Murtagh helps Roscommon pass tricky test
Roscommon 1-14 London 0-10: Connacht SFC
Relieved to have survived a tricky test at Ruislip, Roscommon manager John Evans' focus has immediately switched to a Connacht semi-final clash with Sligo at Markievicz Park.
That June 20 clash in the north-west will be a defining one according to Evans, who is adamant his particularly promising Roscommon side will receive a stern examination.
"We won't be red-hot favourites going in against Sligo," Evans replied when asked about the impending challenge against Niall Carew's side. "Absolutely not. It is a 50-50 game. It will be a tough game. In actual fact I will say that Markievicz Park will be a real tough one for us to get out of."
Evans was satisfied that Roscommon 'did enough' to overcome a spirited London outfit, who were once again inspired by Lorcan Mulvey's defiance.
With Enda Smith excelling in the first half, Roscommon led by 0-11 to 0-5 at the break. Then three minutes after the restart Ciaran Murtagh pounced for an opportunistic goal.
That gave Roscommon sufficient breathing space to close out the deal.
"We came to do a job and we did," Evans said. "I want to talk about London and I think that they deserve a lot of credit. They kept going and you could see that they are still very enthusiastic under Paul Coggins.
"He kept at them. They kept trying and trying and trying. They kept us to 15 scores and they scored 10 themselves. They can be very proud of their game.
"On our own side certainly coming over here it is more or less a gala occasion more than anything else. It was the first round of the championship for us. It was a run-out and there were some very good passages of play.
" Coggins was 'proud' of his gutsy London players too. "I felt it was a very good performance. The effort and energy and discipline was there. We were given no chance whatsoever. We weren't even a banana skin. It should have been a lot closer. We missed our chances.
"I think conceding 15 scores against Roscommon isn't the end of the world. Defensively, we did well, but we just didn't score enough. We got into double figures, but we didn't score enough. It is over now. The lads gave their best, we will look to improve.
" That is precisely what Roscommon will be trying to do too. London crafted opportunities during the match, the problem was their poor conversion rate.
"We created so many chances," London chief Coggins reflected about the 15 wides the Exiles registered. "We had a big wind there, maybe nerves played a part. Unfortunately, you cannot control that too much. It was a big amount of wides to have, but it shows how much of the ball we had.
" Evans, who has turned Roscommon into a serious team, was content to post a win at Ruislip.
"We eased up a bit after the goal. We only got a few more scores after. We were just doing enough, that was about it. We have Sligo now, it will be a different ball game. We are focused on the Connacht Championship from here on in.
" Roscommon's summer journey has commenced. It should be an adventure worth watching.
Scorers - Roscommon: C Murtagh 1-2, E Smith 0-4, C Shine 0-2, D Murtagh 0-2 (1f), D Shine 0-2 (2fs) U Harney 0-1, I Kilbride 0-1. London: L Mulvey 0-8 (5fs), A O'Hara 0-1, A Moyles 0-1 (f).
Roscommon - D O'Malley 7; S McDermott 8, N Carty 6, N Collins 6; D Ward 6, N Daly 7, C Cafferkey 6; I Kilbride 8, C Shine 8; E Smith 8, D Shine 7, C Murtagh 8; D Murtagh 6, S Kilbride 6, C Cregg 6. Subs: R Stack 6 for Ward (40), C Connolly 6 for S Kilbride (48), U Harney 7 for E Smith (48), D Smith 6 for D Murtagh (52), T Featherston 6 for Carty (55), R Daly 6 for C Murtagh (60).
London - D Traynor 8; B Collins 8, P Butler 7, D McGreevy 7; D McCarthy 6, C Carty 6, S Curran 6; M Gottsche 7, M Carroll 6; S Conroy 6, C Og Greene 7, J Moran 6; A O'Hara 7, L Mulvey 8, A Moyles 6. Subs: P O'Shea 7 for Greene (BC, 22), P McGoldrick 6 for Moyles (44), M Walsh 7 for Moran (46), A Carr 6 for Carroll (54), S Devine 6 for McCarthy (55), S Buckley for Conroy (69).
Ref - E Kinsella (Laois)