway’s second in the 12th minute.
A quick break out of defence saw Sean Armstrong push the home side ahead and a Gary Sice free after 20 minutes saw them into a two-point lead, which they were good value for.
A black card for Kildare wing-back Peter Kelly for a lunge on Shane Walsh resulted in another Galway point, and despite a couple of Dowling points at the other end, Galway worked a 0-7 to 0-4 half-time advantage when Johnny Heaney exchanged passes with Flynn and pointed in added-time.
Sice and Emmet Bolton had a running battle throughout the first half, but the Kildare man ran out of luck three minutes after the restart when he was booked for a challenge on the Corofin man and Sice then pointed the free to stretch Galway’s lead to four points.
Bolton was immediately replaced by Keith Cribben and the Johnstownbridge man made a big impact around midfield, which led to points from Eamonn Callaghan and Ben McCormack.
Armstrong and Conroy settled Galway with points, and they could have sealed the win 20 minutes from time but Sice pulled his shot wide when through on goal.
But once Shane Walsh and Brannigan hit two points in as many minutes to take a five-point lead there was no way back for Kildare, despite Niall Kelly’s inspired comeback after his introduction.
Galway: R Lavelle; C Sweeney, D Walsh, D Wynne; G O’Donnell, M Farragher, J Heaney (0-01); P Conroy (0-01), F Ó Curraoin; G Sice (0-02, 0-02f), S Walsh (0-03), T Flynn (0-01); S Armstrong(0-02), E Brannigan (0-02), B McHugh (0-02, 0-02f).
Subs: M Lundy for Sice (57 mins), I Burke for McHugh (63), L Silke for Farragher (67),
Kildare: S McNamara; M Hyland, L Healy, D Maguire; S Ryan, P Kelly, E Bolton; F Dowling (0-05, 0-01f), P Connell; E Heavey, C Hartley, C Kavanagh; C McNally (0-02), E Callaghan (0-01), B McCormack (0-02).
Subs: D Hyland (0-01) for Kelly (25 mins BC), K Cribben for Bolton (40), N Kelly (0-02) for McCormack (49), P Cribben for Heavey (52), K Feely for Connell (56 BC), D Slattery for Hartley (63),
In Division 3, Sligo finished off their campaign with a pleasing 0-17 to 1-11 win over already promoted Louth. The Yeats County men will be happy with how they responded to going in at the break four points down, and they now look towards the summer with a sense of optimism. Match report from independent.ie:
Sligo will play Division 3 football again next year as they did just enough to get over the line against newly-promoted Louth.
In truth, it would have taken an exceptional set of circumstances to see Sligo go down but thanks to the excellent Niall Murphy they surged clear in the second half to make sure of survival.
Louth made 12 changes from their previous game against Tipperary and their new-look side impressed early on as they got the only goal of the match in the 10th minute as Ronan Holcroft flicked the ball to the net after Jim McEneaney broke through the Sligo defence.
Sligo’s John Kelly kept his side in touch with a brace of frees before McEneaney sent over a couple of late scores to put the Wee County 1-6 to 0-5 up at the break.
Sligo made four changes at the break as Stephen Gilmartin, Adrian Marren, Mark Breheny and Kevin McDonnell were all introduced and this seemed to help Sligo as they were by far the better team in the second half.
Marren and Hughes were among the scorers at the start of the second half.
It looked like Louth would contain Sligo as every time the Westerners got to within two points Louth would tag on a score but with Murphy, Marren and Breheny providing scores in the final quarter, Sligo managed to edge three points clear to end their league campaign off with a win ahead of the Connacht Championship.
Meanwhile, Louth will play Tipperary in the Division 3 final in Croke Park next Saturday evening.
SCORERS – Sligo: N Murphy 0-6 (3fs), J Kelly 0-3 (2fs), M Breheny 0-2 (1f); A Marron 0-2; C Harrison, E McHugh, A McIntyre, P Hughes 0-1 each.
Louth: R Holcroft 1-1; J McEneaney 0-4 (3fs); J Califf 0-3 (3fs); S Mulroy 0-2; D McMahon 0-1.
SLIGO – F Ruddy 6; C Harrison 7, R Donavan 7, N Gaughan 7; E McHugh 7, B Egan 7, K Cawley 7; C Breheny 6, A McIntyre 7; N Ewing 6, N Murphy 8, J Kelly 7; D Kelly 6, P Hughes 7, C Henry 6. Subs: S Gilmartin 6 for J Kelly (h-t), M Breheny 7 for D Kelly (h-t), A Marren 7 for C Henry (h-t), K McDonnell 7 for N Gaughan (h-t), S Coen 6 for P Hughes (57), J Clarke for C Breheny (66)
Leitrim concluded their Division 4 campaign with a 1-13 to 2-8 victory over Leitrim in Carrick-on-Shannon, meaning overall they won 4 and lost 3 of their games over the course of the campaign.
TEAMS & SCORERS
LEITRIM: K Beirne(1-0) R Kennedy (0-3),E Mulligan(0-6 3f),O Madden Moran,M Plunkett,McGovern1pt each).
B Flynn,P Maguire,N Woods,M Murphy,W McKeon,G Reynolds,O Madden,D Wrynn(C),P Dolan,D McGovern,M Plunkett,R Kennedy,E Mulligan,K Beirne,B Gallagher.
D Moran for B Gallagher (27m).J Rooney for W McKeon(44m).M McWeeney for n Woods(54m).N O’Donnell for K Beirne(60m).J Mitchell for G Raynolds(60m).