Deadly Dubs rout ragged Rossies

Even the most committed Roscommon fan was not expecting a win at headquarters last Saturday night, however a 21 point drubbing was not expected either and this forgettable league campaign cannot come to an end quickly enough for Roscommon players, management and fans. It was up there with the heaviest defeats we have seen over many years past.

  To their credit, the Roscommon players never gave up trying and they created at least five clear-cut goal chances throughout this game but in fairness that is in the clutching at straws department as the All-Ireland champions ruthlessly tore Roscommon apart, putting up a massive score in the process.

  The yawning gap between Roscommon and the rest of the teams in Division One is worrying, but equally worrying for every other team is the yawning gap between Dublin and the rest. They were approaching their best at times last Saturday night and on the evidence of what we saw here the Sam Maguire cup will be remaining in the capital come September. Who will beat them?

  After the opening 10 minutes, when Roscommon held their own, the floodgates opened after Paul Flynn’s goal in the 14th minute and after that it was one-way traffic as the Dubs attacked at will. Bernard Brogan and Paul Flynn were making their first starts of the year and they were lethal, with Flynn scoring 1-6 from play and returning to the form that won him four All Star awards in a row in recent times.

  Enda Smith was Roscommon’s best player. Conor Devaney kept plugging away to the bitter end and there were glimpses from Diarmuid Murtagh, Donie Smith and sub Cian Connolly, but Roscommon were under severe pressure in defence and at midfield.

  Roscommon were so far behind in terms of physicality and strength that Dublin were able to brush aside the challenges that were made and when Kevin McManamon waltzed through the beleaguered Roscommon defence in the 57th minute for Dublin’s second goal, he passed four Roscommon defenders en route. Kevin McStay said afterwards that Roscommon were three years behind the likes of Dublin in terms of strength and conditioning and that remains a major worry.

  This has been a disastrous league campaign for Roscommon and with an improving Cavan up next at Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday it could end up that Roscommon might not get any league points at all. Remember Cavan will be going all out for a win to give themselves a chance of avoiding relegation.

  After a great campaign last year in Division One, Roscommon have looked completely out of their depth in the division this year. There will be an 11-week gap between the end of the league and the start of the championship for Roscommon and they will need all that time to prepare for the challenges ahead.

  With regard to the league position, Division Two is a very competitive section. Every team there is trying desperately to be promoted and there is no guarantee that Roscommon can bounce straight back up again. The amount of criticism being aired at national level about Roscommon in recent weeks is doing no good at all for anyone and there are a lot of people from the county who are getting a national platform who should not be getting that platform. But that’s for another day.

  The facts are that Roscommon have struggled badly in the games against Mayo Monaghan and Dublin and it is a long road back to being competitive in this company.

  Just a word about Dublin, who broke the competitive unbeaten record on Saturday night. They are a magnificent team who play football in the right way. On Saturday night they brought four subs on in a ten minute period in the second half, namely: Diarmuid Connolly, Jack McCaffrey, Michael Darragh Macauley and Paul Mannion. Three Footballers of the Year and a possible future Footballer of the Year. It says it all. Other counties could only dream of such riches.