Senior Football Championship throws in this weekend!

Clubs renew parish rivalries this weekend

Ahead of the start of the 2023 Roscommon club football championships, Seamus Duke takes a look at some of the mouth-watering fixtures down for decision this weekend…

‘Game of the Weekend’

Boyle v Roscommon Gaels (Group A) on Saturday in Boyle at 4 pm

It was a toss-up for top billing between this match and the clash of St Brigid’s and Pádraig Pearses in Kiltoom.

The recently crowned O’Rourke Cup champions, Roscommon Gaels, travel to face last year’s league winners and championship finalists Boyle in what should be an ultra competitive championship opener.

There will be plenty of star quality on offer as Enda and Donie Smith, Cian McKeon, Daire Cregg, Peter Gillooly, John McManus, Cian Connolly, to name just a few, take the field.

Boyle were unlucky not to have won the Fahey Cup in 2022 and they will come back this year eager to go one better. No one will dispute they have the best attack in the county but they have been suspect in defence in recent years.

The Gaels will go into the game as underdogs but will relish the challenge on Saturday. There won’t be a lot in it. Prediction: Boyle.

Elsewhere in Group A, Western Gaels and St Faithleach’s meet in Frenchpark on Friday night (7.30 pm). The sides look evenly matched. Home advantage might give the Gaels a slight advantage.

Group B

Having battled so long to get up into the senior ranks, St Dominic’s make their first senior appearance in a number of years when they welcome Michael Glavey’s to Knockcroghery on Friday night (7.30 pm). This looks a very competitive match but if Glavey’s can pick as close to their strongest team for the match they may just be strong enough to win it.

Many people are tipping St Brigid’s to regain the Fahey Cup in 2023 and you can easily make a case for them. They open their account with a very tough game against old rivals Pádraig Pearses on Saturday night in Kiltoom (7.30 pm). With the likes of Brian Stack, Eddie Nolan, Ben O’Carroll, Shane Cunnane, Ruaidhri Fallon and Robbie Dolan from the county senior squad, they have to be on everyone’s shortlist.

But Pearses will be determined to show that they are far from finished as a force in Roscommon club football. With the Dalys, Davy Murray, Paul Carey, and a host of excellent young players on board, they will have a major say in the destination of the championship this year. Brigid’s get the nod however on home turf.

Group C

Champions Strokestown head to Johnstown on Saturday (5 pm) to begin the defence of their title in what is an interesting clash.

Clann have not been going well this year and this will present ‘The Town’ with a great chance of getting their championship season off to a winning start. They won the O’Gara Cup recently and although they are short a number of players from their championship winning team, they will still be a difficult team to beat.

Clann, who desperately need a boost from somewhere, couldn’t have asked for a tougher first round match than this one. Strokestown to edge it.

Meanwhile, Oran were disappointed to have lost to Roscommon Gaels in the O’Rourke Cup final but they should get their championship campaign off to a winning start when they face Tulsk on Saturday in Creggs (7.15 pm). Sean Staunton’s men look to have too much firepower in this one.