Roscommon v Sligo in Kiltoom on Wednesday, 22nd March at 7.30 pm:
Roscommon face a tough challenge when they host Sligo in the Connacht U-21 semi-final in Kiltoom on Wednesday night next. Roscommon will be favourites to win but Sligo will travel with confidence followng some very good displays in the North West Cup earlier in the year which included a win against All-Ireland champions Mayo, however Mayo defeated Sligo in the final of that competition.
Roscommon’s Hastings Cup displays were mixed with the team going out of the competition proper, however they recovered to win the shield beating Westmeath in the final by a point after extra-time.
Adrian Dockery is the Roscommon U-21 team manager and the Western Gaels man says that the squad is looking forward to the challenge in Kiltoom and he played down any rumours of some breaches of discipline in recent weeks.
“Any problems that there may have been in terms of discipline have been dealt with in-house and everyone is now singing off the same hymn sheet. There was nothing serious and we are satisfied with how we have prepared and are focussing on the Sligo game which is the most important thing.
“We are happy enough with our preparations and we are getting ready for a tough game. Sligo are a very good team and we will have to play very well to beat them. They reached the final of the North West Cup and beat Mayo en route so they will pose a significant threat and it’s their best U-21 team in seven or eight years but we will be ready for the challenge.
“We played Armagh, Tipperary, Limerick, Donegal and the Roscommon seniors in recent challenge games and we have developed our play and thankfully we have no injuries. It’s a great chance for the team to get to the Connacht final and we are looking forward to the game.
“We have a number of experienced players like Cian McKeon, Hubert Darcy, Brian Stack and Aengus Lyons to name a few that we will be hoping can lead us to victory. Sligo will be confident but we are determined to win through to the final,” he concluded.
Roscommon will be relying on the likes of Regan Fahey in goal, Michael Cox, and Aidan Dowd in defence. Gearoid Keenan and Hubert Darcy may well be the midfield partnership with Aengus Lyons operating in a sweeping role. Up front, Brian Stack, Cian McKeon, John Gannon and Aidan Brogan are expected to feature.
Sligo will have some very solid performers on show like Luke Nicholson and Sean Power in defence. Paul Kilcoyne at midfield. Up front, the prolific free taker Paddy O’Connor and Sligo senior player Kyle Cawley will also expect to be prominent.
This will be a very tough assignment for Roscommon and Sligo will come expecting to win. If Roscommon can get at least a share of the spoils at midfield, the home attack looks potent enough to get the scores to win it. But I am expecting a titanic struggle.
Prediction: Roscommon – narrowly.
Note: Exclusive match report coverage in next week’s Roscommon People!