Saturday 24 March 2018

Shine proves minnows have much to offer

Eugene McGee

Eugene McGee

Plenty of teams are stuck in the 'poor man's championship', with little or no hope of winning even a provincial title.

They get very little consideration from the power-brokers of the GAA yet, in their own way, they are just as important as the Kerrys, Tyrones, or even Dublins.

These are the counties that show even greater motivation because they do as much training as the 'big boys' with little prospect of success.

Yesterday, two Division 4 teams, Roscommon and Leitrim, faced each other in their provincial championship. There was a bit extra bite because it was a semi-final, so one side was going to reach the Connacht final.

The rewards for winning a big championship match are significant and watching Donie Shine (pictured) after the game, surrounded by hordes of children seeking autographs, one can appreciate that weaker counties do have a role to play in the greater scheme of things.

As a contest, this was an exciting and interesting game before a crowd of over 11,000, which was a great attendance in the present climate.

Leitrim dominated the first half but didn't have enough scoring power to cash in. With the wind advantage, they should have been at least four in front, but instead only led by one.

They gave away too many frees -- Shine picking up six points as a result -- and it proved their undoing. One wonders, with all the training county teams do nowadays, why defenders are not better schooled in the art of tackling rather than conceding often silly frees.

The game changed completely after the break, with Roscommon scoring 1-5 from play as opposed to 0-1 in the opening half. On the other hand, Leitrim's forward line failed to score at all from play after the interval.

Shine's 43rd-minute goal gave Roscommon a cushion of four points and even the late arrival of regular, Declan Maxwell, failed to lift Leitrim who only managed two pointed frees in the final 22 minutes.

This is a big victory for Fergal O'Donnell and the inexperienced Roscommon team, which includes five All-Ireland minor winners from 2006.

They can gain from the experience and they will have a home venue if Galway reach the Connacht final rather than Sligo.

Irish Independent

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