Nicky Rackard Cup Final:
Roscommon v Tyrone at Croke Park on Saturday at 3 pm
Roscommon hurlers have a chance to write another chapter in the history books of the game in the county when they take on Tyrone in the Rackard Cup final on Saturday, and after an unbeaten run in the championship en route to the decider, confidence will be high among the Primrose and Blue players as they take the field at headquarters.
The appointment of Clare man Francis O’Halloran as manager and his backroom team of Cyril Crosbie, Steve Cusack, Martin Beirne and Tommy Guilfoyle has brought about a real professionalism to Roscommon’s preparations this year and the form of the team in the championship has been excellent so far.
In addition, the arrival of players like Enda Lawless, Conor Cosgrove and Eoin Fitzgerald into the squad has been a huge boost and a number of the Roscommon players who have been on the panel for a number of years have flourished under the new regime.
Roscommon will be hoping to take inspiration from the likes of Peter Kellehan, Conor Coyle, Padraig Kelly, Hugh Rooney, Cathal Dolan, and Brendan Mulry who have all soldiered for a number of seasons on this Roscommon team without much success.
Kellehan and Cosgrove have been the mainstays of the defence throughout this year and have provided great leadership, but in this championship it is the Roscommon attack that has really shone and they have put up some impressive tallies on their way to the final.
Daniel Glynn and Cathal Dolan have grabbed the headlines with big totals but it has been the contributions of Brendan Mulry, Mickey Joe Egan, Connell Kennelly and Eoin Fitzgerald that has made the difference this year.
Tyrone will be tough opponents and there is no doubt that the two best teams in this group have reached the final. The sides drew when they met in the league, but in the championship at Dr. Hyde Park a few weeks ago Roscommon earned a handsome 12-point win, scoring 3-24 in the process.
Tyrone have a number of very good players, but their talisman and leader is Damien Casey who is arguably the best player in this championship. He is a phenomenal striker of the ball and Roscommon will have to devise a plan to stop the ball getting through to the brilliant full-forward.
Ruairi Devlin, Tiernan Morgan, Conor Crogan and CJ McGourty are all very good players and Tyrone will be heading to Croke Park on Sunday determined to reverse that recent result at Dr. Hyde Park.
This promises to be a fast, high-scoring game between two good teams but Roscommon look to have more firepower in attack and that should make the difference. The Rossies to win by four or five points to earn a spot back in the Christy Ring Cup for 2023. Prediction: Roscommon.
Note: Roscommon have been in the Nicky Rackard Cup final three times since the competition began in 2005. In 2007, they defeated Armagh by 1-12 to 0-13. In 2013, Donegal defeated Roscommon by 3-20 to 3-16 and in 2015 Roscommon beat Armagh 2-12 to 1-14.