By Brían Mangan
In beautiful July sunshine in Kiltoom tonight, Galway had too much class and firepower for a Roscommon side who came with a game plan to frustrate this talented Galway outfit, which while working for periods of the first half was unable to keep them out for the whole game. The Rossies battled courageously for the 60 minutes and gave a very good account of themselves, but it will be Galway who will contest the Connacht Under 20Final against Mayo in Tuam next Wednesday night after a 7point victory which they richly deserved.
Roscommon started with two sweepers in Niall Higgins and captain Dylan Ruane deep in their own half trying to plug the holes in their defence which led to them conceding a lot of goals in their games up to now. Ruane is better known as a marksman (he scored 1-7 last week against Leitrim) and he handled lots of ball around the middle for the Rossies, but they certainly missed his cutting edge upfront as they didn’t score a point from play until the 31st minute. Galway led three nil in the tenth minute with a point each from their lethal full forward line of Darragh Silke, Padraig Costello and Rory Cunningham before goalkeeper Aaron Brady opened the Roscommon account with the sweetest of 45s. Roscommon spurned a golden opportunity for a goal after 7 minutes however when a brilliant Padraig Halpin pass from the half way line found Paul Carey on the penalty spot. The Padraig Pearses man didn’t realise how much time he had however and his rushed attempt was well saved by Oran Burke. Roscommon then received a welcome present in the 14th minute when Oran Burke lost Gerry Galvins mis- hit attempt at a point in the sun, resulting in a freak goal and putting Roscommon a point up out of nowhere. Matthew Tierney was the outstanding player on view, fetching spectacularly and kicking 3 beautiful first half points, including 2 monster frees off the deck. The Tribesmen had 7 different scorers in the first half including a fine fisted effort from Ross Mahon and a great score by the speedy Liam Costello who made a big impact when he was introduced midway through the first half. Galway had a five point cushion at the half time break, leading 0-11 to 1-3 after being thoroughly dominant.
It felt at half time like Padraic Joyce’s men would come out and blow Roscommon out of the water in the second half, but only had one class Rory Cunningham effort scored in the twentieth minute of the half, as Roscommon had narrowed the gap to 3 through sheer grit and determination. The move of Ruane in near the goals to support Paul Carey in there was a big improvement as he won lots of ball and provided more of a threat, as two nice Ronan Dowd frees and abrilliant James Fitzpatrick effort where he showed massive strength and balance to shrug off his marker gave the home crowd hope that they could cause a shock. Galway woke from their slumber however and rattled off 4 fast points to put the result beyond doubt with Cunningham and Darragh Silke kicking fine scores in this period. There was one more moment of drama when Roscommon were awarded a penalty as the clock ticked into injury time. Any brief hope they held of staging a comeback was quickly extinguished however when Brian Derwin blazed the penalty over, and Galway were never troubled thereafter. Matthias Barrett at midfield and Liam Boyle at wing back were other Galway players who impressed in the immaculate conditions for football on the evening for the Tribesmen. Roscommon although defeated can be proud of their efforts as they fought ferociously all through against a fancied Galway and with 10 minutes to go were well in the game.
Referee: Jerome Henry
ROSCOMMON: A Brady (0-1, 0-1 45’), E Killoran, E Flynn, R Dolan, M Conroy, N Higgins, G Galvin (1-0), D Sumner, P Halpin, D Keenan, R Dowd (0-3, 0-2fs), J Fitzpatrick, P Carey (0-1f), D Ruane SUBS C Lawless, S Hanly, T Lambe, B Derwin (0-1 pen), C Corcoran, T O’Rourke
GALWAY: O Burke, R Mahon (0-1), S Mulkerrin, E McFadden, L Boyle (0-1), C Potter, J Kirrane, M Barrett, M Collins, M Tierney (0-2fs), G Burke, B O’Connell, D Silke (0-3fs), P Costello (0-2, 0-1f)), R Cunningham (0-4) SUB L Costello (0-2), J Glynn, T Gill, E Mannion (0-1), C Newell, J Reilly