Roscommon maintain good form
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Allianz Football League Division One
Roscommon 1-12 Armagh 0-12
By Ian Cooney at Dr Hyde Park
Enda Smith’s second-half penalty proved to be the match-defining score as Roscommon maintained their perfect start to Division One with their third win in as many games in front of around 8,000 supporters at Dr. Hyde Park.
There was an air of anticipation around the Hyde for this top of the table clash, and once again the Rossies produced a memorable second-half performance to stun Kieran McGeeney’s charges who looked to be in the box seat at half time when they were ahead by a point, having played against a strong wind.
But the Rossies tore up the script by getting their key forwards into the game alongside another resolute defensive display where Conor Daly, Robbie Dolan and captain Brian Stack was outstanding.
Midfielder Keith Doyle was also a pivotal figure before being shown a black card for dragging down Rian O’Neill during the game’s dying embers, as were Enda Smith and Ben O’Carroll who showed great leadership up front in the second half.
A tentative opening saw both teams content to sit back and absorb pressure. But, as the half wore on, Armagh looked far more dangerous, probing for openings along both wings before their superior angles of running manufactured the space for some eyecathing scores.
Roscommon were struggling to make any headway in attack and, after 20 minutes, their only two points had come from full-back Conor Daly.
Armagh, led by Jason Duffy — a late replacement for Conor Turbitt — began to find their groove and two points from Duffy handed Kieran McGeeney’s men a narrow 0-03 to 0-02 lead after 16 minutes.
By the 27th minute, the visitors led by double scores, 0-6 to 0-3, thanks to another brace of scores from Duffy, the latter after the Armagh forward had run the length of the field following a blistering counter-attack.
But Roscommon gained some brief momentum with scores from Ciarán Lennon, Enda Smith and a free from Ciaráin Murtagh to restore parity by the 31st minute.
Armagh edged back in front through a brace from Rian O’Neill, including one from a beautifully-struck ’45 after Ciarán Lennon had done brilliantly to get back and deny Tiernan Kelly what looked like a certain goal.
But Robbie Dolan’s spectacular point on the stroke of half time left his side trailing by a point at the break.
The home side set out their stall early in the new half with scores from Ben O’Carroll and Diarmuid Murtagh before Murtagh’s 42nd minute free left the Rossies 0-10 to 0-8 ahead.
Barry McCambridge pulled one back for Armagh but when O’Carroll was hauled down by the Armagh centre back after great work by Keith Doyle, Smith held his nerve and directed his penalty to the corner of the net just short of the midway mark.
Armagh became more desperate as the game wore on, as they struggled to grab the goal they needed to realistically get back into the game.
Andrew Murnin and Rory Grugan (free) did pull late scores back for the Orchard County, but it was to be Roscommon’s day
The home side happily bided their time with the insurance points eventually coming from substitute Daire Cregg and O’Carroll. Conor Cox was also denied by a superb save from Ethan Rafferty as Davy Burke’s men held on for another famous victory to stay top of the table.
Scorers for Roscommon: Enda Smith 1-1 (1-0 penalty), Diarmuid Murtagh 0-3 (0-2f), Conor Daly 0-2, Ben O’Carroll 0-2, Ciarán Lennon 0-1, Robbie Dolan 0-1, Ciaráin Murtagh 0-1 (0-1f), Daire Cregg 0-1.
Scorers for Armagh: Jason Duffy 0-4, Rian O’Neill 0-4 (0-1 ’45, 0-1f), Rory Grugan 0-2 (0-2f), Barry McCambridge 0-1, Andrew Murnin 0-1
Roscommon: Conor Carroll; Conor Hussey, Conor Daly, David Murray; Dylan Ruane, Brian Stack, Niall Daly; Tadhg O’Rourke, Keith Doyle; Robbie Dolan, Diarmuid Murtagh, Ciarán Lennon, Ciaráin Murtagh, Ben O’Carroll, Enda Smith.
Subs: Colin Walsh for Murray h-t, Richard Hughes for Hussey 46, Daire Cregg for Diarmuid Murtagh 54, Conor Cox for Ciaráin Murtagh 65, Donie Smith for Lennon 70.
Armagh: Ethan Rafferty; Aaron McKay, Aidan Forker, Paddy Burns; Conor O’Neill, Barry McCambridge, Jarly Óg Burns; Ciaran Mackin, Stefan Campbell; Jemar Hall, Rory Grugan, Tiernan Kelly; Rian O’Neill, Andrew Murnin, Jason Duffy.
Subs: Conor Turbitt for Mackin h-t, Callum Cumiskey for Kelly 55, Ross McQuillan for O’Neill 62, Justin Kieran for Hall 62, Niall Grimley for Duffy 69.
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).