Electric Ireland Connacht MFC (U-17) semi-final:
Mayo v Roscommon on Friday night at MacHale Park at 7pm
Roscommon’s minor footballers have a daunting task ahead of them when they take on Mayo in the provincial semi-final In Castlebar this Friday night.
When the teams met in the opening round of the competition at Dr Hyde Park, Mayo were far too good for James Duignan’s side, winning by 12 points (2-17 to 0-11). However, Roscommon have improved dramatically since, and good wins against Leitrim and Sligo have earned them a place in this semi-final.
The big question is whether Roscommon have improved enough to be able to give Mayo serious problems or even have a chance of winning.
Another serious drawback for Roscommon is the fact that their talisman, Niall Heneghan, looks likely to miss the match because of suspension, and if that is the case then the task ahead is even more severe.
Mayo and Galway have looked like the best teams in the competition, and Mayo were somewhat unfortunate to lose by a single point to Galway earlier in the campaign which meant they had to contest this semi-final while the Tribesmen await the winners in the final.
Roscommon will need all their leaders to show up on Friday night. Ryan Hanley, Eoghan Carthy, David Higgins, John McGuinness and Sean McDonnell were all outstanding against Sligo but they will need all that and more if Roscommon are to have a chance.
There is no doubt that Duignan’s charges have improved as this competition has progressed and they will relish another chance against Mayo to show that the result of that opening round match was not an accurate barometer of the status of both teams.
However, it is hard to see such a big gap being bridged and Mayo have to be favourites to advance to the final.