Tuesday 23 January 2018

NFL DIV 2 FINAL: Rossies on their way to 'the top' after Down win

The Roscommon players and backroom staff celebrate with the cup
The Roscommon players and backroom staff celebrate with the cup

nfl division 2 final

HEADY days for Roscommon football.

Six days out from an All-Ireland Under 21 final, their seniors clinch a Division 2 title in some style in Croke Park with a 1-17 to 0-15 win over Down, thus underpinning their reputation and one of football's most furiously improving forces.

And because he's not your average cautious-to-the-point-of-paranoid inter-county manager, John Evans was inclined to add to, rather than subtract from, the swell of expectancy around the county.

Asked where next for Roscommon football, Evans looked up and took aim at the stars.

"The whole idea is to get to the top. It will take us a couple of years," he said.

Asked specifically whether by "the top," he meant Roscommon actually winning an All-Ireland, Evans stoutly refused to dilute his hubris.

"Of course it is. There is no other way. Absolutely.

"I have gone through every team," he continued, elaborating on the reason behind his grand plan.

"There is a lot of them and they will be losing a lot of star players over the next two, three, four years. We will be growing in stature."

So if it happens, you can't say he didn't warn you.

With a second successive promotion assured, the Rossies took all the positive vibes that come with lifting silverware too.

A somewhat mysterious red card to Brendan McArdle for a second yellow card just before half time (no one in the ground caught the first) put Roscomon into the ascendency and with Senan Kilbride (0-4) operating somewhere close to his pomp, Down relented.

Ciarán Murtagh's blasted second half goal after a Donie Shine knock down made it safe.

SCORERS - Roscommon: C Murtagh 1-2 (0-1f), C Connolly 0-5 (4f), S Kilbride 0-4, C Cafferkey, D Smith, C Cregg, D Murtagh, U Harney, D Shine (f) 0-1 each. Down: D O'Hare 0-5 (3f), K McKernan 0-2, B McArdle (f), C Maginn, C Laverty, C Mooney, R Johnston, P Fitzpatrick, J Johnston (f), P Devlin (f) 0-1 each.

ROSCOMMON: D O'Malley; N Collins, N Carty, D Murphy; R Stack, N Daly, C Cafferkey; K Higgins, C Shine; C Daly, C Murtagh, D Smith; C Connolly, S Kilbride, C Cregg. Subs: D Murtagh for Smith (h-t), U Harneyfor Creg (47), B Murtagh for Murray (53 black card), D Shine for Connolly (55), C Compton for C Murtagh (62), I Kilbride for Higgins (67).

DOWn: S Kane; A Carr, D O'Hagan, C McGovern; G Collins, L Howard, B McArdle; P Turley, P Devlin; D O'Hanlon, K McKernan, C Maginn; D O'Hare, C Laverty, P Devlin. Subs: P Fitzpatrick for Turley (h-t), R Johnston for Devlin (47), N Madine for Carr (60), A McConville for Maginn (63), J Johnston for McKernan (66), R Boyle for Collins (69).

REF: M Deegan (Laois)

MAN OF THE MATCH: Senan Kilbride (Roscommon).

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