Mettle Men: Positive signs in Tuam




When push came to shove – and it did – the Roscommon players weren’t found wanting as they defended their FBD League title last Sunday against reigning Connacht champions Galway.

  Anthony Cunningham’s charges limited the Tribesmen to just six scores in a manner that will please those Roscommon supporters who made the trip to St. Jarlath’s Park in Tuam last weekend.

  This was much better in terms of an all-round Roscommon performance and it would seem that former Galway hurling manager Cunningham and his backroom team of Iain Daly and Mark Dowd have been working hard on the defensive frailties which were so evident throughout the Super 8s campaign last summer.

  Galway did manage to find a way through the Roscommon rear-guard on one occasion for Barry McHugh’s goal but more often than not found themselves repelled towards their own goal as Roscommon defended from the front. On a number of occasions, only one Primrose and Blue player could be found in the Galway half as Roscommon packed their midfield and their defence.

  While there may have been a move towards a more defensive gameplan, Cunningham’s charges countered to great effect with Enda and Donie Smith providing the perfect pivot in transition to attack.

  The way Roscommon set up last Sunday meant they were a much different proposition to the side which shipped eight goals and sixty-eight points in last year’s Super 8s. This was only one game, however, and any defensive improvement will have to be built on if the Rossies are to have any chance of surviving in Division One this year.

  For now though, those watching on in Tuam will be extremely encouraged by the steely, streetwise nature of Roscommon’s victory. It may have lacked some of the swashbuckling attacking play of previous years but it may just be what’s needed if the county is to be competitive against the very best teams in the country this year.