Rossie cyclone headed for Clones!

Burke’s men hoping to continue perfect start

Allianz NFL Division One (Round 4): Monaghan v Roscommon on Sunday in Clones at 2.30 pm

The Roscommon senior football team pictured prior to last Sunday’s Allianz National Football League Division Two match against Armagh at Dr. Hyde Park. Davy Burke’s charges will be hoping to continue their 100 per cent record in Clones this weekend against Armagh. Pic: Bernie O’Farrell

These are certainly heady times for Roscommon football…three games, three wins and all alone at the very top of Division One. Who could have foreseen this at the start of the year?

The praise from all sides has been generous – and well deserved too. Davy Burke has been a revelation as manager. He has trusted in youth and the fans have lapped up every minute of this league campaign so far. It’s been a start to the season well beyond the dreams of even the most loyal Primrose and Blue fanatic.

The first priority when Burke took the reins last October was survival in the top division of Gaelic football. The scenes last Sunday, where Burke was warmly congratulated on the Hyde pitch following victory over Armagh, would suggest that six points is the magic number.

But…what’s the aim for Roscommon now?

Two more wins from their remaining fixtures (and there are some tough ones to come!) would probably be good enough to seal a place in this year’s final. The question is whether Burke would welcome such a fixture just one week before a massive Connacht showdown with Mayo?

Perhaps the dream start has us all in dreamland and we’re getting slightly ahead of ourselves because this Sunday the Rossies meet a Monaghan side back in form. Last weekend’s Farney victory over Donegal has perked them up following a poor start to the league campaign, and they will be targeting this fixture to maintain momentum for a survival push.

Davy Burke will most likely look at more options on Sunday as he builds for later in the year. Players like Colin Walsh, Richard Hughes, Daire Cregg, Ciaráin Murtagh and Donie Smith could all feature from the start for this one.

A lot of the Monaghan stars who were absent for their first two games returned to the fold last Sunday. Jack McCarron, Darren Hughes and Conor McManus are back and they are now close to full strength. The Farney know that a win on Sunday will completely change the narrative and in Clones they will be hard to beat.

Psychologically it will be very interesting to see how Roscommon approach this match. Momentum is such a major factor in any sport and after three wins, the team will not want to taste defeat, but every match in this division is a major test.

The fans will travel in force on the crest of this early season wave, and it will be interesting to see what starting fifteen Davy Burke decides to go with.

Make no mistake, this will be a tough match for Roscommon but they are on such a roll that they can make it four wins out of four and get ready for a massive occasion on Sunday week (at home to Mayo). They have come good in the second half of all three games so far and they can do it again on Sunday.

Prediction: Roscommon.