Rossies can sink Cork to reach last eight

Burke’s boys to bounce back!

All-Ireland SFC preliminary quarter-final: Cork v Roscommon at Pairc Uí Caoimh on Saturday at 2pm

A long trip to the south was not part of the plan for Roscommon footballers prior to last Sunday but following defeat to Kildare, the reality now is that Davy Burke’s side will have to defeat Cork to reach the quarter-finals proper.

It may be a more difficult assignment than a home game in Dr Hyde Park, but it is still a game that Roscommon are well capable of winning.

The psychological aspect to this preliminary quarter-final will play a major part in how it might turn out. Cork are on a high after an excellent win against Mayo last Sunday and they certainly have momentum going into the match.

On the other hand, Roscommon looked a tired team at times against Kildare and they never really got going (except for man of the match Enda Smith) and they will have to put that performance and result behind them if they are to advance to the last eight.

A return to the patient, disciplined and very effective gameplan we have seen from Roscommon this year will be required on Saturday.

Davy Burke said after the game last Sunday that he would consider shaking up the team selection and that could mean possible starts for the likes of Conor Hussey, Cian Connolly, Conor Cox, Keith Doyle and Richard Hughes to name just a few.

It was very unusual to see Roscommon so sloppy in possession against Kildare and some of the shooting was very poor. However, one thing that was noticeable was a reluctance to have a go when in a good shooting position, with Roscommon guilty of overplaying the ball at times and allowing Kildare to regroup.

Cork have some excellent players and under John Cleary and former Galway manager Kevin Walsh, the likes of Micheal Martin, Rory Maguire, Daniel O’Mahony, Ian Maguire, Brian Hurley, Sean Powter and Steven Sherlock are all very competent performers.

Make no mistake, this is an improving Cork side and they showed exactly what they are capable of against Mayo last time out.

But the fact remains, Roscommon are a top eight side, while Cork have been a Division Two outfit for a number of years. If Roscommon can therefore rediscover their mojo and run at Cork when in possession, they have the quality players up front to win this game.

There is no doubt, however, that Cork will be targeting this match as one they can win and a revival in the Rebel County’s football fortunes is long overdue. A win against Roscommon will signal their arrival back in the big time so they have plenty of motivation.

Too many Roscommon players played below par last Sunday but they have not become poor players overnight. Every team has a bad day at the office and the widely held belief is that Roscommon had one of those last Sunday.

Roscommon have a good record against Cork in recent years and while this game promises to be a close and hard fought one, Roscommon will be favourites. It could well be high scoring, but it would be a surprise if Roscommon were not to come out on top. Prediction: Roscommon