No room for error as knockout action begins!

Senior Football Championship previews – Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC Quarter-Finals

Who’s in Action? Roscommon Gaels v Western Gaels

Where and When? Saturday in Enfield at 6 pm

The Prospects: Roscommon Gaels have blown hot and cold in this championship so far. They played well for one half against Clann na nGael, St. Brigid’s and Pádraig Pearses but not so well against Boyle and Castlerea. They will have to produce a performance for 60 minutes if they want to win this quarter-final. There is no doubt that they have plenty of good young players but their ability to perform in a knockout situation is in doubt after the experience of the past two years.

  There are injury doubts over David O’Gara and Paul Gleeson and if either or both were to miss this game it would be a huge blow to this young Gaels team. The performance of Cian Connolly in the Gaels attack will also be crucial.

  Western Gaels were breezing their way through Group B until they came unstuck against Elphin. They have loads of experienced players who have been on the road for a number of years although Donal Ward is out through suspension and he will be a big loss. Seanie McDermott, Ciaran Cafferky, Cathal Cregg, Finbar Cregg, Tommy Gill, Kevin Higgins, Niall Murray and Derek Moran have all been around the block several times but like Roscommon Gaels, Western Gaels have flattered to deceive on a number of occasions in the past when it comes to the big games.

Key Area? The battle at midfield between Roscommon Gaels duo Ciaran Kilcline and James McDermott and Barry Creighton and Niall Murray will be key. Both teams have good attackers but they will need possession to make it count.

The Outcome? A very hard game to predict here. Both sides will be confident of winning. Naturally, I will be hoping for a Roscommon Gaels’ win but Western Gaels might just have the edge when it comes to scoring power. Prediction: Western Gaels 

Who’s in Action? Boyle v St. Faithleach’s

Where and When? On Sunday in Kilglass at 3.45 pm

The Prospects: Few would have predicted this pairing but both sides are there on merit. I was ever so impressed by St. Faithleach’s who picked off a fancied Strokestown side to earn their quarter-final spot in the final round of group games.

  Senan O’Grady had a super game on his return to the team and with the Murtagh brothers, Darragh Hussey, Aidan Dooney and Dave Rooney also doing well they have plenty of experienced players.

  Boyle have been sensational in their last two games scoring an incredible total of 7-24 against Roscommon Gaels and Clann na nGael. The likes of Enda Smith, Tadgh McKenna, Cian McKeon, Seanie Purcell and Tadgh Lowe get the headlines but players like Roch Hanmore, Kieran Cox, Darren O’Connor and Dylan East have made a hugely significant contribution to Mick Jordan’s team this year so far. There is plenty of firepower in attack on both these sides.

Key Area? St. Faithleach’s have some potent attacking talent but Diarmuid Murtagh needs to rediscover his best form if the Ballyleague men are to have a chance. The key will be the Boyle defence and their ability to put the shackles on the Murtagh brothers. At the other end of the field Boyle look to have several aces in the pack and they have a range of scoring options.

The Outcome? While St. Faithleach’s will come into this game on a high after beating Strokestown, Boyle will come into the game brimming with confidence after two cracking championship wins.

  Boyle have flattered to deceive in the past but they look much more solid this year and with Seanie Purcell, Tadgh McKenna and Dylan East driving them on from the half-back line I expect them to win. Prediction: Boyle

Hodson Bay Hotel SFC Relegation Play-Off

St. Croan’s v Michael Glavey’s at Enfield on Sunday at 12 pm

The Prospects: In many ways this game is as important to the clubs involved as any of the other game on at the weekend as senior championship status is at stake. These clubs have won the last two intermediate titles and neither will want to be relegated.

  Glavey’s have done reasonably well on their return to senior ranks and in Andy Glennon they have a real talisman. But Croan’s have still many of the players that helped the club to an All-Ireland intermediate final less than two years ago. They look to have too much firepower with the likes of Ross Timothy, Maurice Connaughton, Keith Muldoon, Mike Holland and the deadly accurate Kevin Smyth. Glavey’s will need huge performances from the likes of Conor Hussey, Gary Patterson Caoileann Fitzmaurice and Darren O’Malley as well as Andy Glennon to be in with a chance.  

  However, with the game on their home patch anything other than a Croan’s win would be a surprise. Prediction: St. Croan’s