Burke hails ‘huge rewards’ of FBD League

FBD League Final:
Roscommon 2-25 Galway 0-13

The Roscommon team pictured ahead of their Connacht FBD League final clash with Galway last Friday evening in the Connacht GAA Air Dome. Pic: Bernie O’Farrell

Roscommon manager Davy Burke believes the management team has got “huge rewards” from the FBD League over recent weeks, with significant depth added to the squad.

It was an upbeat Burke who spoke to the media last Friday night after Roscommon had cruised to their first FBD League title since 2019 by defeating Galway. Their win at the University of Galway Connacht GAA Air Dome was Roscommon’s 6th success in the competition. Seldom, if ever, have they had such a comfortable victory in the 29-year history of the FBD League.

Burke indicated that he is happy with his team’s FBD experience this year.

“I think we have got huge rewards from this competition. We have got depth in our squad now. We have new lads ready to go and others who will need more time.

Ciaran Lennon in action for Roscommon during last Friday’s Connacht FBD League final between Roscommon and Galway in the Connacht GAA Air Dome. Pic: Bernie O’Farrell

“I think that there is a freshness about Roscommon this year. We have some great new lads like Evan Flynn and Niall Higgins and others who have come in too so we will have a new-look side this year.

“Conor Hussey, Ronan Daly and Tadhg O’Rourke are all there or thereabouts. There are three or four more that will be involved too”.

As the Roscommon manager turns his attention to the serious business of the National Football League, he pledged that Roscommon will be intent on giving it their all.

“We are going into Division One to win games, just like everyone else. We will win games and lose games and so will Dublin and Kerry. We are not viewing the league as just (about) staying up. We are going into it to win games and to drive on then to the Connacht Championship”.

Galway chose to send out a development squad last Friday night, and despite the fact that Roscommon fielded a number of inexperienced players themselves, they won as they pleased, running up a huge score in the process. In truth, this game was over after 20 minutes and both sides went through the motions in a very low-key second half.

For Burke and his selectors, who took this competition seriously, they will have got vital game time into the legs of several newcomers, but it remains to be seen just how helpful this tournament has been preparation-wise when teams dip their toes into the shark-infested waters of the National Football League this weekend.

Put simply, this was a stroll in the dome for Roscommon. Diarmuid Murtagh, Conor Cox and Cathal Heneghan sparkled as Roscommon set about the Tribesmen early and often.

With the score at 0-4 to 0-1 in favour of Roscommon, Eoin McCormack sliced through the Galway defence for a 9th minute goal (after great work from Dylan Ruane and Cian Connolly). Even at that stage, Galway were in big trouble.

By the time Niall Higgins was shown a black card (a harsh award) in the 27th minute, Roscommon were 1-12 to 0-4 in front, and Diarmuid Murtagh and Conor Cox had already been substituted. By half-time Roscommon led 1-14 to 0-6, with Davy Burke having brought on five subs.

The pattern continued in the second half with Roscommon’s entire panel getting a run. Andy Glennon came on and kicked two long-range points, while Enda and Donie Smith were prominent for a completely dominant Roscommon. Cillian O Currain was Galway’s only stand-out performer, keeping the scoreboard ticking over with a number of frees. Enda Smith capped a commanding Roscommon display in the 66th minute when he fisted to the net after a fine move involving five players.

It was fitting that Diarmuid Murtagh, who was playing his 100th competitive match for Roscommon, received the Paddy Francis Dwyer Cup after the game.

Not every team took the FBD League too seriously, but Roscommon had three good outings. Players like Senan Lambe, Evan Flynn, Niall Higgins, Paddy Gavin, Luke Glennon, Declan Kenny and Jack Duggan have all got valuable game time over recent weeks, and with the St Brigid’s players to return, Davy Burke is building a strong panel which he will certainly need for the demanding league campaign ahead.