New era: Burke takes the reins for FBD clash

FBD League Semi-Final: Roscommon v Sligo at the NUIG Connacht GAA Air Dome on Friday at 7pm

Roscommon senior footballers start a new era under Kildare man Davy Burke when they face Sligo in the FBD League semi-final this Friday night. While the result of this match will not feature in the 2023 end of year highlights, it will be very interesting to see what Roscommon team is fielded given that there is a huge game just two weeks later against Tyrone in the opening round of the National Football League.

Speaking to the Roscommon People on Monday, new Roscommon manager Davy Burke says that he is very satisfied with how the players have responded since he took over the position before Christmas.

“We have been training away and the players have been improving all the time and we can’t ask for any more than that. We have been working with a panel of about 45 players up to now but we will be cutting that down to 40 or fewer in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

Injuries and a packed fixture list are fast becoming issues for the Roscommon boss: “We have a number of key players carrying knocks and we hope that they can return soon. We also have a number of our younger players playing Sigerson Cup matches over the next few weeks and that will affect our selection too but we will have to see how that goes,” he added.

Burke says Roscommon will be fielding their strongest available team on Friday night.

“We will have the strongest team that we have for the game against Sligo. The first round of the league against Tyrone is only two weeks away and that will be our major focus. We would hope to start with a win against Sligo,” he concluded.

Ultan Harney (travelling) and Ronan Daly (working in Dubai) are definitely out of the panel but on the plus side Tadgh O’Rourke and Cian Connolly have returned to the fold. There are a number of young players who have joined the panel this year, but with many of them playing Sigerson Cup over the next few weeks, their availability is not certain for the FBD League.

Sligo, under Tony McEntee, will be hoping to cause a surprise on Friday night. They were well beaten by Mayo in a challenge game in Ballina last week but they will hope to have a stronger team available for this clash.

In the second semi-final, Mayo face Galway on Saturday night at 7 pm following Galway’s big win against Leitrim last weekend. The final is fixed for Friday, January 20th.