An open contest in Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday saw Roscommon deliver a second successive win over Galway as they won their fourth Connacht FBD Football League title.
Trailing by two points, Kevin McStay’s team had one last kick as Niall Daly and Diarmuid Murtagh levelled affairs before the latter struck the winner in the 72nd minute.
Congrats to the Roscommon Senior Footballers on their 2-16 to 3-12 win over Galway in the FBD League Final pic.twitter.com/jslbpmdW85
— Barbara Taylor (@Barbara11817081) February 18, 2018
Galway had a chance to force extra-time only for a late Sean Armstrong free to fall short. But despite seeing their six-game unbeaten run ending, both McStay and Kevin Walsh will be happy with the workout before bigger tests in their respective National Leagues.
It was an experimental set-up from both counties as Walsh made 13 changes from their victory over Mayo with only Johnny Heaney and Barry McHugh starting.
Roscommon also had 12 new players on show but started brightly with Donie Smith, Ross Timothy and the returning Cathal Cregg (2) giving them a 0-4 to 0-0 lead on nine minutes.
Armstrong, Padraic Cunnigham and McHugh reduced arrears but when Roscommon keeper James Featherston made an error on 19 minutes, Frankie Burke reacted quickest for Galway’s first goal making it 1-3 to 0-4.
Well done to our two clubs players playing for @TribesmenGAA in the #FBDfinal in the Hyde Kieran Duggan playing a blinder in midfield and Frankie Burke scoring two stormers of goals it’s half time and 2-4 to Galway 1-6 to Roscommon #gaillimhabu #AnachCuainAbu
— Annaghdown LGFA (@AnnaghdownLGF) February 18, 2018
Cregg and Ciarain Murtagh restored parity but there was no fortune about Galway’s second major. McHugh’s brilliant pass found Burke who got another three-pointer and the defending champions were 2-4 to 1-6 up after Cregg palmed a Roscommon ball to the net.
While Galway were FBD League holders, Roscommon are Connacht champions and brought themselves back in the second half led by Ciarain Murtagh’s opening score.
The momentum shifted regularly but after Enda and Donie Smith converted points, Enda Smith’s goal pushed Roscommon 2-13 to 2-9 clear.
However, Galway weren’t done as Walsh’s squad wanted to make their own personal statements. McHugh, Eoin Finnerty and Heaney tallied points but in between, Gary O’Donnell and Rob Finnerty combined to set Dessie Conneely up for their third goal.
Leading 3-12 to 2-13, Galway were looking good for a third consecutive crown but a hat-trick of late minors through Daly and Diarmuid Murtagh ensured Roscommon held the edge on their neighbours winning their second successive provincial trophy.
Galway – Frankie Burke 2-0, Barry McHugh 0-4, Dessie Conneely 1-0, Sean Armstrong 0-2, Johnny Heaney 0-1, Tom Flynn 0-1, Rob Finnerty 0-1, Eoin Finnerty 0-1, Padraic Cunningham 0-1, Adrian Varley 0-1.
Roscommon – Cathal Cregg 1-4, Enda Smith 1-1, Ciarain Murtagh 0-4, Donie Smith 0-3, Diarmuid Murtagh 0-2, Ross Timothy 0-1, Niall Daly 0-1.
Winning point 😄#FBDChampions#rosgaa 💙💛 pic.twitter.com/WSX7OR3tmR
— Club Rossie (@clubrossie) February 18, 2018
Connacht GAA said – “At a damp Hyde Park Roscommon got the better of old rivals Galway by a single point after a thrilling game which swung from end to end throughout and where the result was in doubt right up until the final seconds.”
Declan Rooney for rte.ie wrote – “Dessie Conneely looked to have given Galway victory when he goaled eight minutes from time, but Murtagh and Niall Daly found the target at the death to give Roscommon a first Connacht League crown since 2015.”
And the Irish Times stated – “Roscommon snatched the FBD Connacht Football League title from under Galway’s noses with an injury-time free from Diarmuid Murtagh.”