Burke: ‘We’re going to Tralee to win’

Rossies renew old rivalry with All-Ireland champions

Allianz NFL Division One (Round 6): Kerry v Roscommon on Saturday in Austin Stack Park, Tralee at 7.30 pm

Davy Burke. Pic: Bernie O’Farrell

The rivalry between Roscommon and Kerry goes back a long, long way and it always seems that when the teams meet it’s in a big game. While this might not be a major championship match, it is still a vital league fixture and both sides will be looking to secure the two points on offer.

Put simply, Kerry must win following their defeats against Donegal, Tyrone and Mayo. Jack O’Connor and his men may not have all guns blazing this league campaign but they won’t want to fall through the relegation trap door either. You can therefore expect a very strong Kingdom line-up this Saturday.

Speaking to People Sport this week, Roscommon manager Davy Burke said his side was looking forward to visiting the Kingdom.

“To be visiting the All-Ireland champions on their own patch is very exciting and we are going there to give a good account of ourselves,” he said.

“The lads have been great; they never got carried away when we won the three games in a row at the start of the campaign and equally they weren’t too down when we lost the last two which is a great sign.

“We need a point to be absolutely certain of staying in this division and we want to wrap that up in Tralee and that’s our intention. We are going there to win,” he concluded.

On the team news front, Cian McKeon is back in training and he could feature this weekend, but apart from that, the panel remains largely unchanged.

Kerry start as red-hot favourites to win but there recent form is the cause of some doubt. They were deservedly beaten by a resurgent Tyrone in their last outing.

Roscommon, on the other hand, have started slowly in four of their five games so far. But while second-half revivals were enough to beat Tyrone, Armagh and Galway, the Mayo game showed that Burke’s men must produce a 75-minute performance in Tralee to have any hope of a result.

These are the games that any footballer worth his salt wants to play in; against the All-Ireland champions in their own back yard and in front of a national TV audience.

To borrow a phrase from the late, great Kerry legend Páidí Ó Sé, “A grain of rice will tip the scale…but you will have to be steely tough upstairs and you must be willing to break your gut”.

If the Roscommon players heed those wise words and adopt a similar attitude then they could be in with a chance of an upset this Saturday in Tralee.

Prediction: Kerry.