If one was to sum up the attitude of Anthony Cunningham in the run-up to Saturday’s match in one word, it would be ‘caution’. Roscommon will go into the game as very warm favourites, but despite an excellent league campaign, the Roscommon manager is expecting Sligo to provide a tough examination of his team’s credentials.
“The league campaign was great for the confidence of the players and morale in the squad is high after it. It was great that we put in a good display in Croke Park as well, but this is a new competition and we have to be cautious and pay full attention to this game because I’m certain it will be a difficult assignment”.
Roscommon have had a good year so far in terms of minimising injuries, for which the manager is grateful.
“We have had a good run recently but Richard Hughes is still a doubt. He has a back injury and that (injury) takes a while to clear up. Everyone else is fine”.
The Roscommon manager played down any suggestion that Sligo were unimpressive in New York, commenting that it’s not easy to get a win in Gaelic Park.
“New York have given Mayo, Roscommon and Leitrim a lot of trouble out there in recent years. I watched the match between Sligo and New York and was impressed with the way Sligo went about their business. They have some really fine players and the likes of Sean Carabine, Niall Murphy, Pat Hughes and Darragh Cummins would get their place on any team. They have 70 minutes of championship football under their belts and that will be a big benefit to them so we will have to be on top of our game to win”.
It’s been a surreal period in Sligo GAA circles, something the Roscommon manager alluded to. Noting that Sligo’s recent Connacht U-20 title win is a big boost to the GAA in the county, Mr. Cunningham reiterated his sympathies to the family of Red Óg Murphy, a rising star of Sligo GAA, whose tragic death occurred recently.
Roscommon have had a very settled team over the past few months and although there probably won’t be too many selection surprises this weekend, Anthony Cunningham has been emphasising the importance of a strong squad for the season ahead.
“We have had a settled team but we have got game time into players like Cathal Heneghan, who was coming back from injury. Lads like Ciarain and Diarmuid Murtagh and the Pearses players are back fully fit so we need to have as many options as we can”.
As to the fate of his team on Saturday, the Roscommon manager says that if Roscommon can produce a performance in harmony with their recent form, they can emerge victorious.
“We know that unless we are at the top of our game, we won’t be winning on Saturday. But if we play to our strengths we would be hopeful that we can be victorious…but I can assure you that this game will be a lot closer than many people think. I just hope we come out the right side of it”.