ROSCOMMON footballers' victorious trip to London has come at a cost after Mark O'Carroll was ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken kneecap.
The wing-back suffered the horror injury barely 30 seconds into the Connacht first round clash at Ruislip, which ended in a less than convincing 0-14 to 0-6 win for the visitors.
As his team-mates turned their thoughts to a semi-final date with Leitrim on June 20, O'Carroll was detained in the English capital where he was due to undergo surgery this morning.
Roscommon PRO Michael Fahey described the injury as "most unusual and very serious", and he revealed that the St Brigid's player was in agony when it happened.
In almost all certainty, O'Carroll will miss the rest of Roscommon's SFC campaign even though hospital personnel could not tell the exact extent of the injury until after today's operation. However, the Roscommon team doctor was "quite confident" that he will recover after surgery and an extensive rehab programme.
As for how the incident occurred, Fahey's view was that one of the London players pulled on the ball and caught O'Carroll's knee instead.
The referee was quite close to the incident and no card was brandished, but it caused a lengthy stoppage in play.
The injury obviously soured Roscommon's eight-point victory, and winning boss Fergal O'Donnell was also left in a pretty grumpy mood by their "very poor" second half display.
They could have won by even more against a weak London challenge, hitting ten wides and striking the frame of the goal on no less than five occasions. "We're happy to get through, but we're not happy with our second half performance," said O'Donnell. "I thought we did well to go in six points up at half-time, despite playing against the breeze, but the second was very bad.
"To play against a Division Four team and concede scores like we did was very disappointing. We gifted London goal chances and if they had taken them, it would have been a completely different story. At times our defence was non-existent."
A blast of six unanswered points before the break left the Rossies with a near insurmountable half-time lead, aided by scorer-in-chief Donie Shine who finished with 0-9 (7f). However, Roscommon suffered scoreless periods of 12 minutes in either half and only pulled away when the game was entering its final throes.
Former Carlow senior Derek Hayden was the most likely of the London forwards, though he saw an early shot well saved by Geoffrey Claffey and then hit the post from a second half penalty.
"I think we had them rattled after 25 minutes. We had them in a place that they didn't want to be, but unfortunately we didn't kick on," said London manager Noel Dunning.
FORMER All Star 'keeper Gary Connaughton (calf) and experienced forward Fergal Wilson (finger) have both shaken off injuries ahead of Westmeath's Leinster SFC quarter-final against Wicklow next Sunday.
But dual player Paul Greville faces a hectic weekend as the Westmeath hurlers face Kildare in a Christy Ring Cup semi-final the previous Saturday evening.