By Brían Mangan
Galway had four points to spare in the end to win the COnnacht Minor Championship and lift the Tom Kilcoyne Cup tonight, but they were pushed to the pin of their collar by Roscommon for long stages in a very entertaining game played in glorious sunshine in Dr Hyde Park.
Galway had two points on the board within a minute through Eoghan Tinney and wing back Ryan Monahan, who finished the half with four points from frees. Roscommon were dominant however in the first quarter, with only their shooting letting them down. It wasn’t until the 14th minute that they hit the score board, Ruaidhrí Fallon and Enda Crawley slotting over 2 fine scores in quick succession. Galway then struck for a goal of the highest quality, centre forward Aidan Halloran breaking free down the right before crossing an inviting bouncing ball across Daniel Connolly’s goalmouth, which Eoghan Tinney gleefully volleyed into the empty net at the back post. This inspired Galway and with Cox and Cooley buzzing in the inside line along with Tinney, they stretched their advantage to 1-8 to 0-2, threatening to run away with the game in this spell. Roscommon rallied however and scored 3 on the trot, including a brilliant Shane Cunnane effort, to narrow the gap to 7 at the break, 1-10 to 0-6.
Darragh Murray, who wore 3 but played around the middle opened the scoring to leave 6 between them, before Fearghus Lennon reacted fastest like all quality corner forwards should when a ball struck the post to slam to the net, drawing a massive roar from the Roscommon faithful and reduce the defecit to 3 points. Man of the match Matthew Cooley then added two points for Galway (he would finish with four from play) to re-establish the Tribesmens dominance. Galway captain Conor Raftery supplied the killer blow with 7 minutes to go, striking low and hard to put his team 2-12 to 1-7 up, and out of sight. A late consolation penalty from Shane Cunnane deep into stoppage time wasn’t enough for the Rossies, as Galway ran out 4 point winners to become the first county to win the Connacht Minor Championship since it got restructured to U17. They now go on to play Clare, while Roscommon must face Kerry on the weekend of July 28th/29th.
Roscommon: D Connolly, C Brogan, D Murray (0-1), K Gunning, R Dolan, J Hester, J Lohan, E Crawley (0-1), S Cunnane (1-1, 1-0 pen), R Fallon (0-1), E Derwin, R Walsh, F Lennon (1-0), Adam McDermott (0-5, 0-3fs), J Fitzpatrick SUBS: L Ormsby, Aaron McDermott, C Carthy, C Walsh
Galway: D Halloran, E Walsh, S Black, C Deane, R Monahan (0-4fs), T Gill, C Sweeney, P Kelly (0-1), C Raftery (1-0), L Judge, A Halloran (0-1), O McCormack, E Tinney (1-2), D Cox (0-1), M Cooley (0-4) SUBS: C Halbard, S Horkan, O Gormally