Clann na nGael 0-11 Pádraig Pearses 2-08

Pádraig Pearses are Roscommon senior football champions for the second time in three seasons, and the second time in their 60-year history, after goals from Paul Carey and substitute Jack Tumulty saw them through a fiercely contested county final against neighbours Clann na nGael in wet and wintry conditions at Dr. Hyde Park this afternoon.

Manager Pat Flanagan, who has now won multiple senior championships in Roscommon, Westmeath and his native Offaly, described the hour as his toughest ever in football, as he was forced to watch from the stands due to suspension.

Yet the Clara native will take huge satisfaction in the manner in which his charges controlled this contest, dominating the battle in the middle third where Niall Daly, Lorcán Daly and David Murray were all hugely impressive.

In the semi-final against St. Brigid's, Pearses burst out of the blocks but then were reeled in, and this contest followed a similar pattern.

Despite the heavy ground and heavy showers overhead, the contest burst into life right from the start, with Niall Daly and Hubert Darcy kicking superb points in the first five minutes to move into an 0-03 to 0-00 lead.

The scoring dried up from there however, as both sides went through long spells of possession that often just ended with a turnover as they tried to get within scoring range. Ciarán Lennon was Clann’s only scorer as they reduced the gap to a single point, 0-04 to 0-03 at the interval, and it was a measure of how few attempts on goal they had in that time that they had just two shots dropped short in addition to that, with no wides.

Paul Carey celebrates after scoring a key goal as a rueful Cathal Duignan reacts

In the opening minutes of the second half, it looked like they were finding their feet. Paul Carey punched over the first point but a mark from Ciarán Lennon and an excellent Cathal Duignan score seemed to shift the momentum of the game back in favour of the 21-time Roscommon SFC champions.

Yet as is often the case in wet conditions, a breaking ball changed the contest completely. Hubert Darcy floated a high ball into the Clann full back line and when both Paddy Gavin and Fearghal Lennon lost their footing, Paul Carey was left with just the keeper to beat, which he did perfectly with a low drive inside the near post.

Scores from Darcy and Carey extended the lead before Clann mounted one last surge, cutting the margin back to two points through outstanding scores from their central defensive axis of Darra and Shane Pettit.

Their revival was crushed however when a stray handpass was intercepted by Niall Daly and three quick handpasses later, Jack Tumulty was palming the ball to the net to make it 2-8 to 0-9 with just over a minute of normal time to play.

Ciarán and Josh Lennon picked off points in stoppage time for Clann, but the goal chance they needed never came as Pearses held firm, smothering Paddy Gavin’s half chance in a packed goalmouth at the end.

Pádraig Pearses: Paul Whelan; Mark Richardson, Anthony Butler, Gavin Downey; Conor Lohan, Ronan Daly, David Murray; Niall Daly (0-01), Conor Daly (0-01); Shane Carty, Niall Carty, Lorcán Daly (0-01); Conor Payne, Hubert Darcy (0-02), Paul Carey (1-03, 0-02 frees).

Subs: Jack Tumulty (1-00) for S Carty (52), A Feehily for Richardson (60), Emmet Kelly for Payne (60+2), Seán Ryan for Carey (60+3), Shane Mulvey for L Daly (60+4).

Clann na nGael: Ronan O'Reilly; Fearghal Lennon, Darra Pettit (0-01), Jack Connaughton; Patrick Gavin, Shane Pettit (0-01), Cathal Duignan (0-01); Oisín Lennon, Graham Pettit; Cian McManus, David McManus, Ian Harney; Ultan Harney, Ciarán Lennon (0-06, 0-04 frees, 0-01 mark), Emmet Kenny.

Subs: Stephen Flynn for D Pettit (37-42, blood), Fearghus Lennon for G Pettit (46), Damien Duff for Duignan (46), Cathal Callinan for I Harney (57), Josh Lennon (0-01) for Fearghal Lennon (60)

Referee: Patrick McTiernan