Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Connacht Senior Hurling League

ROSCOMMON 3-19        LEITRIM               3-16                                    

Kevin Egan at the NUI Galway Connacht GAA Airdome

Roscommon may have started their 2022 hurling season with a win, but not in the fashion that Roscommon would historically expect against Leitrim, nor in the fashion that the early exchanges seemed to indicate either.


Francis O’Halloran’s troops burst out of the blocks with excellent early goals from Brendan Mulry and Mickey Joe Egan, and all across the field there were indications that the new additions to the panel for the season were set to make a big difference. Conor Cosgrove was strong at centre back, chipping in with a good first half point, Eoin Fitzpatrick was lively and direct on the wing until his injury after half an hour, while Pádraig Kelly didn’t waste any time settling back into the rhythm of things, hurling a world of ball over the course of 70 minutes.


Yet there were worrying signs too, particularly in the full back line where new Leitrim recruit Joe Murray was extremely sharp at corner forward, winning several frees which were converted by Brendan Delaney. Immediately after the first half water break the Dublin import got in behind for a good goal that gave oxygen to Leitrim and meant the tie was still very much alive at half time, with Roscommon 2-10 to 1-8 in front.


Perhaps more significantly, the Leitrim defence was now on top of their Roscommon counterparts, with Cathal Dolan the only scorer for Roscommon between the first half water break and Mikey Lohan’s close range point just short of the hour mark.


Leitrim kept in touch throughout, buoyed by a goal from James McNabola, which made up for a missed penalty by Delaney. Seán Markham was also on the scoresheet for Leitrim, whipping over a gorgeous point from the right hand touchline midway through the second half to crown a notable debut for the Michael Glaveys player.


Yet the men in green and gold couldn’t quite get level, until their second penalty of the game at the end of the 70 minutes, which was crashed home by Murray to draw the sides level.


Briefly, the prospect of a “golden score” extra time period loomed, until Roscommon substitute Adam Donnelly pounced on a shot from Dolan that looked like it was heading wide, retrieving the ball to score a decisive goal. Karl McDermott stroked over a point for Leitrim in response but Donnelly came good a second time to round off the scoring, finishing from 30 metres out after Ben McGahon worked hard in the right corner to set up the chance.


The win sets up a clash with Sligo on Saturday evening in the Connacht League final, with that fixture set to throw in at 6 p.m., also in the Connacht GAA Airdome.


Scorers for Roscommon: C Dolan 0-12 (0-6f), MJ Egan, B Mulry & A Donnelly 1-1 each, E Fitzgerald 0-2, C Cosgrove & M Lohan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Leitrim: B Delaney 0-9 (0-8f), J Murray 2-0 (1-0 pen), J McNabola 1-3, K McDermott 0-3 (0-2f), S Markham 0-1.

Roscommon: E Lawless; H Rooney, P Kelleghan, R Kilcline; M Comerford, C Cosgrove, C Coyle; P Kelly, MJ Egan; B Mulry, E Kiernan, E Fitzgerald; B McGahon, N Connaughton, C Dolan.


Subs: M Lohan for Fitzgerald (30), A Donnelly for Kiernan (48), E Costello for Egan (60), J Martin for Mulry (65).

Leitrim: M O’Brien; D McGovern, K Clerkin, P Lenehan; C Hackett, K McDermott, A McDermott; M Feeney, S Keane; S Markham, B Delaney, C Mallon; J McNabola, L Moreton, J Murray.

Subs: S Crowe for Moreton (54), D Kelleher for Mallon (54), G O’Brien for Delaney (65), E Clancy for Feeney (67), J Ward for Keane (68).

Referee: E Mac Suibhne

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