Burke: ‘It’s 50-50 for O’Carroll and Smith’

It is probably safe to say that we are now at crunch time in the tenure of Davy Burke as Roscommon manager.

The season so far has been marked by a league campaign that ended in relegation, and three championship losses, a sequence of games which has brought us to this Saturday’s final ‘round robin’ fixture, versus Cavan at a neutral venue, and a game that unquestionably falls into the ‘must win’ category from a Roscommon perspective.

Earlier this week I caught up with Roscommon manager Davy Burke, who will be under pressure to deliver an overdue win in this critical final game of Group B.

I first raised the injuries to key players Ben O’Carroll and Enda Smith.

Davy Burke: “Neither of them have trained since the Mayo match. Our medical team is working away with them and we won’t know (if they are available to play) until the last minute, but I’d say it is probably 50-50 at this stage for both. We will give them every chance ahead of the match this weekend”.

The manager stayed true to his comments after the recent two-point defeat to Mayo, stating that his team haven’t had many breaks in big games this season.

“We have been playing well enough this year in all our games and we came back well against Mayo the last day. Some of the (refereeing) calls went against us, but look, we have plenty of work to do ourselves and we have been doing that. The defeat against Mayo was disappointing but we just have to move on now.

“Since I began my tenure with Roscommon we have played Cavan three or four times in challenge games and any time we play there is never much between the teams. But now it’s a knockout championship game. There will probably be only a kick of a ball between the teams and hopefully that will come down on our side”.

The manager knows full well that this is the last chance saloon for Roscommon this season.

“There is no back door or side door now – this is the real championship. We have to turn up in Longford on Saturday and win the game. Nothing else matters now.

“Pearse Park is a tight ground and there is always a good atmosphere there with the crowd very close to the pitch. Our lads are hungry for a win. It’s been a while since we tasted victory.

“We are a decent side and if we work hard and get the bounce of the ball on the day we can win this. We want as many Rossies to come out and follow us as possible” he concluded.