Next stop the Group of Death

Roscommon players, management and fans await the draw for the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers with a sense of some foreboding following the county senior team’s hugely disappointing failure to qualify for the Connacht final on Sunday last.    The draw for the first round of the qualifiers will be made in Carrick-on-Shannon this Sunday after the Leitrim v Galway Connacht SFC semi-final.    Roscommon lost by 0-13 to 2-5 to Sligo at Dr. Hyde Park in Sunday’s first Connacht semi-final.    The qualifier group, to use soccer parlance of recent years, might reasonably be described as a ‘Group of Death’, such is the quality of the teams involved.    The teams in the draw will be Armagh, Westmeath, Mayo, Kildare, Meath, Donegal, Louth, Longford, Limerick, Fermanagh, Down, Cavan, Leitrim or Galway and Monaghan or Derry and Roscommon and Dublin (only if they lose on Sunday).    It’s an open draw and the draw will be made on a home and away basis. The games will be played on Saturday 7th July.   Roscommon manager John Maughan, who admitted that he and his players were shattered by Sunday’s loss – in a game in which Roscommon let a six-point lead slip – said of the qualifiers:  ‘It’s going to be very difficult to pick it up again to be honest.’    See match report and reaction inside.