Juniors miss extra gear
ROSCOMMON claimed the Connacht Junior football title with a deserved win over Mayo in a disappointing final at Ballyhaunis on Sunday last.
The strong wind that blew into the town goal certainly affected the standard in a game that never really took off. Mayo can have little complaints about the eventual outcome as they had every chance of taking the title but woeful inaccuracy was to prove their downfall, particularly during the first half of extra-time when they kicked six wides during that ten minute spell after totally dominating the play.
Other factors also contributed to their downfall such as overplaying the ball and unnecessarily taking it into the tackle when the direct path would have been far more beneficial.
Roscommon were in a position to line out with quite a few of the subs of their senior panel and this was a help, especially in tight situations when badly needed scores were required. Mayo played with the aid of the strong wind in the first half but this seemed more of a hindrance than a help as Roscommon looked far more potent in attack, especially early in the half.
Ronan Cox and Paul Moran, in particular, looked dangerous every time they gained possession with Gerard Mocklair tough and tenacious at the back. Mayo’s play in contrast was ponderous and fragmented with little cohesion.
Despite enjoying a major portion of the play early on, it took Mayo ten minutes before Enda McManamon opened their account with a pointed free. Two minutes later Roscommon’s Paul Moran evened matters, also with a point from a free.
During the next ten minutes Mayo gained a foothold on the game and this was reflected on the scoreboard with Enda McManamon pointing from play after Ronan McNamara found him with a kicked pass. Paul Doherty – who was lively throughout – added another with Richie Feeney hitting a great point from distance after nineteen minutes.
However, Roscommon were never far off the pace and Seamus Heneghan left two points between the teams when he pointed after a good build-up. The next score was probably the best constructed of the entire game and also the most decisive. It involved Paul and John Moran with the latter finding the inrushing Rory O’Connor who duly found the net.
All of a sudden Mayo’s good work was wiped out; Roscommon were in the lead with the aid of the strong breeze to come in the second half.
Mayo though stormed up the field and a fine block from a determined Mayo attack by Roscommon corner back Shane Gilleran prevented a certain goal. Paul Doherty (pictured) though left the sides level at half-time when he pointed after a long delivery from Ronan McNamara.Ironically, Mayo produced their best football when playing into the wind in the second half. They also enjoyed a decided pull at midfield with Ronan McNamara and Richie Feeney playing their best football of the eighty minutes. The half also produced the best football of the entire game as the play ebbed and flowed in either direction. After Seamus Heneghan had put Roscommon a point to the good two minutes into the half with a point from play Mayo had three in a row from Enda McManamon, all frees, to give them a two point cushion.
Seamus Callery and Brian Goode added two Roscommon points from play, but Ronan McNamara, who was at his best during this spell, kept Mayo one ahead. He also failed narrowly with two frees from distance. It looked as if Mayo would hold out for the win as Seamus Heneghan missed a kickable free for Roscommon.
The referee, for some reason better known to himself, allowed play to continue for 35 minutes in all, at the end of which Seamus Heneghan hit an equalising point from play.
As documented earlier Mayo displayed gross inaccuracy, particularly in the first half of extra-time, after which they led by a single point. Roscommon, in contrast, hit four from Seamus Heneghan (2), Ronan Cox and Paul Moran. Mayo’s lone reply came from the boot of Paul Doherty who pointed from play.
Roscommon deserved their win, if only for the greater accuracy they displayed, particularly at the end when Mayo had no time to hit back. This was a disappointing performance from Mayo with few players adding to their reputations.
D Moran, S Gilleran, D Donnellan, T Bannon, J Nolan, G Mocklair, N Moran, D McNulty, R O’Connor (1-0), L Murray, R Cox (0-1), J Callery (0-1), S Heneghan (0-5), P Moran (0-2), R O’Donoghue. Subs used: B Goode (0-1) for N Moran; M Killilea for J Callery.
F Ruddy, O Feeney, D O’Dea, D Kilkenny, C Cafferkey, B Prendergast, M Carey, R Feeney (0-1), R McNamara (0-1); A Burke, P Doherty (0-3), B Moran, E.McManamon(0-6), R Hannick, J Prenty. Subs used: P Casey for A Burke; A Howard for R Hannick; C Boyle for D O’Dea (inj); E Tiernan for Carey (inj).
Referee: R McBrien (Leitrim).