Enda Smith back as Rossies bid for first league points

The pressure game

Allianz National Football League Division One:
Roscommon v Galway at Dr Hyde Park on Sunday at 2 pm

Even at this early stage of the competition – and with an eye on matches to come – Sunday’s fixture between Roscommon and Galway could reasonably be labelled a ‘must win’ game for both sides.

Roscommon will be hoping to have a number of players back on the panel for this game. Enda Smith will definitely return following his one-match suspension. Brian Stack, Ben O’Carroll and the likes of Ruaidhri Fallon should also be available, which would be a clear boost for the home side. Cathal Heneghan may require another week.

Against Mayo last Sunday, Galway looked way off the pace. They struggled badly up front where they missed Damien Comer at full-forward, and indeed were second best all over the field.

Liam Silke is back in the Galway fold but has not been named in any panel of 26 so far, while Niall Daly had to go off with an injury after only 19 minutes against Mayo.

Galway of course have many excellent performers. John Daly, Kieran Molloy, John Maher, Johnny Heaney, Shane Walsh and Matthew Tierney have all been around the block several times, but there was a strange lethargy about the Tribesmen last Sunday. They will certainly hope that the injury to Damien Comer is not too serious.

Roscommon were poor in the second half against Tyrone. The energy levels seemed to be down and Davy Burke and his selectors will have to work hard on that this week. However, the return of three or four leading players will be a big help.

Roscommon will have to improve at midfield, Dylan Ruane and Keith Doyle having struggled against Tyrone. Donie Smith, Cian Connolly and Daire Cregg were in good form up front, but Davy Burke will be hoping for more from Conor Cox, Ciaran Lennon and Diarmuid Murtagh. Hopefully Ben O’Carroll will be back and fit to play.

Niall Higgins, Davy Murray, Eoin McCormack and Niall Daly did well in defence, but Brian Stack’s return is clearly desirable.

Last Sunday’s second-half display will not suffice this weekend, but I have a feeling that we will see a different Roscommon this time around.

Galway were extremely poor against Mayo last Sunday and it remains to be seen if they can be transformed in a week. I may be wrong, but Padraic Joyce appears to have far more problems on his hands at the moment than Davy Burke does. With home advantage, I think Roscommon will win.

Prediction: Roscommon.