Roscommon SFC throws in this weekend
Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC (Round One)
Game of the Weekend
Strokestown v Roscommon Gaels in Elphin at 5.30 pm
Strokestown have flattered to deceive so many times in the past that their supporters must be very frustrated because they certainly have plenty of very good footballers. This year they are without the likes of Thomas Corcoran, Cathal Compton, Kevin Finn and Ian Rogers who are all away. There is also a doubt about the participation of Sean Mullooly who has a back problem. In that case Strokestown will be under pressure.
But Roscommon Gaels have pulled up no trees this year either. James McDermott and Cian Connolly have been big losses to the town team although Kieran Kilcline and Brian Kelly are back from long-term injuries. There are doubts about the fitness of new recruit Ronan Carolan, and Mark Healy who pulled up against Clann na nGael last Sunday with a hamstring problem.
There are also rumours that Scott Oates and Cian Connolly may be back in time to feature on Saturday, which would be a big boost to the town team.
But with John McManus, David O’Gara, James Featherston, Paul Gleeson and young Peter Gillooly on board, the town team should have enough to open their campaign with a win. Two experienced managers will clash with Liam McNeill (Gaels) and Nigel Dineen (Strokestown) in charge. There won’t be much in it.
Prediction: Roscommon Gaels
Elphin v St Brigid’s at 7.15 pm in Elphin
St. Brigid’s’ star has slipped in recent years while Elphin will be hoping to cause a shock on home ground. There are doubts about the availability of Senan Kilbride, and if he is absent Brigid’s will be without their talisman for the past decade at least. He has been such a magnificent servant for them. Brigid’s will be hoping that their younger brigade will be able to step up although they have huge shoes to fill. Niall McInerney, Ian Kilbride, Brian Stack, Mark Daly and Peter Domican will carry the flag for Brigid’s on Saturday.
Elphin always have a scoring threat with the Creggs to the fore, and with Aaron Brady in goal and Shane Killoran supplying quality, the home side will be hoping to get their campaign off to a good start. Brigid’s might just have enough.
Prediction: St Brigid’s
Fuerty v St. Croan’s in Fuerty at 7.15 pm
Both sides will be looking at this game as a ‘must win’. Malachy Gately is back at the helm in Fuerty and with Niall Kilroy and the Lyons’ brothers prominent, the home side will be hoping to start their campaign with a win.
It was reported this week that Ross Timothy will be missing for Croan’s and he would be a huge loss. Michael Holland, Maurice Connaughton and Shane Lannon will have vital roles to play for Croan’s but it looks like a home win to me.
Michael Glavey’s v St. Faithleach’s in Fuerty at 5.30 pm
A definite contender for game of the weekend here. With five players on the county panel this year, Glavey’s should be in good shape for this vital clash. The loss through injury of Cathal Heneghan robs Glavey’s of one of the best young players in the county but with Gary Patterson, Conor Hussey, Caoileann Fitzmaurice and Darren O’Malley on board Glavey’s will be hoping for a good start.
Faithleach’s have been going along well and have qualified for the O’Rourke Cup final. Ciaráin Murtagh will not be back from Boston this weekend and he would be a major loss. Diarmuid Murtagh will be there as will new recruit Darren Carberry who has been a big success since he arrived into the Faithleach’s attack. The Ballyleague men look to have several exciting options in attack but they are suspect in defence. Without Ciaráin Murtagh Glavey’s have a chance here.
Prediction: A draw
Clann na nGael v Western Gaels in Johnstown at 7 pm
The champions open their campaign with a tough game against Western Gaels at home. Clann will be without Ultan Harney, Jack Connaughton and Fergal Lennon and those are three top-class players who they can ill afford to lose. Donie Shine is back in training and came on against Roscommon Gaels in the league last Sunday, which is good news for him. Ciaran Lennon and Shane Pettit are playing well and Clann will be looking to some of their younger players, especially in the early rounds.
Western Gaels will be without Ciaran Cafferky who is injured and will be relying on the old guard like Cathal Cregg, Kevin Higgins, Seanie McDermott and Fintan Cregg. With Frankie Dolan on board in the backroom team I expect that ‘The Gaels’ will be very sharp up front but it is further back that there may be problems. I am giving a depleted Clann side a hesitant nod to win narrowly here.
Prediction: Clann na nGael
Boyle v Pádraig Pearses in Boyle at 7.15 pm
It’s hard to believe that Pearses have never won a Roscommon senior title but I suspect that this year will be one of the best chances that they have ever had of breaking their duck. With the three Daly brothers, Davy Murray and Hubert Darcy all on the county panel and the likes of Mark Richardson, Niall Carty, Seanie Fahy and Paul Carey to back them up, Pat Flanagan’s team will never have a better chance to bring the Fahy Cup back to Taughmaconnell and Moore with a lot of their main rivals struggling with injuries, absentees and poor form.
Boyle at home are very dangerous team. Donie and Enda Smith, Cian McKeon, Seanie Purcell, and Tadgh McKenna are all top-class performers but it remains to be seen if they can take on a team like Pearses and get enough scores to turn them over.
Make no mistake, Pearses will have to be about their business if they want to win here on Saturday night but they should be good enough.
Prediction: Pádraig Pearses