Allianz National Hurling League Division 2B: Roscommon v Wicklow on Sunday in Athleague at 12.30 pm
A new era for Roscommon hurling begins on Sunday when Johnny Kelly takes charge of the senior team for the first time. After a highly successful term under Justin Campbell the home side begin what will be a tough league campaign after promotion last year.
The new Roscommon manager told the Roscommon People earlier this week that training had gone well ahead of the start of the season and that he is targeting winning their home games as a priority. However, a number of injuries have not helped preparations.
“We have been training away mainly at Athlone IT over the past couple of months and the response has been great. We have played four challenge games against Laois, Kildare, Athlone IT and GMIT and it was great chance to look at players. We are learning all the time and those games were very valuable in preparation” he said.
“We have been using a panel of about 30 players and I have great admiration for the players as a group. They are very enthusiastic and I could not question their commitment. But we have injuries to a number of players and that’s a bit of a drawback. Cathal Dolan, Jason Kilkenny and Robbie Fallon are all ruled out which is a pity and we have a few more injuries as well,” he said.
“We have added a few younger players too and we have a few who are with the Roscommon U-21 footballers so we have a big panel. This is a good tough division and the standard of the opposition will be good every week. We must target to win our home games and take it from there,” he added.
“Wicklow are a good side and they were in the Kehoe Cup final last weekend so they will be a tough nut to crack no doubt but what I want to see is a good Roscommon performance and of course a win too. It would be great to start with two points,” he concluded.
The loss (for the moment) of Micheal Kelly, Thomas Fetherston and Ian Delaney will be huge as none of the three have committed to the cause as of yet. But youth will certainly get its fling and despite being a step up, Roscommon should be good enough to start their campaign with a win ahead of what will be a very daunting trip to face Down in Ballycran on Sunday week.
Note: Remember that the game throws in at 12.30 pm.