Connacht Senior Football Championship Semi-Final
Galway 1-13 Roscommon 1-9
By Cian O’Connell at Dr Hyde Park
This was all about Galway finding a way. Dominant in the opening period Galway had sufficient craft to adequately deal with a burst of Roscommon passion after the restart.
Roscommon thundered into the match in the third quarter, but with Damien Comer providing a potent threat, Galway responded to book a Connacht SFC Final date with Sligo in Castlebar on May 7.
Prompted by a hat-trick of sweet Comer first half points, Galway retreated at the interval armed with a 0-7 to 0-3 advantage.
The home team had failed to land a score from play and Galway were dictating the terms of engagement.
Dylan McHugh, Seán Kelly, and Cathal Sweeney dashed forward impressively for Pádraic Joyce’s outfit.
Level at 0-3 each following 18 minutes Galway then reeled off four points on the spin courtesy of Sweeney, Comer (2), and the effective John Maher.
Under duress Roscommon summoned a brave reply. Ian Burke fisted Galway five clear in the 36th minute, but Roscommon were beginning to generate momentum and a bit of belief.
Ciaráin Murtagh, Conor Daly, and substitute Cian McKeon landed points trimming the gap to two before Roscommon planted a 41st minute goal.
Ben O’Carroll and Enda Smith crafted an opportunity for Ciaráin Murtagh, who converted expertly.
Suddenly the locals in the 16, 917 crowd were in full voice. Roscommon were ahead, but Galway, admirably, stayed composed.
Matthew Tierney and Ciaráin Murtagh traded scores before Galway embarked on a match winning spree of 1-3 without reply.
Tierney and Maher registered points and Comer blasted a 53rd minute major.
The Annaghdown clubman reacted smartly to gather possession after a McHugh effort struck the post.
Comer made the Roscommon net dance and Shane Walsh added a pointed free to steer Galway 1-12 to 1-7 in front.
Roscommon reduced the deficit as McKeon and Ciaráin Murtagh raised white flags, but Galway survived.
Fittingly Comer, who moments earlier had executed a brave diving block on Daire Cregg, sealed the deal with the insurance score.
Scorers for Galway: Damien Comer 1-4, John Maher, Matthew Tierney (1m), and Shane Walsh 0-2, Cathal Sweeney, Ian Burke, and Johnny Heaney 0-1 each.
Scorers for Roscommon: Ciaráin Murtagh 1-6 (3fs), Cian McKeon 0-2, Conor Daly 0-1.
Galway: Bernard Power; Johnny McGrath, Seán Kelly, Jack Glynn; Cathal Sweeney, John Daly, Dylan McHugh; Paul Conroy, John Maher; Matthew Tierney, Peter Cooke, Johnny Heaney; Ian Burke, Damien Comer, Shane Walsh.
Subs: Rob Finnerty for Heaney (61), Cillian McDaid for Cooke (67), Daniel O’Flaherty for Sweeney (70+3), Dessie Conneely for Burke (70+3).
Roscommon: Conor Carroll; Brian Stack, Conor Daly, David Murray; Niall Daly, Conor Hussey, Eoin McCormack; Enda Smith, Keith Doyle; Dylan Ruane, Ciaráin Murtagh, Ciarán Lennon; Ben O’Carroll, Diarmuid Murtagh, Donie Smith.
Subs: Cian McKeon for D Smith (HT), Conor Cox for D Murtagh (47), Cian Connolly for O’Carroll (60), Richard Hughes for N Daly (61), Daire Cregg for Ruane (66).
Referee: David Gough (Meath).