Roscommon made amends for last year’s Connacht SFC final defeat to Galway with a thumping nine-point victory over the Tribesmen at Pearse Stadium.
Kevin McStay’s team were primed for a battle, seizing the initiative early on, to frustrate Galway, who were soundly beaten by the snappy underdogs, who were relegated to Division 2 earlier this year.
“There is a lot of fellas in our dressing room that saw it coming,” said Roscommon manager McStay.
“I am really happy but I am not going to make more of it than it is. I would think Galway were possibly looking at other stuff. We will see them again, they will come again. It will hurt them but Galway are going in the right direction.
“To beat Galway was a great thing for the county. We don’t beat Galway and Mayo too often. To be rated you have to be beating the Galways, the Mayos for us.
“This gives us a lot of confidence. If you want to be want to be rated in the country you have to beat Dublin or Mayo or Kerry. That’s the way it is.
“Here in Connacht for us to be taking as serious contenders were have to beat Mayo or Galway. That could happen yet. We could be playing Mayo yet.”
Tone and tempo
Roscommon struck 1-6 inside 14 minutes setting the tone and tempo. Cian Connolly plundered the goal following a delicious pass from Diarmuid Murtagh – Connolly having the skill to roll a confident and classy finish into the bottom corner
The Murtagh brothers had already produced over a flurry of points with Galway simply unable to cope amidst the whirlwind. Roscommon headed for their dressing room at half-time with a commanding 1-7 to 0-3 advantage.
The decisive blow was delivered in the 42nd minute when Brian Stack took centre stage. Once more Roscommon caught a Galway kickout with Stack bursting clear to rattle the net with an assured finish.
Suddenly Roscommon led by nine, but it sparked a mini revival from Kevin Walsh’s charges, who kicked six in a row to narrow the gap. Paul Conroy (2), Shane Walsh (2), Michael Daly, and Gary O’Donnell all found the range as the gap was cut to 2-8 to 0-11 with 20 minutes remaining.
But showing a level of maturity, McStay’s outfit would restrict Galway to only one further score in the closing stages, while keeping their own tally ticking over nicely to ensure the JJ Nestor Cup was heading to Roscommon.
Singling out his side’s failing, Galway manager Kevin Walsh, said: “Not winning enough ball around the middle area.
“We were dominated completely there and wouldn’t have been expecting that. But in fairness Roscommon brought everything they had to the table and our boys didn’t.”
Scorers for Roscommon: Diarmuid Murtagh 0-5 (3fs), Cian Connolly 1-1, Conor Devaney and Ciarain Murtagh (2fs) 0-3 each, Brian Stack 1-0, Donie Smith 0-2 (1f).
Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-6 (4fs), Damien Comer and Paul Conroy (1f) 0-2 each, Michael Daly and Gary O’Donnell 0-1 each.
ROSCOMMON: Colm Lavin; David Murray, John McManus, Niall McInerney; Seanie McDermott, Sean Mullooly, Conor Devaney; Tadhg O’Rourke, Enda Smith; Fintan Cregg, Niall Kilroy, Brian Stack; Cian Connolly, Diarmuid Murtagh, Ciarain Murtagh.
Subs: Ian Kilbride for Fintan Cregg (48), Donie Smith for Diarmuid Murtagh (52), Colin Compton for Ciarain Murtagh (65), Shane Killoran for Brian Stack (70+5).
GALWAY: Ruairi Lavelle; Cathal Sweeney, Declan Kyne, Eoghan Kerin; Gary O’Donnell, Gareth Bradshaw, Liam Silke; Fiontan O’Curraoin, Paul Conroy; Tom Flynn, Eamonn Brannigan, Johnny Heaney; Michael Daly, Damien Comer, Shane Walsh.
Subs: Gary Sice for Johnny Heaney (HT), Danny Cummins for Eamonn Brannigan (HT), Micheal Lundy for Tom Flynn (60), David Wynne for Paul Conroy (70+4, BC).