They may fight for the common cause in the Fuerty jersey, but Athleague and Tremane players will be in opposing corners on Sunday, October 17th, when the two clubs, located in the same parish, will contest this year’s county senior hurling final for the first time in 41 years.
There was incredible drama this evening as Athleague dethroned Pádraig Pearses in a penalty shootout after the sides finished level, 2-12 to 0-18, after extra time.
Niall Connolly proved to be Athleague’s hero as his penalty gave his side a 2-1 victory, which was confirmed when Athleague goalkeeper David Connell saved Leon Feehily’s fifth penalty.
Ben McGahon hit 0-13, all from frees, for the winners.
Pearses suffered a huge blow early on when they lost Shane Naughton to injury, but David Flaherty was sent off for Athleague later in the half.
Teige Cogavin and Matthew Comerford scored goals in first-half injury time to leave Pearses 2-4 to 0-8 ahead at half time, but by full time, Athleague were back on level terms at 2-10 to 0-16.
Athleague missed a host of chances in injury time, but lived to tell the tale as Connolly and Connell proved to be their side’s heroes in a dramatic penalty shootout — a first for the Roscommon Senior Hurling Championship.
Earlier in the day, Tremane reached their first final since 1996 following a famous 1-10 to 0-11 triumph against Four Roads.
Niall Kilroy, who ended up as the game’s top scorer with 0-7, Peter Kellehan and Joe Brennan delivered huge performances for Seamus Qualter’s side who found themselves 0-9 to 0-4 behind after 37 minutes.
But the second off of Donal Kelly for two yellow cards in quick succession proved to be a huge turning point, and when Kilroy (two frees) and Padraic Brennan ended a 21-minute scoring famine for Tremane with a hat-trick of points in quick succession before the water break, the game’s momentum had shifted.
Sure enough, substitute Noel Gately grabbed the game’s only goal with ten minutes remaining and although Four Roads got back on level terms, late points from Kilroy and Kellehan sparked scenes of unbridled joy among Tremane players and supporters at the final whistle.
*Match reports, pictures and reaction in Tuesday’s Roscommon Herald