Roscommon’s Enda Smith in action against Paul Conroy of Galway during the Connacht SFC Semi-Final at Dr Hyde Park Picture: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Goals win games and they certainly did for Galway in Dr Hyde Park on Sunday as the Tribesmen saw off a stubborn challenge from Roscommon to reach this year’s Connacht Senior Football Championship Final.
Leitrim or Mayo will battle it out next Sunday in Elvery’s Mac Hale Park to win the right to face Padraic Joyce’s side who came through after a tough battle in difficult conditions, goals from Matthew Tierney and Paul Kelly.
A tight opening quarter saw both teams drop their entire outfield contingents back into defence so it did not make for free flowing football with both sides at two points apiece after 23 minutes, although Peter Cooke did squander a goal chance early on.
Paul Kelly struck for Galway’s first goal, set up by an incisive run from his brother Sean but the goal actually prompted Roscommon’s best spell in the game as they hit five points in the next 10 minutes, including a brace from Conor Daly.
Roscommon’s cause was not helped by the loss of Eddie Nolan and Cathal Cregg through injury, Cregg lasting just six minutes after he was brought on as a sub.
With conditions incredibly difficult, Galway slowly but surely stretched their leads with scores from Paul Kelly and Robert Finnerty fisted over. Roscommon replied with scores from Donal Smith and Cregg but three frees from Tierney (2) and Shane Walsh saw them lead by three points with ten minutes to.
Galway put the result beyond doubt when Sean Kelly fed Tierney, his first shot blocked but he rammed the rebound to the net. Late points from Enda Smith and Brian Stack were all Roscommon mustered as they chased goals before time ran out on their season.
Scorers: Paul Kelly and Matthew Tierney (2f) 1-2 each, Shane Walsh 0-3, 3f; Robert Finnerty 0-2, Damien Comer and Sean Kelly 0-1 each
Team: Connor Gleeson (Dunmore MacHales), Seán Mulkerrin (Aran Islands), Liam Silke (Corofin), Seán Kelly (Moycullen), Kieran Molloy (Corofin), 6. Dylan McHugh (Corofin), Johnny Heaney (Killanin), Paul Conroy (St James), Matthew Tierney (Oughterard), Paul Kelly (Moycullen), Peter Cooke (Moycullen), Finnian Ó Laoi (An Spidéal), Robert Finnerty (Salthill/Knocknacarra), Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin/Clonberne), Damien Comer (Annaghdown). Subs: Cathal Sweeney for O Laoi (65), Johnny Duane (70) for Paul Kelly (70), Eamonn Brannigan for Walsh (70), Padraic Costello for Finnerty (71)
Scorers: Enda Smith 0-3, Ciarain Murtagh, Donie Smith (1 45) and Conor Daly 0-2 each, Brian Stack, Shane Killoran and Diarmuid Murtagh 0-1 each
Team: Colm Lavin (Éire Óg), Brian Stack (St Brigid’s), David Murray (Padraig Pearses), Sean Mullooly (Strokestown), Conor Hussey (Michael Glaveys), Niall Daly (Padraig Pearses), Conor Daly (Padraig Pearses), Enda Smith (Boyle), Eddie Nolan (St Brigid’s), Niall Kilroy (Fuerty), Ciaran Murtagh (St Faithleachs), Shane Killoran (Elphin), Diarmuid Murtagh (St Faithleachs), Donie Smith (Boyle), Conor Cox (Éire Óg). Subs: Tadhg O’Rourke (Tulsk) for Nolan (20), Cathal Cregg (Western Gaels) for Killoran (42), Conor Devaney (Kilbride) for Cregg (48), Cian McKeon (Boyle) for Diarmuid Murtagh (51), Ultan Harney (Clann na nGael) for Cox (58)
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.