Allianz National Football League Division One: Roscommon v Kerry on Sunday in Dr Hyde Park at 2 pm.
Roscommon will be hoping to put last Saturday night’s game against Mayo out of their minds as they take on Kerry in Dr Hyde Park this Sunday. With three losses against their name, this is a must-win game for Roscommon if they are to entertain any notion of avoiding relegation to Division Two. Another loss for Kevin McStay’s men here will see them in an almost impossible situation in the Division One table.
Kerry themselves have not exactly been pulling up any trees in this division so far. After a good win against Donegal in their opening game, The Kingdom have come unstuck in two home games against Mayo and Monaghan and now they must win this game if they are to retain any interest in contesting a league final, which would be their ambition. A win for Roscommon would leave Kerry in a relegation dogfight and that is certainly not in the script for Eamonn Fitzmaurice and his players.
The visit of Kerry to Dr Hyde Park is always an appetising prospect and it will be interesting to see how Roscommon react to what was a poor display against Mayo. Kerry are certainly not as physical as Mayo, but they possess a dangerous looking attack, even without the Dr Crokes players, and Roscommon may well have to adopt a defensive strategy to curb the Kerry forward division.
Roscommon have lost out on their own, and on the opposition kick-outs in all three league games so far and that will have to be addressed this week. It is likely that David Moran and Anthony Maher will be at midfield for Kerry on Sunday and kicking the ball out long to them will put Roscommon under pressure. They are a very accomplished pairing and Kerry will be expecting them to provide a platform for their attack on Sunday. Roscommon will probably have to go short and try and work the ball forward from there.
Roscommon have been struggling in defence when teams run straight at them and a sweeper will probably be needed to prevent Kerry’s quicksilver attackers from getting too much room on Sunday. The likes of Paul Geaney, Darren O’Sullivan, James O’Donoghue and young Jack Savage will cause untold damage if they get free rein.
Midfield is still a problem for Roscommon and maybe it’s time to see what Tom Corcoran has to offer in that department from the start. It may not be the solution, but we have to try it.
The Roscommon attackers have been doing well and have been creating plenty of chances. The return of 0-14 against Mayo was a good one, in what was such a heavy defeat and we have a number of excellent forwards and hopefully a couple of the goal chances will hit the back of the net on Sunday. The Smiths, Ciaráin Murtagh and Conor Devaney will hopefully give the Kerry defence plenty to think about.
The two defeats suffered by Kerry at home have been unexpected and Kerry supporters and team management will be hoping for a reaction from their team, which makes this a dangerous tie for Roscommon. But Roscommon players have shown a huge appetite for hard work since this league started and even in defeat they have kept battling on to the finish. The pendulum of luck will surely swing in Roscommon’s favour soon. The value of a win against Kerry would prove a huge boost to the team.
Kerry will be expected to win this league game on Sunday and the odds favour them strongly. However, Roscommon are always capable of doing something when least expected and hopefully the sight of the green and gold jersey with the home crowd behind them will spur Roscommon players on. I would dearly love to see Roscommon put the criticism that they have got since last Saturday behind them and score what would be a famous win on home soil. I think that Roscommon have a great chance, but realistically Kerry look to be too strong, especially up front.
Prediction: Kerry narrowly.