Hurlers hoping long trek to Donegal will yield League title triumph

Allianz National Hurling League Division 3A Final: On Saturday in Ballyshannon at 4 pm

Roscommon hurlers face Monaghan in the National League Division 3A Final on Saturday and on the back of a high-scoring unbeaten run hopes will be high that Roscommon can add some more silverware to the trophy cabinet in their bid for promotion.

  However, victory will not ensure promotion as there will be a further play-off required before that ambition can be realised.

  Roscommon have had a poor enough record against Monaghan in recent years but they addressed that this year with a good victory earlier in the campaign. Roscommon put up 4-13 last Sunday against Tyrone, and they have been scoring freely – which is very positive.

  Roscommon manager Justin Campbell has been warning this week that there is very little between Roscommon and Monaghan. He has also questioned the suitability of the venue fixed for Saturday’s final.

  “We are delighted to be in the final but the venue is totally unsuitable for both sides. We have lads coming from Dublin and it is out of the way for Monaghan too. Surely there is a more suitable venue available that would be more convenient to both counties. Having said that, we want to win the game regardless of where it is held.

  “I was very happy with our display against Tyrone last weekend. It was great to see Ian Delaney back from injury. It meant that we could move Alan Moore to midfield and Tomas Seale into the attack and it strengthened the team overall. We are missing Jason Kilkenny this weekend. He is out of the country and he will be a loss, but we will have everyone else fit and rearing to go.

  “I was just a bit disappointed that we didn’t close out the game against Tyrone with a bit more conviction. It is something that we will be working on.

  “We have to be wary of Monaghan. We only beat them by four or five points (this season) – and they had a lot of wides that day – so there is not a lot between us. A final is a final and they will travel confident that they can win. But this is where we wanted to be and we want to win this title and the lads are determined to do well,” he concluded.

  The choice of venue does not make any sense to me either. The authorities are bringing both teams out of their way for this final and it smacks of trying to get it out of the way as soon as possible, with a real sense of ‘anywhere will do’. Surely there is a better and more suitable venue that would be agreeable to both counties and which would facilitate supporters as well. That having been said, it is game that Roscommon can win. The return of Ian Delaney will strengthen the defence, and with Peter Kellehan, Shane Curley and Micheal Kelly there as well, it looks like a settled rearguard.

  Up front, Jerry Fallon will once again be the free-taker, while Ronan O’Meara will be hoping to continue his goal-scoring exploits. The likes of Cillian Egan and Adrian Murphy will be hoping to get the vital scores to bring Roscommon victory.

  Roscommon have not been spectacular in the hurling league this year but they have been unbeaten and have played well at times. Before this competition started the aim of players and management was to contest this final and win it. They can complete that job on Saturday.

Prediction: Roscommon, by 6 points.