Allianz FL D2: Cregg stars for Roscommon
Allianz Football League Division Two
ROSCOMMON 2-11 KILDARE 0-13
By Ger McNally at St Conleth's Park
Goals from Cathal Cregg and Enda Smith, a penalty, in the last 17 minutes helped Roscommon to a crucial win in St Conleth's Park.
Its not often that one game can be categorised as a promotion and relegation four pointer at the same time, but this was the case today and with the win, Roscommon can look forward to the last three games with renewed optimism for their promotion challenge.
Kildare are left anxiously looking over their shoulder as they find themselves very much in a relegation battle.
Despite the importance of this game, Kildare started in a sluggish manner and Roscommon scored four points in the first six minutes.
However, with the excellent Kevin Feely leading the way from midfield, Kildare played their way into the game over the next half hour scored the next seven points in the game. Adam Tyrrell was key to Kildares attacking play during that time with Paddy Brophy and Daniel Flynn also kicking some fine scores during that time.
Frees by Donie Smith in the last minute of the first half and by Cian McKeon in the first minute of the second left the visitors just a point behind and very much in the game.
The game ebbed and flowed over the next 15 minutes or so but when Paddy Brophy landed his second point of the game in the 52nd minute Kildare led by 0-11 to 0-9 and seemed well placed to go and win the game, but they were outscored by 2-2 to 0-2 over the remainder of the game.
Roscommon scored their first goal, and the first that Kildare have conceded in the league this season, in the 53rd minute when Cathal Cregg was left with an empty net after a flowing move that involved the freshly introduced Conor Cox.
Niall Kilroy immediately added on a point to put Anthony Cunninghams team two points clear.
But when Niall Kelly halved that gap in the 59th minute the game was very much back in the melting pot going into the last 10 minutes.
The decisive moment came again when Roscommon were able to cut through the Kildare defence once again before Hubert Darcys run was halted.
There was lots of pressure on the shoulders of Roscommon captain Enda Smith as he stepped up to take the penalty, but if there was any nerves he hid them well as he confidently sent Mark Donnellan the wrong way to convert.
Daniel Flynn pulled back a point for Kildare as they tried to build a comeback but any momentum they were building was halted when Donnellan put a free kick from the 45 metre line wide of the post.
There were seven additional minutes played at the end of the game, but the only score came from Roscommons Brian Stack and an immediate return to Division One for them remains a possibility.
Scorers for Roscommon: C Cregg 1-3, D Smith 0-4 2fs, E Smith 1-0 pen, C McKeon 0-2 1f, N Kilroy 0-1, B Stack 0-1.
Scorers for Kildare: A Tyrrell 0-5 4fs, D Flynn 0-3, N Kelly 0-2, P Brophy 0-2, M Donnellan 0-1f .
ROSCOMMON: Colm Lavin; David Murray, Brian Stack, Mark Richardson; Niall Daly, Conor Daly, Conor Hussey; Eddie Nolan, Enda Smith; Niall Kilroy, Cian McKeon, Hubert Darcy; Donie Smith, Ciaran Lennon, Cathal Cregg.
Subs: Tadhg O'Rourke for Nolan 41, Conor Cox for Lennon 48, Cathal Compton for C Cregg 55, Finbar Cregg for Darcy 66, Richard Hughes for D Smith 706
KILDARE: Mark Donnellan; Peter Kelly, Mick OGrady, Darragh Malone; Kevin Flynn, Eoin Doyle, Shea Ryan; David Hyland, Kevin Feely; Paddy Brophy, Paul Cribbin, Keith Cribbin; Niall Kelly, Daniel Flynn, Adam Tyrrell.
Subs: Con Kavanagh for Malone 40, D Slattery for K Cribbin 54, Jimmy Hyland for Tyrrell 56 Jack Robinson for N Kelly 61, Neil Flynn for P Kelly 69
REFEREE: Martin McNally Monaghan.