Padraig Pearses win first Roscommon Senior Football Championship

Padraig Pearses have won their first-ever Roscommon Senior Football Championship and will now face the Sligo champions in the Connacht Club Football Championship after falling short at the last hurdle on seven previous occasions.

This past Sunday, at the eighth time of asking, Padraig Pearses have finally taken home the Fahey Cup. They beat their opponents on the day, Roscommon Gaels by three points, with a final scoreline of 2-10 to 1-10. 

After a nervy looking opening few sequences of play, Pearses quickly got themselves into a commanding position in the game. Roscommon Gaels were two points up, seven minutes into the game. However, Pearses turned this around to lead Gaels by seven points at half-time, with the scoreline at 2-7 to 0-6.

The second half turned out to be a much lower-scoring affair than the first. Padraig Pearses quickly added another two points to their tally early in the second half. Pearses got themselves into a comfortable nine-point lead. From that point on, Pearses quietened down on the offensive side of things. 

Over the following ten minutes, Gaels began to claw their way back into the game. Midway through the second half, they were trailing by six points and were looking likely to continue scoring. 

Hubert Darcy added a point from a free for Pearses with nine minutes of normal time to play. This put Pearses more than two goals clear once again, however, this didn’t deter Gaels’ relentless offense.

With Pearses leading by seven points with less than ten minutes of regular time to play, they had to deal with the age-old conundrum of what to do when leading late-on in a final, versus a team who is throwing numbers forward? One option is to retain the offensive shape and mindset that helped you take the lead. The other option is to drop numbers deeper and prioritise protecting your goal. 

Pearses opted to drop men deep and take a damage limitation approach for the final ten minutes of the game. This lead to an extremely nervy ending to the game for the team who were looking for their first Fahey Cup. 

Just before the 60-minute mark Gaels put themselves just three points behind Pearses. Cian Connolly put a point over the bar from a free for Gaels at the 57th minute. After that, they quickly made their way up the pitch again to score their first goal of the game. 

With nine minutes of injury time to play and trailing by just a goal, Gaels threw everyone forward. It would have been understandable for Pearses to be feeling anxious at this point. This wouldn’t have been their first time losing the lead late on in the county final. 

In 2008’s final, Castlerea St.Kevins scored an equalising point to force a replay with the last play of the game. Pearses went on to lose the replay by one point in 2008. 

That scenario would ultimately not repeat itself in this year’s final, however. After suffering a nerve-wracking nine minutes of injury time, the final whistle eventually sounded. 

Their gamble of switching to a defensive shape for the end of the game paid off. For the first time in their 57 year history, they were crowned champions.

Pádraig Pearses: Paul Whelan; Shane Carty, Mark Richardson, David Murray; Anthony Butler, Ronan Daly, Gavin Downey; Niall Daly, Conor Daly (0-02); Lorcan Daly (0-01), Niall Carty, Paul Carey (0-02); Emmet Kelly (0-03, 0-01 free), Hubert Darcy (1-01, 0-01 free), Conor Payne (1-01).

Subs used: Tom Butler for Kelly (47), Alan Duffy for Carey (49), Sean Ryan for Payne (60+3), Sean Fahy for Downey (60+6), Niall Finneran for L Daly (60+7).

Roscommon Gaels: James Fetherstone; Tim Lambe (0-01), John McManus, Mike McNeill; Kevin O’Gara, Richard Hughes (1-00), Paul Gleeson; Mark Healy, Kieran Kilcline; Scott Oates, David O’Gara, Brian Kelly; Ronan Carolan (0-02, 0-01 free), Cian Connolly (0-05, 0-04 frees), Peter Gillooly (0-01).

Subs used: Mark Nally for Gillooly (39), Bryan O’Gara for Healy (42), Ronan Gleeson for McNeill (44), Cathal Dineen for Kelly (49), James O’Gara for K O’Gara (60+2), Richard Walsh for Kilcline (60+6).

Referee: Marty Parker



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