Roscommon chalked up their first victory in Division Two by comfortably keeping Clare at bay in Dr. Hyde Park.
nthony Cunningham’s side had blown two six-point leads in their previous couple of games. Ironically, they enjoyed a similar advantage at half time here, having played with the aid of a strong wind in the opening half and keeping Clare scoreless in the process. But they showed far more composure to keep their noses in front, helped by substitute Noel Gately’s goal deep into injury time.
Clare should have been on a high after seeing off Kildare a week earlier, but they failed to score until the 50th minute, with three of their miserly four-point tally coming in second-half injury time.
Roscommon were reduced to 14 men after 23 minutes when Niall Daly picked up two yellow cards in quick succession. By that stage they were four points to the good, thanks to points by the excellent Brian Stack, Cathal Cregg and Cian McKeon (a free) and Ciarán Lennon.
Goalkeeper Colm Lavin had done brilliantly to intercept Ciarán Russell’s pass which was destined for the unmarked Keelan Sexton, and Roscommon finished out the half with points from McKeon (free) and Cregg.
Clare needed a quick start to the second half, but it never came as Roscommon were content to hold possession before biding their time to create an opportunity. A foul on Lennon allowed McKeon register this third point of the afternoon before David Tubridy finally got Clare off the mark with a long-range free in the 45th minute.
Much of the half was played at a pedestrian pace — Roscommon playing “keep ball” and Clare struggling to get it off them.
Enda Smith kicked a point on the run to leave his side 0-7 to 0-1 ahead after 67 minutes.
Then Clare enjoyed a mini-revival with frees from Tubridy and captain Eoin Cleary before substitute Jack Morrissey flicked Tubridy’s ’45 over the crossbar.
However, the Bannermen’s cause wasn’t helped when midfielder Russell was shown a straight red card, having just returned from a ten-minute sabbatical as a result of a black card.
Roscommon went down the field and Gately managed to bundle the ball over the line to seal a comfortable afternoon at the office for Anthony Cunningham’s charges.
Scorers – Roscommon: C McKeon 0-3 (3f), N Gately 1-0, C Cregg 0-2, B Stack, E Smith, C Lennon 0-1 each. Clare: D Tubridy 0-2 (2f), E Cleary (1f), J Morrissey 0-1 each
ROSCOMMON - C Lavin 7; D Murray 7, B Stack 8, M Richardson 6; N Daly 5, C Daly 6, R Hughes 6; T O’Rourke 5, E Smith 8; N Kilroy 6, C McKeon 6, H Darcy 7; D Smith 5, C Lennon 6, C Cregg 7. Subs: N Gately 6 for D Smith (35), E Nolan 6 for O’Rourke (h-t), F Cregg 5 for C Cregg (62), C Hussey 5 for Hughes (69).
CLARE - S Ryan 6; G Kelly 6, C Brennan 6, K Harnett 6; D Ryan 6, P Lillis 7, C O’Dea 6; C Russell 5, C O’Connor 6; S Collins 6, D Tubridy 7, D Coughlan 6; G O’Brien 6, E Cleary 6, K Sexton 6. Subs used: J Morrissey 6 for O’Brien (49), A Sweeney 5 for Ryan (55), D Masterson 5 for O’Connor (61), E McMahon 5 for Sexton (65).
REF - D O’Mahoney (Tipperary).