Saturday, April 30, 2022

Connacht SFC semi-final

ROSCOMMON 0-23                       SLIGO                   0-11

It was all plain sailing for Roscommon at Markievicz Park this evening, as Anthony Cunningham’s men made sure there was to be no repeat of the U-20 result earlier this month when Roscommon and Sligo met to find out who would be the first county to secure their place in a 2022 provincial senior final.

Over 6,000 people filed into the home of Sligo GAA, many of them home supporters hoping to see a repeat of their U-20 heroics, and in the very early stages, Tony McEntee’s side gave Roscommon plenty to think about.

Patrick O’Connor and Niall Murphy struck two of the game’s first three points, while Seán Carrabine and Conan Marren made clean catches at midfield to establish a presence in that key sector.

On the Roscommon side, Donie Smith, Cathal Heneghan and Cian McKeon all struggled to get into the game and it was only Conor Cox that really found his groove, kicking Roscommon’s first four points.

Cox was also involved in a huge swing moment after 12 minutes, when he hoisted a free over the bar but then was knocked to the ground by David Phillips as he ran back to his position, leading to a straight red card for the Sligo corner-back following consultation between the officials.

It took time for Roscommon to make their superiority count on the scoreboard, with Darragh Cummins’ point for Sligo making it 0-4 to 0-3 after 20 minutes.

But with Sligo’s attack badly misfiring, dropping a series of shots into Conor Lavin’s hands, it wasn’t long before the Division Two champions started to assert themselves.

Ciaráin Murtagh, Enda Smith and Eddie Nolan (a 45) all added their names to the scoresheet, before two points from Sligo just before half-time – including a wonderful strike on the run from Seán Carrabine off the left wing to leave Sligo just about hanging on at the break, 0-9 to 0-5 in arrears.

That fingernail-grip on the contest was wrenched away early in the second half when Roscommon completely took control of the tie. Enda Smith was the dominant influence on the game in the first ten minutes, adding three points, and the gap was all the way out to nine by the time Niall Murphy slipped a lateral pass across into Darragh Cummins for Sligo’s first score since the interval.

Competition for places is fierce among a highly-rated group of Roscommon attackers, and that was proven even further as the bench was emptied by both sides, and Anthony Cunningham and his selectors watched as his five replacements kicked 0-6 between them, including a brace from Niall Kilroy and a wonderful strike from Diarmuid Murtagh off the left-hand sideline.

Roscommon now advance to a Connacht Final against either Galway or Leitrim on Sunday May 29, while Sligo will hope for better fortunes in the inaugural running of the Tailteann Cup.

For a full report, analysis and reaction from this evening’s game, check out this Tuesday’s Roscommon Herald. 


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