Mixed weekend for the Rossies – Seamus Duke Column

It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for Roscommon teams. The senior footballers got a tough workout against NUIG in Elphin but it was a very enjoyable game. NUIG might be a little short up front but they are well organised and they have a very strong midfield partnership of Conor O’Shea and Peter Cooke. I am expecting them to do well in Sigerson but they might be just a little short of attacking quality to actually win it.

  Roscommon worked ever so hard and it is obvious that they are in hard training at the moment. The big target is the Monaghan game on the 31st of January but there will be a fair bit of interest in the match against Mayo this coming Sunday. A defeat would not be the end of the world but the management and the fans will be looking for signs ahead of the start of the league that Roscommon will be able to compete. Roscommon are still without a large number of injured players but the likes of Enda Smith will be eligible to play on Sunday next, which is welcome.

  Mayo are still very much the team to beat and they have such a huge following that there will be a big crowd at this game regardless of where it is held on Sunday.

  It will be interesting to see the Roscommon line-up. It will give a good clue as to what the shape of the team will be for the league opener two weeks later. A win would put Roscommon into the FBD League final but that might not be a great thing going into two massive games against Monaghan and Kerry. More after next Sunday’s game.  

  The U-21 footballers are struggling a little bit but it has to be said that the panel has been decimated by injury and by the fact that there are so many players doing exams and playing with their colleges.

  The Hastings Cup is well down the priority list this year as Mark Dowd and his selectors and players prepare for what will be a very tough game against Galway in early March.

  Connacht is arguably the most competitive province in the country at U-21 level as Mayo (who won the minor All-Ireland three years ago) Roscommon, and Galway all have really strong teams this year.  

  Mayo are playing in the North West League this year and they have scored two big wins already but in case any Roscommon fans are getting worried there are at least 20 players to come into the Roscommon panel over the next month or two. The two losses in the Hastings Cup so far have been disappointing but the total focus is on Kiltoom and Galway in early March.