Goals galore in Croke Park as Roscommon win Division Two title after thriller
Roscommon 4-16 Cavan 4-12
After a bizarre game that saw a second half sub finish as top scorer and the sides share eight goals between them, Kevin McStay's Roscommon were crowned NFL division two league champions for the second time in four seasons.
Roscommon veteran Cathal Cregg hit 2-1, all of which came in the final ten minutes, to finish top of the scoring charts and finally settle a hugely entertaining game of football which the Rossies deserved to win on the balance of the 70 plus minutes of action.
The first hint the game would be so open came after four minutes when Conor Bradley ghosted away from Ultan Harney to finish smartly under James Featherstone for the match's opening score on four minutes.
Cavan would grab their second goal when Martin Reilly hammered home a penalty after Dara McVeety was fouled to put his side 2-1 to 0-1 up after nine minutes, a dream start considering they were playing against the considerable breeze blowing from the Hill end.
Roscommon soon settled. With Donie Smith and Diarmuid Murtagh in fine point scoring form, they kicked eight scores in a row at one stage to put themselves two points to the good.
However, Cavan would goal again through their superb captain McVeety. Roscommon struck back and kicked three of the last four points of the half with Cavan full back Padraig Faulkner landing his side’s first point from play in injury time. The Connacht men led 0-12 to 3-2 at the break.
The second half was similarly open and this time it was Roscommon’s turn to go goal crazy. Niall Kilroy and David Murray raised green flags to put them five clear. Cavan would hit back with an Enda Flanagan goal to keep the tie alive going into the final quarter.
However, Cregg would have his say late on with his haul of 2-1 finally seeing Roscommon crowned champions ahead of their Connacht championship opener against either New York.
SCORERS - Roscommon: C Cregg 2-1, D Murtagh 0-4 (2f), N Kilroy 1-1, D Smith, C Devaney 0-3 each, D Murray 1-0, E Smith, N McInerney, I Kilbride, C Murtagh (1f) 0-1 each.
Cavan: D McVeety 1-3, S Johnston 0-4 (2f), E Flanagan, C Bradley M Reilly (1-0 pen) 1-0 each, G McKiernan (1f), P Faulkner, C Brady, C O’Reilly (1f), R Galligan (1 ’45) 0-1 each.
Roscommon: J Featherston; P Domican, C Daly, D Murray; F Lennon, U Harney, B Stack; T O’Rourke, C Compton; C Murtagh, N Kilroy, C Devaney; D Smith, C Lennon, D Murtagh SUBS: N McInerney for Daly (HT), E Smith for O’Rourke (48), C Cregg for C Lennon (52), T O’Rourke for Compton (53 BC), N Daly for Stack (61), I Kilbride for F Lennon (67).
Cavan: R Galligan; K Clarke, P Faulkner, J McLoughlin; M Reilly, E Flanagan, O Kiernan; G McKiernan, B Magee; C Mackey, C Bradley, C Brady; C O’Reilly, D McVeety, A Cole SUBS: : N Murray for Magee (29), S Johnston for O’Reilly, N Clerkin for McLoughlin (both HT), S Murray for Flanagan, C Madden for Bradley (both 52), C Moynagh for McVeety (63),
Referee: S Hurson (Tyrone).