Ladies set for high stakes showdown

TG4 Ladies Football All-Ireland Intermediate Championship:
Roscommon v Kildare on Sunday at 2pm in Kiltoom

Roscommon Ladies footballers face a tough opening to their championship on Sunday when they face Kildare at Kiltoom. The sides met in Division Three semi-final a couple of months ago and on that occasion Roscommon prevailed by two points after a high-scoring game (4-9 to 1-16).

This Sunday’s showdown is difficult to predict as the form of both teams has been very mixed. Kildare went on to win the Leinster Intermediate Championship but last Sunday they were shocked by Longford in the first round of the All-Ireland championship, losing by 3-9 to 1-9 and that means that they have to beat Roscommon on Sunday or they will be out of contention for this year.

Roscommon’s form since the league has not been great either. In the Connacht championship they lost three of the four games they played and were beaten by Leitrim in the recent final.

  Manager Ollie Lennon says that it is vitally important that Roscommon open their campaign with a win but that it will be extremely difficult.

“We are looking forward to getting our championship underway but it will not be easy against Kildare. They were surprisingly beaten by Longford last Sunday so they are in the last chance saloon so they will be very dangerous opponents. Remember that they won the Leinster Intermediate championship recently too,” he said.

Lennon says Roscommon have prepared well since losing to Leitrim in the Connacht final two weeks ago: “This is a new competition and a new start for the panel. We have been lucky with injuries and Kate Nolan is our only long-term absentee which is very positive”.

Another boost for the panel is the return of world champion boxer Lisa O’Rourke to the panel.

“Lisa has been back training and it is great to have her. The girls on the panel are very proud of her achievements,” Lennon added.

“We want to get to a quarter-final and we can do that if we win this match on Sunday. It’s good to be playing at home and hopefully we will have a good crowd there to cheer us on,” he concluded.

Ollie’s charges, who have been boosted by the news that Niamh Feeney (pictured) was chosen as the LGFA Player of the Month for April, know that a win will put them through to the quarter-finals regardless of what happens against Longford the following weekend. The stakes are high but Roscommon should be good enough to deliver.

Prediction: Roscommon.