Following a long and fairly bleak winter and spring, it appears that Roscommon’s appearance in this year’s championship will coincide with the belated arrival of summer. With brighter weather promised, could performances and results be about to pick up?
While nobody would bet the house on summer temperatures, one thing is guaranteed: fitness levels will be at an annual high within the Roscommon camp. Manager Kevin McStay seemed quietly confident at last week’s press night particularly when it came to physical preparation. McStay has consistently referenced “gearing towards championship” so far this year and fitness coach David Joyce will have been tasked with taking the Rossies to the next level over the last few weeks.
According to team captain Ciaráin Murtagh, the long break was welcome and it has given Roscommon a chance to regroup ahead of this weekend’s must-win fixture.
It’s important to remember that this is a relatively young team and while this year’s league campaign was a painful one in many ways, it was also full of important lessons. Division One is the acid test for all top teams and while relegation was a set-back, the two seasons spent trying to shadow the likes of Kerry, Dublin and Donegal will only aid this young panel going forward.
Looking ahead to this Sunday, Roscommon have a golden opportunity to make it two Connacht final appearances (three if you count replays) in two years and that is also good for development. Selector Ger Dowd described the provincial final as a “major sporting event” and it’s on these occasions that big game winning habits are forged.
Leitrim certainly won’t come to the Hyde to roll over but with the shackles of Division One now broken, will we see some sunshine football after an eleven week hibernation? Roscommon, provided they shake off the cobwebs early, certainly have the players capable of taking the game to Leitrim and banishing the memories from a cruel league campaign.