LOUTH AND CLEAR!

Campbell’s message is clear – ‘our target is promotion’
Allianz National Hurling League Division 3A: Roscommon v Louth at Darver, Co. Louth on Sunday at 2 pm

Roscommon manager Justin Campbell says he will be short about nine players for this weekend’s National Hurling League opener.

  Roscommon’s hurlers begin their 2016 league campaign on Sunday in Louth and will be  hoping it ends with promotion to add to the great win in the Nicky Rackard Cup in 2015.

  Preserving their status in the Christy Ring Cup and promotion in this league will be the priorities for Justin Campbell and his men this year – and it is certainly very achievable.

  “We will have to be very careful in this game with the amount of players we are missing. Ian Delaney Jamie Lawlor, Tomas Seale, Cillian Egan, and Johnny Moran are extremely doubtful. Ronan O’Meara is out and Keith Kilkenny is not involved this year and Declan Leonard is in Australia, so we are short a lot of players.

 “Because of the bad weather we have been doing a lot of gym work and Cathal Murray and Nigel Shaughnessy have joined our backroom team to help us with coaching and training in general.

  “We want to get promoted out of this group but we will have to be very careful with this opening game. We will have a lot of younger players starting, so it will not be easy. But we are looking forward to the campaign and hopefully starting with a win”, Jason concluded.

  It is vital that Roscommon make a winning start. Looking at the teams in this division, Tyrone look the strongest side and the game against them is Roscommon’s final fixture and it’s at home as well.

  The Nicky Rackard Cup win will have given Roscommon a great boost going into this league and anything other than a win here would be a disastrous start for them.

  There are some new faces in the panel this year including Warren Boyle, Jason Martin and Tommy Doyle.

  Michael Kelly, Peter Kellehan, Shane Curley, Cathal Kelly, Gerry Fallon and Cathal Dolan, will all be involved for sure.

  Many of the players that helped Roscommon to the Nicky Rackard Cup victory are expected to be available again this year.

  With a home game against Monaghan the following weekend and further games against Fingal, Warwickshire and Tyrone on the horizon it would be a surprise if Roscommon are not promoted this year.

  The prospect of a Christy Ring Cup game against Derry in April will be the big focus after that.

  While the injury crisis will certainly affect Roscommon’s chances, anything other than a two-point haul after his game would be a shock.

Prediction: Roscommon.