Friday 24 May 2019

Cunningham demands 'leadership' and desire in bid to avoid drop

Galway 1-17 Roscommon 1-10

Roscommon manager Anthony Cunningham. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Roscommon manager Anthony Cunningham. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Roscommon manager Anthony Cunningham called on his leaders to drive them to victory over Kerry next week as they bid to avoid a second relegation from Division 1 in three seasons.

Galway were dominant for the most part in this Pearse Stadium clash and will reach the League final if they win in Tyrone next weekend, but Cunningham desperately needs his side to be at their peak next Sunday.

Liam Boyle of Galway in action against David Murray of Roscommon. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Liam Boyle of Galway in action against David Murray of Roscommon. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Even a win won't guarantee a slot in the top flight for Roscommon, with Monaghan a point clear ahead of their clash with Mayo, but their manager want his troops to keep their side of the bargain.

"(We still have) a massive chance. It may be out of our hands but we have got to win," said Cunningham.

"Irrespective of what anyone else does, we want a huge performance. We want to get back to the levels we saw for 50 minutes against Dublin, what we saw in the Tyrone match and the Monaghan match.

"Guys knows that they can get to that level, but the big question is can we produce that, in the Hyde, when it matters most. That's a question of leadership, and guys having the will to go on and prove that. Backs to the wall, let's see how we respond."

Gary O'Donnell of Galway in action against Aonghus Lyons of Roscommon. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Gary O'Donnell of Galway in action against Aonghus Lyons of Roscommon. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

After a slow start to the season Galway are leading the hunt to return to the League final after this win, but they face a trip to Tyrone where defeat could see the home side reach the final instead.

If Mayo and Galway both win their games, the Tribesmen will progress by virtue of their head to head result, but Walsh was just relieved to be in Division 1 again next season.

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"We weren't safe before today so we needed to go out and have a performance regardless of the situation of the League," said manager Kevin Walsh.

"Since the start of the year we wanted to stay in Division 1 and we've achieved that now. We've another game to go we'll see what happens.

"We've achieved our goal now, and with injuries and club commitments it's good to be on eight points."

Played in stormy conditions, Galway made the most of the wind to lead 1-11 to 0-7 at half-time.

Danny Cummins fired the key goal a minute from the break, and Shane Walsh and Antaine Ó Laoí were instrumental in building that lead.

Stutter

At the other end Roscommon caused infrequent problems, but Conor Cox impressed. He finished with 1-4, although his penalty ten minutes after the break, awarded for a foot-block, only caused Galway to stutter briefly.

Galway's back line hardly gave Roscommon a sniff, with Sean Andy Ó Ceallaigh and David Wynne in top form, and Cunningham was left to rue his side's frailties as they plot to upset Kerry in a bid to avoid the drop.

"Galway are a very defensive team so space was at a minimum. For us, it's really trying to get better than that," said Cunningham.

"You can't afford to go 23 minutes without a point. Having said that, we did create some chances in the second half, but it wasn't at the level we wanted it."

Scorers - Galway: D Cummins 1-2, S Walsh (3fs), A O'Laoi (2fs) 0-4 each, G O'Donnell 0-2, J Daly, G Bradshaw, C Duggan, C D'Arcy, M Daly 0-1 each. Roscommon: C Cox 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-2fs), D Smith (f), C Lavin ('45'), C Daly, E Smith, C Cregg, T O'Rourke 0-1 each.

Galway - R Lavelle; E Kerin, S Ó Cellaigh, D Wynne; G O'Donnell, J Daly, G Bradshaw; T Flynn, C Duggan; P Cooke, S Walsh, J Heaney; D Cummins, M Daly, A Ó Laoí. Subs: S Kelly for O'Donnell 58, F O'Laoi for Cummins 68, P Cunningham for Walsh 70, C D'Arcy for Flynn 72.

Roscommon - C Lavin; D Murray, C Daly, G Patterson; C Devaney, N Daly, R Daly; T O'Rourke, S Killoran; N Kilroy, C Cregg, E Smith; C Lennon, C Cox, D Smith. Subs: U Harney for E Smith (h-t), S Mullooly for R Daly (h-t), A Lyons for D Smith (51), C Compton for Cregg (56), H D'Arcy for Kilroy (63).

Ref - C Lane (Cork)

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