Shine adds polish for Roscommon
Roscommon came away from Ruislip with the right result, if not the right performance as they spurned a host of chances against London yesterday.
Although Fergal O'Donnell's men ran out comfortable eight-point winners, they could have won by double that margin. As well as hitting 10 wides, they struck the goal frame on five occasions. they also went scoreless for two 12-minute periods in the second half.
Roscommon's saving grace was an emphatic end to the first half where they hit six points without reply to head into the dressing rooms 0-8 to 0-2 up and knowing the game was in the bag.
But the visitors then took their foot off the gas in the second half, and had London's Derek Hayden not blasted his 46th-minute penalty against the post, Roscommon could have endured a nervy finish.
"We were very poor in the second half," said O'Donnell. "I thought we did well to go in six points up at half-time, despite playing against the breeze, but the second was very bad.
"To play against a Division 4 team and concede scores like we did was very disappointing. We gifted London goal chances and if they had taken them, it would have been a completely different story. At times our defence was non-existent."
Roscommon will be lifted by the performance of full-forward Donal Shine, who hit nine points. He did manage to fluff a number of opportunities, including two which hit the post early on, but he was easily Roscommon's most threatening forward.
The half-forward line dropped deep into midfield, allowing space for Shine to manoeuvre, and it worked a treat. If they can find the end product against Leitrim, a Connacht final awaits them.
There was genuine belief among London followers that this could be the year they caused a major shock, and that belief remained -- albeit shakily -- with eight minutes left in the first half.
Hayden forced a stunning save from Roscommon goalkeeper Geoffrey Claffey on nine minutes, but the Exiles didn't find any sort of momentum until the 27th minute, when two sublime points inside a minute from Paul Geraghty and Hayden -- the former's score a free from halfway, the latter's coming from a sideline ball -- cancelled out Shine's early brace.
But then London crumbled. Second best in terms of midfield dominance and breaking ball, they had no answer to a late Roscommon onslaught.
Five minutes of injury-time was added following an early injury to Mark Carroll which saw him substituted after three minutes, and Roscommon ruthlessly punished the home side's indiscipline and slack marking with four quickfire points. London had a gargantuan task in front of them, but even when Hayden was hauled down in the area, the Carlow native could only hit Claffey's right post from the spotkick.
"I think we had them rattled after 25 minutes. We had them in a place that they didn't want to be, but unfortunately we didn't kick on," said London manager Noel Dunning.
Scorers -- Roscommon: D Shine 0-9 (7f); G Heneghan 0-2; K Mannion, C Dineen, J Dunning 0-1 each. London: S McVeigh
0-2; P Geraghty (f), D Hayden, E O'Neill (f), N Egan 0-1 each.
Roscommon - G Claffey 7; S McDermott 7, P Domican 6, S Ormsby 8; S Purcell 7, C Dineen 7, M O'Carroll 6; M Finneran 7, K Mannion 7; D Keenan 6, P Garvey 7, C Cregg 7; J Rogers 6, D Shine 8, G Heneghan 7. Subs: C Garvey 6 for O'Carroll (3 mins); K Higgins 6 for Heneghan (45-50 blood); J Dunning 7 for Finneran (62); D O'Gara 6 for Rogers 65; K Higgins 6 for Heneghan (68).
London -- E Byrne 6; D Conlon 7, E O Cuiv 7, B Comer 6; J Niblock 6, C Beirne (capt, 7), N Tuohy 7; P Geraghty 6, S McVeigh 6; B Smyth 6, D Hayden 7, C McCallion 6; K Phair 6, D Horan 7, E O'Neill 6. Subs: K O'Leary 6 for Beirne, R Ormsby 6 for Smyth (both h-t); N Egan 6 for Phair (47); C Eastwood 6 for McCallion 65; J Callery 6 for Ormsby (66).
Ref -- C Reilly (Meath).