Roscommon 0-17 Cork 1-11
ROSCOMMON finished with 13 men but still had enough in reserve to clinch promotion from Division 2 after a hard-fought win over Cork at Dr Hyde Park yesterday.
Cork sniffed a possible upset, when Mark Collins kicked them in front for the first and only time after 54 minutes with the wind at their backs, as well.
But, they could add just one more point in the remainder as fired-up Roscommon pulled away in the closing stages to register a deserved win, which secured a place in the final and Division 1 next season.
Cork didn’t help their cause with some wayward free-taking, Colm O’Neill, twice, missing the target after hitting the post with an earlier effort while Collins and substitute Donncha O’Connor were also off target.
But, when it mattered, Roscommon found a higher gear, scoring four points on the bounce in as many minutes to sweep 0-16 to 1-10 clear, entering the closing 10 minutes.
Collins did make it a two-point game near the end, but, in injury-time, a Diarmuid Murtagh free left Cork chasing a goal.
The home side lost sturdy centre-back, Ultan Harney, who was shown a couple of yellow cards and a red, three minutes into lost time.
And substitute Cathal Cregg was then black carded, 30 seconds later, but Roscommon were still safe.
Cork did well to be on level terms, 1-7 to 0-10, at the interval after Roscommon’s inside line of Donie Smith, Ciaran Lennon and Murtagh made very good use of the wind.
Smith almost grabbed a first-minute goal, when, from a quickly taken free, he found himself one-on-one with keeper Ryan Price, who denied him by sticking out his right foot to prevent a certain goal.
The Rossies were quickly into their stride, though, and five unanswered points in an eight-minute purple patch put Cork on the back foot after a couple of O’Neill frees had the sides level early on.
But once, Smith and co, joined by Ciaran Murtagh in the half-forward line, kept the scoreboard ticking along, Cork suddenly found themselves 0-7 to 0-2 adrift after 15 minutes.
They received a huge boost with a fine Peter Kelleher goal, four minutes later, however.
Starved of any high ball in his direction until Cillian O’Hanlon launched one, Kelleher showed impressive strength to fend off a couple of challenges before firing across goalkeeper Colm Lavin to the far corner of the net.
It was a huge confidence boost to the team as a whole and particularly the rest of the attack as Cork answered every Roscommon score with Collins, John O’Rourke and O’Neill finding the range from play.
O’Rourke dragged Cork level on the half-hour, 1-6 to 0-9, but Roscommon answered straight away until an O’Neill free tied matters on the change of ends.
Cork struggled on the resumption, though, taking 10 minutes to grab their next score, courtesy of Mattie Taylor, but that was quickly followed by substitute Michael Hurley and Collins as Cork claimed three points without reply.
The Rossies weren’t going to be denied, however, and dictated matters once again in the final quarter to set-up a showdown with Cavan in next Sunday’s decider.
Scorers for Roscommon: D Murtagh 0-5 (0-4 f), C Lennon and D Smith 0-3 each, C Murtagh 0-3 (0-2 f), C Daly, C Cregg, N Daly 0-1 each.
Cork: C O’Neill 0-5 (0-4 f, 0-1 45), P Kelleher 1-0, M Collins 0-3, J O’Rourke, M Taylor, M Hurley 0-1 each.
ROSCOMMON: C Lavin; D Murray, P Domican, F Lennon; C Daly, U Harney, B Stack; T O’Rourke, C Campion; C Murtagh, N Kilroy, C Devaney, captain; D Smith, C Lennon, D Murtagh.
Subs: N Daly for Murray 43, E Smith for D Smith 46, C Cregg for O’Rourke 52, S McDermott for Devaney 66, F Cregg for Lennon 67, I Kilbride for C Daly 70.
CORK: R Price (O’Donovan Rossa); K Crowley (Millstreet), J O’Sullivan (Bishopstown), K Flahive (Douglas); M Taylor (Mallow), S Wilson (Douglas), T Clancy (Fermoy); I Maguire (St Finbarr’s), captain, C O’Hanlon (Kilshannig); J O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers), M Collins (Castlehaven), R O’Toole (Éire Óg); C O’Neill (Ballyclough), P Kelleher (Kilmichael), S Sherlock (St Finbarr’s).
Subs: M Hurley (Castlehaven) for Sherlock 47, D Quinn (St Finbarr’s) for Clancy 50, P Clancy (Fermoy) for Taylor 57, D O’Connor (Ballydesmond) for Kelleher 58, C Vaughan (Millstreet) for Maguire 61, D O’Callaghan (Clyda Rovers) for O’Toole 60.
Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).