By Mike Fitzpatrick
Roscommon 2-14, Clare 1-7 Roscommon were clearly out to prove a point on Easter Sunday at Gaelic Park. Having lost their relegation battle last season, as well as the services of club stalwarts Richie Maher and Ian Smith to transfers, Jimmy Naughton and Co. were obviously out to grab their position in the top flight back. With a performance like this, it’s clear that they mean business, and nobody will be spared on their way back. Pat Scanlon’s Clare side have impressed in the past, but were outplayed in this tie, particularly in the second half.
Kevin O’Brien opened Roscommon’s account with a well-taken penalty, beating the outstretched arms of Eoghan O’Loughlin to give his side an early lead. Aidan Smyth followed up with two points for the Roscommon men, but Anton Diver hit a point for Clare, and after a mix up in the Roscommon box, Pat Guckian took full advantage and slammed the ball home to bring his side right back into the game. Diver followed this with a thunderous shot that rebounded off the post only to be well cleared by Paul Levins of Roscommon. It was immediately apparent that Roscommon had a game on their hands.
The first half was an even affair, with Adrian Lannon hitting a point for Roscommon, and Lanty Molloy and Eoghan McGrath scoring for Clare. At the interval Roscommon clung on to a 1-point lead.
It is, however, as the old soccer cliche goes, "a game of two halves," and though Roscommon were well aware of this, Clare seemed to have forgotten. Though they put up a plucky, and at times classy, performance in the first half, thanks to their exciting midfield play and stubborn backline, Clare entered the second period seemingly tired, and were thoroughly outplayed. Joe Murray, Donie Farrell, and Stephen McGuinness began the onslaught, and though Care’s Diver and Lanty Molloy both hit points, the Roscommon men took control.
A goal which will no doubt be claimed by Adrian Lannon swiped Clare’s confidence from them, though it appeared to be an attempted clearance by the Clare backline from Lannon’s shot, the ball somehow swept past O’Loughlin in the Clare goal. Farrell and McGuinness each hit two points for Roscommon, and the last 15 minutes it was really all one-way traffic. Smyth hit two and the scoring was rounded off by a point for Joe Murray to give Roscommon a convincing win.
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.
Roscommon: Mike Rennicks, Paul Levins, Ken Deacon, Joe Naughton, Tom Sims, Kevin O’Flaherty, David Kelly, Adrian Lannon (1-1), Aidan Ruane, Stephen McGuinness (0-3), Aidan Smyth (0-4), Kevin O’Brien (1-0), Donie Farrell (0-3), Niall Kelly, Joe Murray (0-3).
Clare: Eoghan O’Neill, Bobby Chambers, Liam O’Neill, Colm Kelly, Gabriel McKeever, Noel McGovern, Niall Duane, Eoghan McGrath (0-1), Pat Guckian (1-0), Danny Lynch, Sean Diver (0-4) Tony Nolan, Lanty Molloy (0-1), John Murtagh, Damian McDermott (0-1).