WITH seconds to go in last year’s Connacht senior football final at Pearse Stadium, Roscommon were in possession in the Galway half of the field. Momentum was with them.
The Rossies had gone 30 minutes of the second half without scoring, but hung in there and – almost by accident – launched an audacious smash and grab late-on. Not audacious enough.
Though Cathal Creggs closed the gap to one as the clock ticked towards 70 and Donie Smith, in injury-time, nailed the equalising free, from there, Roscommon were happy to wind down the clock.
They lacked ambition throughout that miserably wet July day in Salthill, setting up safe and defensive, and declined to go for the jugular before Conor Lane blew the full-time whistle. Galway should have been out of sight, but in those dying moments, they were there for the taking and Roscommon just settled for the draw.
This week, ahead of Sunday’s provincial final, a rematch between the same opposition at the same venue (2pm), it is worth pondering what might have been. Certainly, both sides have enjoyed contrasting trajectories since.
Roscommon’s cautious approach backfired – Kevin Walsh’s men regrouped and pummelled them in the replay, running out 3-16 to 0-14 winners having led by 10 at the break.
Since then, Galway have lost just twice – admittedly, once quite spectacularly against Tipperary in the All-Ireland quarter-final at Croke Park – and secured league promotion to the top flight.
Beating Kildare in the final, and banishing the Tribesmen’s Croke Park hoodoo in the process was the cherry on top; while last month’s one-point win over Mayo silenced the doubters, and underlined the tangible progress this Galway outfit has made.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.