Epic effort can deliver cup for Roscommon

Roscommon’s camogie team will play in Croke Park for the first time in 19 years when they face Laois in the All-Ireland Junior Final on Sunday.

This final appearance is a reward for the very hard work which has been put in by the team since the arrival of the management team of Noel Finn and Noel Murphy in June.

The Galway lads have transformed the training and attitude of the players who have readily bought into their methods and now they stand one step away from a major All-Ireland victory. Roscommon camogie operates from a very small base and to be in this All-Ireland final is a major achievement.

The victory for the Roscommon minor girls in the ‘C’ championship earlier this year has given the junior team a further boost and a number of those young players have joined the Junior squad for this championship.

In the group games Roscommon drew with Limerick and beat Armagh and Westmeath while losing to Dublin and Laois. However in the semi-final Roscommon played their best game of the year and they reversed a ten-point loss in the earlier championship game to record an excellent four-point win.

The feeling in the camp is that the result against Laois can be reversed too on Sunday. Roscommon have a nice blend of youth and experience on their team. Caroline Connaughton is a top class net-minder and she will bring an assurance and confidence to the last line of defence.

In the Roscommon full-back line Carmel Killeen and Aisling Byrne are likely to flank the team captain Siobhan Coyle. The half-back line are likely to be Susan Spillane, Elaine Daly and possibly Joanne Beattie.

At midfield there are a number of options but Rachel Fitzmaurice and Niamh Coyle look the most likely combination there.

Up front Kelley Hopkins, Annette McGeeney, Margaret Fannon, Claire Curley, Rebecca Brennan and Niamh Farrell are likely to start with Fiona Connell and Maeve Brennan also likely to be involved.

It is a strong looking Roscommon team and amongst those mentioned are players who can line out and are comfortable in a variety of positions. Laois will be tough opposition. They have been beaten in the last two junior finals and they will feel that their time has come.

They have been excellent in this championship so far and included in their run was an easy win against Roscommon. Laois have stars in the likes of Louise Mahony, Elaine Delaney, Amy Loughman, Sarah Ann Fitzgerald and Laura Marie Maher.

Having seen at first-hand the training that the Roscommon girls have been doing and the way that they have responded to the arrival of Noel Finn and Noel Murphy into the management set-up, I am confident that they will go to Croke Park with a big chance on Sunday.

The team is fitter and more organised then they were when the championship started. If Roscommon can maintain their rate of improvement from the Dublin game, and if the occasion does not get to the players, they can rattle Laois and make history by becoming the first Roscommon team ever to win a major All-Ireland camogie title in the modern era.

People Sport Prediction: Roscommon.