NOW FOR MAYO!

Roscommon will focus on reducing the number of turnovers they concede when they face Mayo in a winner-takes-all FBD showdown that could attract up to 4,000 fans this Sunday.

  That’s the view of joint Roscommon manager Fergal O’Donnell, who, while happy with the team’s 0-12 to 0-8 win over NUIG last Sunday, expressed concern at how frequently the home team turned the ball over in Elphin.

  O’Donnell said: “It was a good competitive game and our lads worked really hard, but we turned over the ball too much. We worked hard to get it back but then we gave it away just as quick again. NUIG got some momentum from that.

  “We rode our luck a few times but at the same time we would be very happy with the workrate, but at times the skill level was not great. We were a bit predictable at times and we probably kicked too much ball into Cathal (Shine) at times, but they all worked hard.

  “It’s great to get another win. The lads trained really hard during the week. We were not great in the third quarter and the crowd went a little flat, but I think that they appreciated the workrate we showed throughout.”

  Now Roscommon’s FBD campaign moves up a level with the team meeting Mayo on Sunday in Dr. Hyde Park at 2 pm.

  It is not often that a pre-season fixture has the potential to draw a crowd of around three or four thousand people, but that’s the reality of this big clash. Both teams have won their two matches to date, so the winners here will qualify for the final, and with new management teams in place in both counties, there is added spice. Roscommon joint manager Kevin McStay and key coaching figure Liam McHale will of course both be trying to plot the downfall of their native county.

  Both sides are still without key players. For Roscommon, Cathal Shine will surely revert to midfield, with Senan Kilbride returning to full-forward. Enda Smith will be available, now that DCU are out of the O’Byrne Cup. It will be interesting to see if the experiment of playing Cathal Cregg at centre half-back is persisted with.  

   Roscommon produced a hard-working display against a solid NUIG outfit last Sunday, but this will represent a much stiffer challenge. Mayo have been lining out without a number of their better-known players but Ger Cafferky, Keith Higgins, Jason Gibbons, Kevin McLoughlin and Jason Doherty all started against Sligo IT last weekend, while Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Donal Vaughan and Tom Parsons all came on as subs.

  The performance rather than the result will be uppermost in the thoughts of Kevin McStay and Fergal O’Donnell as the National Football League rolls into view in two weeks’ time. It should be very competitive.

Prediction: Mayo.

Note: At the time of going to press the game is fixed for Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday (2 pm) but there may be a change of venue because of the weather. Please check the Roscommon GAA website or Shannonside Radio for details.