London calling on Saturday as Rossies eye place in FBD final

FBD League quarter-final:
Roscommon 1-21 Sligo 0-15

New season, new dreams: Roscommon players pictured at The Dome last Friday night (photo courtesy of Roscommon GAA).

Roscommon senior footballers started their 2024 competitive campaign with a comfortable win against a very disappointing Sligo side in the Connacht GAA Air Dome last Friday night.

On the positive side for Roscommon manager Davy Burke and his selectors is the fact that they gave five players – Luke Glennon, Caelim Keogh, Declan Kenny, Senan Lambe and Jack Duggan – their debuts. All five did well, with Duggan, a recent recruit from Longford, scoring two excellent points.

However, Roscommon manager Burke would have learned little about his side’s prospects for this season given the poor quality of the opposition and given the nature of these games, played as they are indoors on an astro turf pitch.

Roscommon did all the damage in the first half when they were totally dominant. Niall Daly and Enda Smith were in control at midfield while Cian Connolly was outstanding as a link man between defence and attack. Up front, Daire Cregg looked very sharp and Diarmuid Murtagh, Donie Smith and the returning Cathal Heneghan were also very prominent.
Roscommon cruised into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead after 10 minutes with Daire Cregg (2), Diarmuid Murtagh (2), and Jack Duggan on target. With the score at 0-8 to 0-3 in the 19th minute, Cathal Heneghan was clean through on goal but was hauled down by Sligo full-back Evan Lyons who got a black card for his efforts. The floodgates opened between that point and half-time as Roscommon outscored their opponents by 1-6 to 0-1.

The game’s only goal came in the 26th minute, a brilliant score manufactured and finished in Boyle. Enda Smith made a strong run down the right and crossed in low and hard. Daire Cregg came steaming in and flicked the ball to the net soccer-style. Mo Salah or Erling Haaland would have been proud of the finish, which helped Roscommon into a 1-13 to 0-4 lead at the break.

Both sides ran their benches in the second half and it has to be said that Sligo were much better in that period. However, the game had already gone from them, and Roscommon could always keep the scoreboard ticking over with the arrival of players like Ronan Daly, Conor Cox, Eoin McCormack and Davy Murray.

Roscommon will now look forward to a semi-final against London (surprise winners over Mayo) this  Saturday night (7 pm). That game will surely be a more searching test for Davy Burke’s team as they continue preparations for the big league opener against Tyrone at the end of the month.

Best for Roscommon on the night were Caelim Keogh, Declan Kenny, Cian Connolly, Daire Cregg, Enda Smith and Cathal Heneghan, while the presence of so many new players on the panel will give the management and supporters plenty to be enthusiastic about as the year takes shape.