Big performances in Roscommon, big week for Irish football

Martin O’Neill has finally whittled his squad down from 249 or whatever it was provisionally and some things will have become quite clear; while we have some good players, we lack the star quality of even a Bosnia Herzegovina.

  Shane Long, Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan have impressed, but consistent Champions League performers they are not.

  The Bosnians seem to have quality throughout and one would have to have a certain nagging fear ahead of tomorrow night.

  However, it is a two-legged tie and it’s vital Ireland get something from the first leg. The only way to do that is to play the kind of football we have shown ourselves to be capable of and that means our best footballers must start.

  The fact that Bosnia, in their very short time on the international stage, already produce star quality is something that won’t be lost on coaches in this country. The FAI has rolled out a new development plan and in the long term it’s hoped that this can allow us to produce our own Dzekos and Pjanics.

  For now though, Ireland must withstand a possible Bosnian siege before producing another night to remember at the Aviva.

  Speaking of our football association, it was round four of the FAI Junior Cup last weekend and there were more impressive performances from the Roscommon teams. Moore United beat Sligo champions and big fans of the half and half scarf, City United, 4-3 on penalties at home.

  Ballaghaderreen (editor-glad you spelt it right!) enjoyed a 2-0 win over fellow Premier Division side, Castlerea Celtic, away from home. Bob Towey and Lee Keenan with the goals for Ballaghaderreen.

  Dysart succumbed to a strong Westport United side 2-3 at home with Niall Corbett scoring both goals for the Roscommon team.

  Brazukas’ recent run of victories was ended abruptly by Mayo side, Manulla, as they scored a goal in each half to stop the samba.

  Last week was a very strange week in the world of football with Tottenham getting a result in the North London derby, Liverpool fans leaving Klopp to walk alone, José Mourinho hiding from Stoke, an Old Trafford goal-fest, and Leeds, yes Leeds, winning 3-0 away from home.

  Closer to home, the strangeness seemed to be contagious in the Premier Division, as St. John’s Athletic enjoyed their first win since their promotion as they beat Skyvalley Rovers 2-1 in Lecarrow. Ultan Kelly and David McDonald with the goals for the home side, Skyvalley managed a consolation through Ethan Keogh.

  In Division 1, Shiven Rovers beat Loughglynn United 4-1 at Newbridge. Goals from Eric Walsh, Padraig Delaney and two from in form Adrian McInerney sending Rovers three points clear at the summit.

  In Division 2, Moylough 79 smashed Roscommon United 5-2 at home to remain firmly in contention for promotion. Peter Kelly with two and one each for Marcus Finn, Jason Lohan and Michael Foley for the home side.

  Nothing could separate Lough Harps and KC Celtic as they played out a 1-1 draw at Ballinlough. It was a similar story at Onagh Park where Skyvalley Rovers and CP Ajax finished at one apiece. That means that Louis van Gaal’s favourite Castleplunkett team share second place with Lough Harps. Elsewhere, Moore United beat Cloonfad United 3-2 away from home with Ray Griffin, Damien Conlon and Michael Carty all on target for Moore.