EirGrid Connacht U21 Football Championship Semi Final 2017
22nd of March
Sligo 1-13 Roscommon 0-13
Sligo qualified for their first Connacht final since 2012 with a three point victory over Roscommon in Kiltoom on Wednesday 22nd March. In an entertaining contest that swung back and forth throughout, in the end it was Jodie O’Reilly’s goal midway through the second half which decided the game. Sligo have remarkably never won the U21 Connacht Championship, and they will have every confidence in doing so after this performance which was full of intensity, endeavour and accurate shooting.
The game started at a frantic pace. Both sides played with an extra man in defence, and as a result they were both reluctant to kick the ball directy into their out-numbered forward lines, instead favouring more patient hand passing moves and overlaps. Roscommon played with the aid of a strong wind in the first half, and entered at the interval with a 0-6 to 0-4 advantage. The accurate free taking from Hubert Darcy for Roscommon and Paddy O’Connor at the other end for Sligo were notable features of the half, aswell as some eye catching scores by Jamie Gannon and Jamie Fahy for Roscommon and a fine effort by Stephen Connolly after good work by the impressive Sean Power for Sligo. The Rossies would have went in at the interval slightly frustrated at not having taken more advantage of the wind after some poor shooting and shot selection on their part.
The second half began with a beautiful long range free for either team, Roscommon goalkeeper Shane Mannion into the wind off the deck maintaining his team’s two point advantage after O’Connor had cut the deficit to one. Then over the next ten minutes, Sligo, and in particular their captain Darragh Cummins, hit a purple patch. The powerhouse midfielder kicked four points from play in that period, each one as good as the last. In between these was a terrific Jodie O’Reilly effort following a jinking run. Then came the crucial goal, O’Reilly bravely connecting with a pass from fellow corner forward Kyle Cawley to put Sligo 6 up with 14 minutes to go. Roscommon rallied valiantly, and frees from the classy Darcy and Conor McKeon narrowed the gap. However, Sligo weathered the storm and crucial points from Jason Perry and Sean Carrbine saw them safely through to the decider.
Scorers for Sligo: Jodie O’Reilly 1-1, Paddy O’Connor (0-4f), Darragh Cummins 0-4 each, Liam Gaughan, Stephen Connolly, Jason Perry, Sean Carrbine 0-1 each.
Scorers for Roscommon: Hubert Darcy 0-5 (0-5f), Conor McKeon 0-4 (0-3f), Shane Mannion (0-1f), John Gannon, Jamie Fahy, Brian Kelly 0-1 each.
1. Daniel Cafferkey (Bunninadden) 2. Eddie McGuinness (Tubbercurry) 3. Luke Nicholson (St Mary’s) 4. Michael Gordon (Easkey) 5. Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch (St Mary’s)
6. Paul McNamara (St John’s) 7. Sean Power (Drumcliffe/Rosses Point) 8. Darragh Cummins (Calry/St Joseph’s) 9. Paul Kilcoyne (St Mary’s) 10. Alan McLoughlin (St Molaise Gaels) 11. Liam Gaughan (Tourlestrane) 12. Stephen Connolly (Coolaney/Mullinabreena) 13. Kyle Cawley (St Mary’s) 14. Paddy O’Connor (St Farnan’s)
15. Jodie O’Reilly (Geevagh)
Subs Sean Carrbine (Castleconnor) for Connolly (37) Jason Perry (Tubbercurry) for McLoughlin (46) Nathan Mullen (Coolaney/Mullinabreena) for McGuinness (55) Finnian Cawley (St Farnan’s) for Kilcoyne (60) Kevin Banks (Coolera Strandhill) for O’Reilly (65) Michael Clarke (Eastern Harps) for Perry (67, black card)
1. Shane Mannion (St Brigid’s) 2. Jack Connaughton (Clann na nGael) 3. Keelan Beirne (Strokestown) 4. Mark Richardson (Padraig Pearses) 5. Sean Conroy (Western Gaels)
6. Aengus Lyons (Fuerty) 7. Lorcan Daly (Padraig Pearses) 8. Gearoid Keenan (Oran)
9. Hubert Darcy (Padraig Pearses) 10. Brian Stack (St Brigid’s) 11. John Gannon (Kilmore) 12. Conor Payne (Padraig Pearses) 13. Brian Kelly (Roscommon Gaels)
14. Cian McKeon (Boyle) 15. Jamie Fahy (Clann na nGael)
Subs James Fetherston (Roscommon Gaels) for Keenan (37) Cathal Callinan (Clann na nGael) for Fahy (38) Aidan Brogan (St Croan’s) for Gannon (44) Tom Butler (Padraig Pearses) for Payne (49) David Connaughton (Clann na nGael) for Daly (52).
Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)