The Roscommon CBS team is managed by Eoghan Coll along with selectors Sean Adamson, Simon Kelly, Noel Moran and Kieran Hughes, and they have steered the team though a tricky at times Connacht campaign, through the All-Ireland semi-final and into Saturday’s final.
The manager spoke to People Sport on Tuesday and realises full well that while his team are good enough to win this All-Ireland, they will have to go out and play well on the day if they are to bring home the Paddy Drummond Cup.
“Preparations are going well. We have no injury concerns. We are training this week on Tuesday and Thursday and we will be ready to go on Saturday and hopefully all will go to plan. We have a bit of preparation work done on Sliabh Luchra and hopefully we will be able to get at them on the day and get the scores to win the match.
“The most positive thing for us during the campaign is that we came through the tests that we had against Carrick-on-Shannon, St. Muredach’s and Downpatrick. It can be easy after a massive win to think you are better than you are. In every game, we focussed on getting the match-ups right and making sure our intensity was right too. We had to work hard and when the pressure was on we managed to see it through and hopefully we can do that again on Saturday,” he said.
Coll was happy to have such a settled team but insisted that places remained up for grabs ahead of Saturday’s showpiece.
“We have a settled team and that’s positive, but even this week I can honestly say that the team for the final isn’t picked yet. We will look at how training goes this week and then we will decide. The players know that, but there are some lads pushing really hard for places and who have come on and done really well. Charlie Carthy came on in the semi-final and scored two crucial points. Aodha Hession and others are also showing up well and there are plenty of lads who have been able to slot in when we are missing a player or two throughout the year.
“My job this week, apart from the tactical stuff, is to ensure that the lads play the football that they are capable of playing. We have to play the game rather than the occasion. We went up to Croke Park on Monday to acclimatise to the surroundings and it was no harm to see the run of the place. I would be saying to them to enjoy it but there is a game of football to be played and we have to try and block out all the ‘stuff’ associated with playing in an All-Ireland final. The players will have to deal with that because they will be playing with Roscommon in the future and they have to get used to that kind of thing but my job is to keep them focussed on the game,” he said.
So it all comes down to Saturday for this talented CBS side, and their manager is confident in their ability to bring another All-Ireland title back to the school.
“This is a team that are capable of winning this All-Ireland title but being capable of winning it and actually doing it are two different things. It’s the nuts and bolts of the game that will decide. We have to get the match-ups and the intensity right.
“When under pressure you have to dig in and minimise the scores you concede. When you are having a bad patch, not to concede too much during that spell is what will win us the game. We have spoken about that all year. Stopping goals going in and protecting the scoring zone is so important. I think we have actually got better at that as the year has gone on.
“The lads are delighted to be in this final. They are buzzing and they are really excited about it…it’s great to see that. It’s every kid’s dream to go up and play in Croke Park in an All-Ireland final. I wouldn’t have any fears about these lads. A lot of them have played at the top level for the county U-17s, and at club level. I don’t think that the occasion will get to them but we will know more on Saturday,” he concluded.