The action is hotting up across all grades of adult football in Roscommon, and this past week we also saw the eight clubs in the race for Junior championship glory reduced to four, with St. Dominic’s, Kilglass Gaels, Roscommon Gaels and St. Michael’s dropping out of the race.
Full match reports on all four games are in this week’s Roscommon Herald, but on top of that, it’s time to crown the fifteen men who earned their way onto the first 2022 Roscommon Herald JFC team of the week!
Goalkeeper: Ray Gallagher (St. Ronan’s)
A Roscommon Gaels goal midway through the second half gave the town side a lifeline in Elphin, but they soon realised they needed a second, and Ray Gallagher came up trumps for St. Ronan’s with two crucial saves. On a difficult day for kickouts, he kept it simple and generally gave his midfield colleagues every advantage possible with some good placement.
Right Corner-Back: Jack Fleming (Roscommon Gaels)
John Keavney’s eight points was a significant contribution towards St. Ronan’s victory over Roscommon Gaels, but all of those points came from frees. From open play, Fleming was sharp and tight in his marking of Keavney, continuing the good form he showed in the U-20 championship.
Full-Back: Dylan Owens (Strokestown)
In a ferociously tight local derby contest at Tarmonbarry, Owens was the anchor of a strong Strokestown defensive unit, charged with the responsibility of marking Kilglass dangerman Gavin Tully and holding the edge of the square against a team that averaged 17 points per game in the group stages. He discharged both duties very well.
Left Corner-Back: David McDonnell (Strokestown)
In a Strokestown team with plenty of strength and experience, McDonnell adds youth, pace and zest from the somewhat unlikely corner-back role. Given time and a probable graduation to senior football, he looks like a player that will be more likely to move up to the half-back line, or perhaps even go up to half-forward. For now however, he’ll have a huge role to play tomorrow evening, most likely up against Adam McGreal of Pearses.
Right Half-Back: Liam Killoran (St. Ronan’s)
St. Ronan’s have put a lot of quality into their half-back line this year, with Killoran togging out alongside Tadhg and Fergal Guihen. It has worked out well for Stephen Sheeran, and Killoran was the leading light of the trio at the weekend, carrying a lot of ball and chipping in with a vital score early in the second half.
Centre-Back: Eoghan Keaveney (Ballinameen)
Keaveney’s duel with Declan Dowling of St. Dominic’s was a crucial battleground in the Strokestown contest at the weekend, and while Dowling had some good moments, overall if was Keaveney who walked off the field the happier man – mainly because of the result, but also because of his own significant contribution towards that cause.
Left Half-Back: Shane Mulvey (Pádraig Pearses)
The 2021 team that got to the junior county final against St. Brigid’s may have lost one key player to senior football in the shape of Declan Kenny, but they gained a few very useful additions in the form of regrades, and Shane Mulvey is undoubtedly proving to be the most valuable. His senior-standard conditioning and power is a valuable weapon for Eoin Curran, and while we’re taking a slight liberty here, shunting him from centre back across to left-wing, he simply had to be accommodated in this team.
Midfield: Ronan Morris (St. Dominic’s)
Morris is the typical modern midfielder – able to hold his own in the battle for high ball, but also capable of bringing great energy up and down the field. Ballinameen had a few too many weapons in the middle third and they definitely got the better of the war in the trenches overall, but Morris certainly took the fight to them as best he could.
Midfield: Conor Ryan (Pádraig Pearses)
Other stars from the newly-crowned county U-20 champions might have come into 2022 with a bigger reputation, but Ryan is certainly moving up the pecking order with some outstanding displays. There’s no rush to push him into senior football, particularly with Niall and Conor Daly filling the midfield slots, but when he is asked to step up, Ryan looks like he’s capable of making a significant impact.
Right Half-Forward: Gary Hanley (Ballinameen)
Every player that starts on the bench dreams of making a game-changing impact when they come onto the field, and some do so, in the form of a decisive goal, or a big catch at midfield, or any other vital intervention. Hanley had to do a lot more. He came in to replace an injured Ronan Garvin, the star of this Ballinameen team, and he went on to play a vital role in a tough position, while kicking two excellent points. A half an hour was enough to earn him the Roscommon Herald Player of the Match accolade, so he gets the nod here too.
Centre-Forward: Andrew Jordan (Strokestown)
When it came to craft and creativity, Jordan was the main man for the black and amber last weekend. He was the man pulling the strings for the team, he added a good point of his own, then was also on hand to take responsibility and win the final free that Cian Corcoran converted to win the game.
Left Half-Forward: Tommie Cox (Kilglass Gaels)
We’re lining Cox out here because that was his official position on the field, but it was as an auxiliary midfielder where the Kilglass stalwart did his best work in their local derby game. He did exactly what was needed, winning ball and setting up attacks, as he has done with clinical efficiency for a long time.
Right Corner-Forward: Gary O’Daly (St. Ronan’s)
O’Daly was the crucial difference between two sides that were otherwise very well-matched in Elphin last Sunday. St. Ronan’s won by six, O’Daly scored 1-3 from play, including an excellent goal. There were others over the weekend who racked up scores from dead balls (John Keavney, Gerry Collins, Gavin Tully) but O’Daly was a constant threat from any situation, with a really good eye for the posts.
Full-Forward: Tom Carey (Pádraig Pearses)
A close call here between Carey and Peter Keane of Ballinameen, but despite not getting on the scoresheet, Carey gets the nod by a very slim margin. He was at the heart of a lot of good attacking moves, and seemed to be on the ball incredibly frequently, always using it well.
Left Corner-Forward: Adam McGreal (Pádraig Pearses)
Like Conor Ryan who we spoke about earlier, McGreal has a bit more developing to do before he’s ready for elite senior football, but the teenager is clearly on the right path, and the next couple of years of physical development, ideally with a good standard of Freshers Football helping to bring him along over the winter, should help turn him into a very effective player. Five points from play demonstrates that when it comes to the simple art of scoring, he’s got everything needed already.
*Compiled by Kevin Egan