Juniors aim for Connacht title

Connacht Junior Final Roscommon v Leitrim  (at Pearse Stadium, Galway on Sunday at 2 pm) Seamus Duke Roscommon’s junior footballers can get the day off to a good start for the travelling fans on Sunday next in Salthill when they face Leitrim in the Connacht junior final which is the curtain-raiser to the senior game between Roscommon and Galway.   Roscommon beat Mayo by four points in a highly competitive semi-final in Ballinlough but team manager Mick Jordan and selector Jim Gaffney will have to do without a number of the players that were part of that win against Mayo.   Certainly out will be Conor Devanney and John Rogers who have been named on Michael Ryan’s senior team and there are a few of the substitutes on the senior team that will not be able to take part so the starting line up will not be decided until very close to throw-in time.   I spoke to Roscommon manager Mick Jordan recently and he was well aware that he will be unsure of his line-up until close to the day.   ‘That’s the nature of this job and I have no problem with that. We have been working closely with Michael Ryan and we will work on that basis, which is fine’ he told People Sport.     ‘We were happy with the way we played against Mayo in the semi-final but after a good start we fell down in the middle of the game but we picked it up well in the final quarter to win fairly well’ he said.   ‘It’s nice to be in a Connacht final. It is a great chance for players to play on a big day and in a provincial final. These are players who may not have had a chance to play in one and it’s an opportunity for Roscommon to win some silverware. That doesn’t happen very often. I can bet you that Leitrim will be taking this game seriously – and so will we’ he said.   ‘Leitrim will be a hard nut to crack. They put up a score of 2-15 against a Sligo team who have several senior players in their ranks and I know that they have been training seperately so we know that they will be good and they will probably enter this game as favourites – however we will give it everything and I hope that the supporters come early to support us’ he concluded.    Donal Ward, Ray Cox and Ronan Brady were the full-back line in the semi- final and they should feature there again on Sunday. David Flynn and James McKeague are sure to be in the half-back line while Brian Higgins and Martin Reynolds will be at midfield.   Kevin Higgins, Cathal McHugh, Fintan Cregg, Robbie Gaynor and Brian Cregg are all expected to feature up front in a side that is a good blend of younger and more experienced players who have plenty of inter-county experience.   Leitrim have also have players with plenty of know-how and lads like Brendan McGuckian, Daniel Beck, Daniel Lowe, Emmett Lee, John McGuinness, Noel Doonan and Seamus Maguire all have plenty of senior experience.    Leitrim are managed by the very capable and experienced Martin McGowan who has been involved with many Leitrim teams over the years and the Allen Gaels man will have his charges ready for the fray on Sunday.   I expect that this could be a tight, tough and exciting game and Roscommon should have the players to get the day off to a good start.  Prediction: Roscommon.