Updated: March 25th, 2024

Allianz FL: Derry finish top with win against Roscommon

Derry will meet Dublin in the Allianz National League Division One final after an emphatic victory that spelt the end of Roscommon’s two year stay in the top flight.

Game Recap

By Michael Wilson (from GAA.ie)

Derry 2-19 Roscommon 1-9

Davy Burke’s Rossies went into the game needing something from the game to have any hope of retaining their Division One status and for three quarters of the game, they looked capable of setting up a grand stand finish in a game as open as any you’re likely to see this season.

A tight first half saw goal chances aplenty but Roscommon’s inability to capitalise on chances saw a Derry team that looked to be playing in third gear lead by three at the break. That lead was cancelled out within five minutes of the restart but when the counties headed into the home straight, Derry went through the gears to blow the visitors away.

Harte’s men hit an incredible 2-18 of their 2-19 tally from play and when they hit the accelerator Roscommon had no answer. After drawing level in the 42nd minute, the Rossies managed only one more point over the remaining half hour. Derry, by contrast, hit 1-11 and were a class apart.

Roscommon had started a must win match by retaining possession for close to three and a half minutes from the throw in, a passage of play that should have ended with the game’s opening goal but, after swapping passes with Eoin McCormack, Enda Smith blazed inches over the Derry crossbar. It was a sign of things to come as goal chances almost outnumbered pointed efforts.

A McGuigan free equalised before the game exploded into life on nine minutes. First McGuigan sent Conor Glass clear but the Derry midfielder elected to shoot over when a goal was on but perhaps the AIB Club Player of the Year knew something we didn’t because within seconds the ball was nestling in Roscommon’s net anyway!

The goal came from a mistake on the kick-out by Roscommon keeper Conor Carroll whose restart was intercepted by Conleth McGuckian who fed the ball into Declan Cassidy’s run for the Bellgahy player to blast Derry into a 1-02 to 0-1 lead that lasted only 30 seconds.

That was down to a mistake at the opposite end where Odhran Lynch misjudged a long ball in which allowed Donie Smith to nip in ahead of the Derry No. 1 to punch the bouncing ball into Derry’s net.

Paul Cassidy responded with a point for the home side but scores from Diarmuid Murtagh and McCormack tied things up again before Niall Daly’s point edged the Rossies ahead at 1-03 to 1-04 on 19 minutes.

Derry had already lost Gareth McKinless to a suspected broken nose by this point and further goal chances came and went for both teams, Lachlan Murray and Brian Stack with great openings. However a strong end to the half put Harte’s men in charge at 1-08 to 1-05 thanks to two brilliant scores from Murray and one each from Ethan Doherty and McGuigan as Derry took a three point lead into the break.

Harte responded to the open nature of the first half by introducing both Ciaran McFaul and Niall Toner at the break but it was Roscommon who came out of the changing rooms firing as points from Murtagh (f), Enda Smith and Murtagh tied things up within five minutes of the restart.

Toner’s first score of the game halted the Rossies’ march but Davy Burke’s men were throwing the kitchen sink at their hosts, despite Ethan Doherty and Murray stretching the home lead to 1-11 to 1-08.

Enda Smith had seen another goal attempt saved by the leg of Lynch at this point and it was that greater efficiency in front of the posts that was the difference between the teams. Even word of Kerry’s lead against Galway failed to rouse the Rossies as points from Ciaran McFaul, Ethan Doherty and Eoin McEvoy took the home lead out to 1-14 to 1-08.

With Roscommon’s relegation all but confirmed both team ran their respective benches but it didn’t stop the Oak Leaf assault on the scoreboard as Ethan Doherty, Cormac Murphy and McGuigan all registered scores but the game had long since ceased to be a contest.

The final whistle brought both ends of the footballing spectrum; Derry with a Croke Park final to look forward to, Roscommon preparing now for a return to Division Two after a second half that exposed the gulf between the teams.

Teams and scorers

Derry scorers: Lachlan Murray (1-4), Shane McGuigan (0-4, 1f), Ethan Doherty (0-4), Declan Cassidy (1-0), Paul Cassidy (0-2), Niall Toner (0-1), Ciaran McFaul (0-1), Eoin McEvoy (0-1), Cormac Murphy (0-1), Conor Glass (0-1),

Roscommon scorers: Donie Smith (1-0), Diarmuid Murtagh (0-3, 2f), Enda Smith (0-2), Eoin McCormack (0-1), Niall Daly (0-1), Daire Cregg (0-1, 1f), Conor Cox, (0-1),

Derry: Odhran Lynch, Conor McCluskey, Chrissy McKaigue, Diarmuid Baker, Gareth McKinless, Eoin McEvoy, Donncha Gilmore, Conor Glass, Conor Doherty, Ethan Doherty, Declan Cassidy, Paul Cassidy, Conleth McGuckin, Shane McGuigan, Lachlan Murray. Subs: Brendan Rogers for G McKinless, 8mins; Ciaran McFaul for D Cassidy, HT; Niall Toner for C McGuckian, HT; Shea Downey for C Doherty, 56mins; Matthew Downey for C Glass, 62mins; Cormac Murphy for L Murray, 63mins;

Roscommon: Conor Carroll, David Murray, Brian Stack, Patrick Gavin, Niall Daly, Niall Higgins, Eoin Higgins, Eoin McCormack, Enda Smith, Ultan Harney, Dylan Ruane, Ruaidrhi Fallon, Ronan Daly, Daire Cregg, Diarmuid Murtagh, Donie Smith. Subs: Cian Connolly for D Cregg, 49mins; James Fitzpatrick for D Smith, 53mins; Conor Hussey for N Higgins, 53mins; Conor Cox for R Fallon, 61mins; Ciaran Lennon for U Harney, 61mins;

Referee: David Gough (Meath)