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GAA | Roscommon dethrone Galway in Connacht

Roscommon are the 2019 Connacht Senior Football Champions.

The Rossies overturned a five point deficit to beat Galway by 1-13 to 0-12 at Pearse Stadium today.

Galway looked set to retain their crown after amassing a 0-10 to 0-05 lead at the break in extremely difficult conditions in Salthill.

However, a Diarmuid Murtagh goal early in the second half sent Roscommon on their way to their second provincial title in three years, and their 23rd overall.

Anthony Cunningham has now become the first manager to win two provincial titles in two different codes in different provinces.

Proud Roscommon boss Anthony Cunningham gives his reaction after winning the Connacht SFC #rtegaa #GALROS — RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) 16 June 2019

Galway manager Kevin Walsh opted to start Ruairi Lavelle ahead of Bernard Power, and Peter Cooke also started up front in place of Danny Cummins in another late change.

Conor Devaney kicked the first score of the game for the Rossies, and the rivals were evenly matched in the opening 20 minutes.

Unsurprisingly, there were plenty of handling errors in the relentless rain.

Galway led by 0-4 to 0-3 after 10 minutes, with all seven scores coming from play.

The champions were more accurate, kicking just one wide in the first half.

Walsh’s men took control of proceedings after Murtagh had drawn Roscommon level on five points apiece in the 22nd minute.

Galway began to dominate, with Shane Walsh growing in influence after dropping deep.

They scored five unanswered points in the last 10 minutes of the first half through Antaine Ó Laoí, Walsh, Eamon Brannigan, Michael Daly, and Gareth Bradshaw; a lead which looked insurmountable at the time.

Roscommon had been sloppy and second best, and were wasteful with their own kickouts.

They trailed by five points when the half-time whistle sounded, having failed to score for the final 15 minutes of the half.

However, the Rossies outscored Galway by 1-08 to 0-02 in the second half.

Niall Kilroy fired over the first point of the second half in the 39th minute, and Roscommon grabbed a goal a minute later.

Cathal Cregg’s perfectly weighted handpass found Murtagh, who kept his cool to produce a perfect low finish past Lavelle.

Diarmuid Murtagh gets Roscommon back to within a point #rtegaa - live now on @RTE2 highlights on this evening's programme 9.30pm #rtegaa #gaa — The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) 16 June 2019

Suddenly, there was only a point in it, and all the momentum was with Roscommon.

Conor Cox scored the equalizing point before Murtagh’s free gave Cunningham’s side the lead in the 50th minute.

Daly curled over an excellent point seven minutes later to draw Galway level with what was the county’s first score of the second half.

Galway failed to kick on, and it was the Rossies who got the next three scores through Niall Daly, midfielder Shane Killoran and a Murtagh free.

Seven minutes of added time made for a nervous wait for Roscommon fans.

Walsh split the posts with a 45 in the 75th minute to claw Galway back to within two points of Cunningham's men, but Cox responded with a point of his own a minute later.

Conor Cox with an inspirational score for @RoscommonGAA right at the end!! — The GAA (@officialgaa) 16 June 2019

John Daly then flashed a goal chance wide of the far post for Galway, sparking a premature pitch invasion from over-eager Rossie fans.

The referee duly restored order, and the superb Cox had time to add one more point before the final whistle sounded, sparking memorable scenes on the pitch.

Roscommon, who were relegated from Division One in the spring, now progress to the Super 8s, where they will enter a group with the Leinster champions, the Ulster runners-up, and either one of the Munster finalists or a team from the qualifiers.

Galway will enter the qualifiers.

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