Wednesday 20 September 2017

Kilbride sparks Roscommon revival as O'Rourke calls time

Roscommon 1-11 Armagh 1-9
All-ireland sfc qualifier

Martin Keane

Des Newton hailed Roscommon's never-say-die attitude as his charges produced a brilliant second half to get the better of warm pre-match favourites Armagh in Dr Hyde Park.

The home side looked destined to bow out of the championship when Armagh, inspired by Jamie Clarke, held a 1-7 to 0-5 interval advantage. Amazingly, Paddy O'Rourke's side wouldn't score again until the 26th minute of the second half as Roscommon's opening half lethargy evaporated and was replaced by a resilience that few could have foreseen.

Senan Kilbride's goal 23 seconds into the new period set the tone as Roscommon took over completely, inspired by the magnificent Cathal Cregg, Donal Shine, Sean McDermott and Niall Carty.

By the time substitute Tony Kernan accounted for Armagh's first score of the half, Roscommon's resurgence had yielded an unanswered 1-5. It could have been more but eight second-half wides threatened to undermine their bid.

Armagh were left reeling by Roscommon's fresh momentum and sadly missed the injured Aaron Kernan's leadership. Clarke's threat was nullified and Armagh's bubble was burst as a result.

It was all so different during the opening half. Roscommon didn't score from play while Armagh's diagonal passes towards Clarke confused the home side's defence.

Roscommon were 0-2 to 0-1 up courtesy of frees from Kilbride and Shine when Clarke goaled emphatically in the eighth minute, collecting Gavin McPartland's delivery and blasting to the net.

There was no stopping the Crossmaglen ace and three more points from play alongside efforts from Aidan Forker (a free), Johnny Hanratty and Anto Duffy pushed the Orchard County five points to the good at the break.

Kilbride's goal early in the second half gave the Rossies belief, and from being second best in the physical exchanges they now relished the battle. Cathal Shine tagged on his side's first point from play in the 40th minute before two Shine frees brought the sides level. All the momentum was with the home side and points from Shine and Karol Mannion pushed Des Newton's men two points in front.

Kernan stopped the rot but Cathal Cregg completed the turnaround a minute from time.

Afterwards, Paddy O'Rourke informed the county board that he wouldn't be seeking another term.

"The board would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Paddy who has been a true gentleman, a pleasure to work with and for the level of commitment he showed to Armagh, which often went well beyond the call of duty," read an Armagh GAA statement.

SCORERS -- Roscommon: D Shine 0-7 (6f), S Kilbride 1-1 (1f), C Shine, K Mannion, C Cregg 0-1 each. Armagh: J Clarke 1-3, A Forker (2f), T Kernan 0-2 each, J Hanratty, A Duffy 0-1 each.

ROSCOMMON -- G Claffey 6; S McDermott 7, N Carty 8, S Purcell 7; N Collins 6, P Domican 7, I Kilbride 6; C Shine 6, K Mannion 6; N Kilroy 5, C Cregg 9, N Daly 6; S Kilbride 7, C Compton 6, D Shine 7. Subs: G Heneghan 7 for Kilroy (h-t), M Finneran 7 for C Shine (43), D Ward 7 for Collins (55), D McDermott 5for Compton (62), J Rogers 5for Cregg (67).

ARMAGH -- P McEvoy 6; A Mallon 6, B Donaghy 6, D McKenna 6; F Moriarty 7, C McKeever 6, P Duffy5; J Hanratty 6, K Toner 5; A Forker6, K Dyas 6, A Duffy 6; J Clarke 8, C Rafferty 7, G McPartland 5. Subs: M Mackin 5 for Forker (43), C Vernon 5 for McPartland (55), T Kernan 5 for Dyas (60), J Lavery 5 for McKenna (60), J Kingham 5 for Duffy (65).

REF -- M Deegan (Laois)

Irish Independent

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