Resilient Roscommon triumph in Castlebar

April 9th, 2023

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Connacht Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final

Roscommon 2-8 Mayo 0-10

By Colm Gannon at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park

Roscommon brought Mayo crashing back down to earth after their league final win last weekend with a well deserved four point victory in the Connacht Senior Football Championship quarter-final in Hastings Insurance MacHale Park.

Diarmuid Murtagh was the top scorer for the Rossies with six points over the 70 minutes as Davy Burke’s side move on to face Galway in the Connacht semi-final in a fortnight’s time.

A dogged and disciplined defensive display was the backbone to the visitors victory, with two goals in the first half proving key to deciding the outcome.

Roscommon went in four points to the good at half time despite playing into the teeth of a gale blowing towards the Bacon Factory End of the ground.

Davy Burke’s side got the first score of the game through a Diarmuid Murtagh free after the StFaithleach’s clubman was fouled off the ball by Stephen Coen on the edge of the D.

Mayo responded quickly through a Ryan O’Donoghue placed ball after he was fouled out on the left hand side. Colm Reape who finished the half with two points to his name had a chance to put Mayo in front with a long range free five minutes in, but he pulled his effort wide of the target.

Two minutes later the first goal chance of the game arrived when Aidan O’Shea palmed a Paddy Durcan ball into the path of Stephen Coen, but his effort crashed back off the bar and away to safety.

Murtagh put the visitors back in front with the first score in 17 minutes through another free after Niall Daly was fouled by Coen as he broke for goal.

Five minutes later Roscommon rattled the back of the Mayo net for the first time, through an Enda Smith penalty after Conor Loftus was adjudged to have fouled David Murray.

Mayo hit back with points from Durcan and then a brace of Reape points from placed balls. However there was still a big moment to come before the half time whistle when Roscommon grabbed their second goal of the day.

Ciaran Lennon let fly with a shot towards Reape’s goal, Jack Carney blocked the ball away with his back, but Donnie Smith was quickest to react and he half-volleyed the ball to the net to send Roscommon in leading 2-2 to 0-4 at the break.

Mayo closed the gap back to just two points by the 40th minute with Donnacha McHugh and Matthew Ruane putting the ball over the bar.

Murtagh edged the Rossies’ three points clear again on 43 minutes with his third free of the day and kept Mayo at arms length. Tommy Conroy pulled Mayo back to within two points after he put the ball between the posts and it was back to a one point game with 20 minutes left after Aidan O’Shea was able to raise the white flag.

But Roscommon weren’t going to wilt in the face of the Mayo challenge and two fine points on the spin from play from Diarmuid Murtagh had his side three clear again with ten to go. Cillian O’Connor swung over an effort not long after entering the action to cut the gap to two and keep the game very much alive.

Mayo prodded and poked around the Roscommon danger area, but found it hard to create space to shoot, while in comparison when Roscomon broke they punished Mayo, with Diarmuid Murtagh and Conor Cox slotting over a point each inside of 60 seconds in the 70th minute.

Ryan O’Donoghue cut the gap back to just a goal three minutes into injury time, but the final word was left to Enda Smith who made it safe with a fisted point on the run to seal a well deserved win for Roscommon.

Scorers for Roscommon: Diarmuid Murtagh 0-6 (4fs), Enda Smith 1-1 (1-0 pen), Donie Smith 1-0, Conor Cox 0-1.

Scorers for Mayo: Colm Reape 0-2 (2fs), Ryan O’Donoghue 0-2 (2fs), Paddy Durcan 0-1, Donnacha McHugh 0-1, Matthew Ruane 0-1, Tommy Conroy 0-1, Aidan O’Shea 0-1, Cillian O’Connor 0-1.

Roscommon: Conor Carroll; Conor Hussey, Conor Daly, David Murray; Niall Daly, Brian Stack, Eoin McCormack; Dylan Ruane, Keith Doyle; Ciaran Murtagh, Ciaran Lennon, Enda Smith; Donie Smith, Diarmuid Murtagh, Ben O’Carroll.

Subs: Cian McKeown for Lennon (53), Conor Cox for Donie Smith (60),Richard Hughes for Daly (66), Niall Kilroy for Ruane (70), Cian Connolly for O’Carroll (70).

Mayo: Colm Reape; Jack Coyne, Eoghan McLaughlin, Donnacha McHugh; Stephen Coen, Conor Loftus, Paddy Durcan; Matthew Ruane, Diarmuid O’Connor; Fionn McDonagh, Jack Carney, Jordan Flynn; Aidan O’Shea, Tommy Conroy, Ryan O’Donoghue.

Subs: Darren McHale for McDonagh (51) , Cillian O’Connor for McHale (BS) (53), Jason Doherty for Eoghan McLaughlin (61), Conor McStay for Flynn (61), Darren McHale for Ruane (70). 

Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan).

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