McStay hails 'mighty' effort as Rossies seal promotion
Roscommon 0-17 Cork 1-11
Kevin McStay hailed his "mighty" group of players as Roscommon returned to Division 1 at the first time of asking at Dr Hyde Park.
The home side took care of their own business with a deserved victory over a Cork side that produced a performance described by their manager Ronan McCarthy as "the best" of their campaign.
It was a hard-earned triumph for the Connacht champions, who lost their way after a bright start. However, just as they did against Cavan a week earlier, they finished strongly to secure promotion.
"We are back in Division 1. You couldn't be picky about how the boys went after it," said McStay.
"You'll have ups and downs when you have a young team, but the character they showed - they are a mighty gang really, the way they keep ploughing back. It shows a lot of resilience, but I just wish we weren't leaving ourselves with so much to do with 15 minutes to go."
Roscommon were coasting when they surged into a 0-7 to 0-2 lead after 16 minutes. A couple of Colm O'Neill placed balls accounted for the visitors' scores, while Donie Smith (2), Diarmuid Murtagh (2), Fergal Lennon and Ciaráin Murtagh found their range.
However, the game's momentum shifted dramatically once Peter Kelleher grabbed possession in front of Fergal Lennon and dispatched the ball clinically to the corner in the 19th minute.
Cork's improvement continued when Colm O'Neill landed a brace of frees, but Roscommon were level at the break thanks to a Ciaráin Murtagh free, 0-9 to 1-6.
Early points from Ciarán Lennon and Conor Daly hinted that Roscommon, now facing a strong wind, had weathered the storm, but points from Matthew Taylor, substitute Michael Hurley and Mark Collins edged Cork in front, 1-10 to 0-12, by the 54th minute.
Roscommon's impact off the bench was pronounced for the second week in succession as Niall Daly and Cathal Cregg found the target. A Diarmuid Murtagh free and a fine point from play by the same player sparked Roscommon's final promotion push that yielded four points in three minutes.
Mark Collins' third point left matters in the melting pot once more, but Diarmuid Murtagh's late free got Roscommon over the line.
Scorers - Roscommon: D Murtagh 0-5 (3f), C Murtagh (2f), C Lennon, D Smith 0-3 each, C Daly, N Daly, C Cregg 0-1 each. Cork: C O'Neill 0-5 (3f, 1 '45), M Collins 0-3, P Kelleher 1-0, J O'Rourke, M Taylor, M Hurley 0-1 each.
Roscommon - C Lavin 6; D Murray 6, F Lennon 6, P Domican 7; C Daly 7, U Harney 8, B Stack 7; T O'Rourke 6, C Compton 6; C Murtagh 6, N Kilroy 7, C Devaney 6; D Smith 6, C Lennon 7, D Murtagh 6. Subs: N Daly 6 for Murray (43), E Smith 6 for D Smith (46), C Cregg 6 for O'Rourke (52), S McDermott 5 for Devaney (66), F Cregg 5 for C Lennon (67), I Kilbride 5 for C Daly (70).
Cork - R Price 6; K Crowley 6, J O'Sullivan 6, K Flahive 6; M Taylor 6, S Wilson 6, T Clancy 6; I Maguire 7, C O'Hanlon 6; R O'Toole 6, M Collins 7, J O'Rourke 7; C O'Neill 7, P Kelleher 6, S Sherlock 6. Subs: M Hurley 6 for Sherlock (47), D Quinn 5 for T Clancy (50), P Clancy 5 for Taylor (47), D O'Connor 5 for Kelleher (58), C Vaughan 5 for Maguire (61), D O'Callaghan 5 for O'Toole (64).
Ref - P Hughes (Armagh).