Allianz Football League Division Two:
Roscommon v Derry on Sunday at Dr. Hyde Park at 2pm
If Roscommon can defeat Derry in this Sunday’s top of the table clash, then winning promotion to Division One will be odds-on for Anthony Cunningham’s men. However, the reverse is also true. Derry (who, like Roscommon, are unbeaten) are on the cusp of their third promotion in a row, and should they win on Sunday they could well complete a truly remarkable recent renaissance.
Both sides have been very impressive thus far. Derry have accounted for Down, Offaly, Cork and Clare, putting up big scores in the process. However they face a tough schedule of fixtures now: Roscommon on Sunday, Galway on Sunday week and Meath in their final game.
Derry will come to Roscommon in a confident mood. They have a very good manager in Rory Gallagher and some excellent players in every line, led from full-back by the inspirational Chrissy McKaigue. Conor Doherty, Padraig McGrogan and Ethan Doherty have been outstanding in the half-back line.
Conor Glass is one of the best footballers in the country and his partnership with Emmett Bradley in the middle of the field is central to Derry’s success.
Benny Heron, Shane McGuigan and Oisin McWilliams have been outstanding up front and Derry also have a number of talented young subs to call on.
Roscommon’s performance against Down was their best in this league so far. The team is playing with great confidence and has clear momentum.
Ultan Harney and Eddie Nolan were both outstanding at midfield against Down, but this test will be a couple of levels above what we have seen thus far.
Roscommon’s attack has been prospering. Donie and Enda Smith, Cathal Heneghan, Cian McKeon and Conor Cox have all been playing well. It is further back that Roscommon will need to be really sharp on Sunday. Colm Lavin’s kickouts will be crucial and Brian Stack and Niall Daly will have to lead from the front.
Make no mistake, this will be Roscommon’s toughest test so far – by some considerable distance.
Roscommon know that a win will put them in pole position. Playing in Dr Hyde Park is a big plus and there will be a big crowd there to roar them on. I’m predicting a tough, hard battle, one that may be low scoring. It promises to be a cracker, and I expect Roscommon to edge it by a point or two.