Monday 19 March 2018

Toner finishes comeback hopes of wasteful Roscommon

Down 1-14 Roscommon 1-7

Darragh O’Shea, aged 7, practises his hurling skills during the Piarsaigh Na Dromoda Lá na gClubanna celebrations in Dromid, Co Kerry. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / Sportsfile
Darragh O’Shea, aged 7, practises his hurling skills during the Piarsaigh Na Dromoda Lá na gClubanna celebrations in Dromid, Co Kerry. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / Sportsfile newsdesk

Roscommon went into this game as favourites following impressive performances against Derry and Antrim, but they fell away in the second half as Down seized control.

They levelled the scores two minutes into the second period but didn't raise another flag until the 65th minute, when Naos Connaughton's skilful touch belied the conditions and allowed him to fire past Stephen Keith.

That goal gave Roscommon hope, but Danny Toner got on the end of Chris Egan's block to rattle Noel Fallon's net and give the final scoreboard a more realistic look.

The first half was competitive but with both defences on top. Scoring attempts were mostly restricted to long-range efforts and with limited success.

Each team shot six wides but were guilty of many more efforts that fell into the keepers' hands.

Cathal Dolan levelled the game at 0-6 each in the 36th minute but that still left time for Scott Nicholson to snatch the lead point for the Down men at half-time.

Jamie Lawlor levelled in the 37th minute but, incredibly, that was to be Roscommon's final point.

Down were dominant throughout the second half with their half-back line of McGrath, Taggart and Conway the barrier that the Rossies simply could not breach.

Frees from O'Prey (2) and Woods - plus points from Byers, Nicholson, Mageean and Egan - opened up a seven-point lead. Connaughton's goal caused momentary consternation but order was restored with Toner's response.

SCORERS - Down: C O'Prey (0-4; 0-4f), C Mageean (0-2), D Toner (1-0), S Nicholson (0-2), B Byers (0-2), D Hughes, O McManus, C Woods, C Egan (0-1 each). Roscommon: N Connaughton (1-0), Fallon (0-2, 0-1f), J Lawlor (0-2), C Dolan, T Seale (0-1 each)

DOWN - S Keith, S Ennis, P Flynn, J McManus, J McGrath, C Taggart, F Conway, D Toner, C Woods, C Mageean, D Hughes, A O'Prey, B Byers, C O'Prey, O McManus. Subs: S Nicholson for O McManus (H/T), C Egan for Byers, C O'Neill for C O'Prey, J Doran for A O'Prey

Roscommon - N Fallon, I Delaney, P Kellehan, L Kilcline, A Moore, M Kelly, S Curley, J Lawlor, C Dolan, T Seale, T Fetherston, J Fallon, C Egan, J Lawlor, A Murphy. Subs: G Keenan for Seale, C Mulry for Murphy, N Connaughton for Fallon, H Rooney for Egan.

Ref - David Hughes (Carlow)

Quaid cools expectations as Meath test looms

Kildare 1-17 London 0-15

Kildare produced a second-half masterclass to book their place in the Christy Ring Cup semi-finals with a comfortable five-point win over London in Newbridge.

After an open, competitive half it took a Jonathon Byrne point to separate the sides at half-time.

Taking a 1-7 to 0-9 lead, Kildare's opening score came through Mark Delaney. His 15th-minute goal drew the sides level as two Kevin O'Loughlin frees and a Mark O'Dwyer opening score for London saw both sides matched on two occasions during an engaging half.

Three points from Gerry Keegan and two Philip Cocoman scores put Kildare in good stead, however, London corner-forward O'Loughlin kept The Exiles in touch with five first-half points, three of which came from placed balls.

Adding to their tally, half-forward O'Dwyer and Shane O'Donnell would add two points apiece, but opportunities would dry up in the second-half.

With Kildare gaining dominance after the break, the game subsided as a contest.

Needing a goal to enliven their chances, all London could engineer were O'Loughlin frees and a point apiece from O'Dwyer and O'Donnell. Capping another stunning performance, Keegan, scorer of five second-half points, nine in total, closed out the game as London pushed for that elusive goal - yet to no avail due to the exploits of Kildare full-back John Doran.

After the game, Kildare manager Joe Quaid tempered supporters' expectations as his side avoided meeting Antrim in the semi-final, instead they will take on Meath, who Kildare traditionally have had a positive record against.

"It doesn't matter who we meet," he said, " to win, we have to beat both, and losing at any stage will hurt the same."

Dispelling the mirrored route that Kildare took to their 2014 Championship victory, which saw them lose heavily to Kerry in an opening round before winning in the final, Quaid is confident that on a given day, Kildare can match Antrim. However, Meath awaits on May 21.

Scorers - Kildare: G Keegan 0-9 (4f), M Delaney 1-1, P Cocoman 0-2, J Sheridan 0-2, J Byrne 0-2, M Fitzgerald 0-1. London: K O'Loughlin 0-7 (6f), M O'Dwyer 0-3, S O'Donnell 0-3; M Duggan and C Hickey 0-1 each.

Kildare: P Dermody; R Bergin, J Doran, C Gordon; S Gainey, M Moloney, M Grace; M Fitzgerald, N O'Muineachain; P Cocoman, P Divilly, R Casey; M Delaney, G Keegan, J Byrne. Subs: B Byrne for Casey (h-t), L Quinn for Gainey (46), J Sheridan for Cocoman (60), D Flaherty for Delaney (68).

London: E Kelly; C Hickey, L Guale, C McAlindan; G Mahon, B Regan, O Gately; T Healy, D Gruen; M O'Dwyer, K Reid, T Lawrence; D Roberts, M Duggan, K O'Loughlin. Subs: S O'Donnell for Roberts (11), M Murphy for Reid (49), P Phelan for Gruen (58m): N O'Donnell for Healy (61m).

Ref - C McAllister (Cork)

Irish Independent

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