Rossies face tough league opener

Allianz National Football League Division Two (Round One):
Roscommon v Cork at Dr Hyde Park on Sunday at 2 pm

A new era beckons for Roscommon’s footballers on Sunday with the start of another competitive year, and with the Pádraig Pearses and St. Faithleach’s players out of the picture, we can expect to see several new faces taking the field for what is sure to be a tricky assignment.

  Anthony Cunningham and his selectors have been looking at a number of young players, and the recent FBD League games, added to work-outs against Leitrim and Dublin in the past week, have brought a number of new faces to the fore.

  The Roscommon manager shared an update on returning players when speaking to People Sport this week: “Brian Stack and Conor Hussey are back fit again after injuries and that’s a plus. But we are down a lot of players because of the success of St. Faithleach’s and Pearses. I’m thrilled for them and it’s great for football in the county but we want to make a good start on Sunday,” he said.

  Promotion back to Division One remains Roscommon’s goal this year.

  “We want to get promoted but it will be difficult. We have a lot of young players coming through and this will be a big learning curve. But the only way players will develop is by playing against the best teams and that’s what we should be aiming for,” Cunningham said.

  “Cork are rebuilding and they are trying out a lot of young players. Remember, they have had a lot of success at U-21 and U-20 level over the past few years so they have plenty of talent to pick from. They will be formidable opposition,” Cunningham added.

  “It’s all about building a strong panel here in Roscommon and when we have all our players back we will be hoping to give as many of them as we can a chance to show what they can do. We are looking forward to welcoming a big crowd to the Hyde on Sunday and hopefully we will give them plenty to shout about. But it is a tough start”.

  Cork will be without their St. Finbarr’s contingent this Sunday and come to Hyde Park on the back of a heavy beating in the McGrath Cup Final against Kerry (2-17 to 0-10).

  Roscommon will be understrength defensively without the Daly brothers and Davy Murray, and that is an area Cork may look to exploit. Brian Hurley, a top class full-forward, will have to be watched closely.

  It may not be plain sailing for Roscommon but if the home side can get a grip around the centre of the field, the Roscommon attackers can win it and get the league season off to a flying start.

Prediction: Roscommon.

Elsewhere in

Division Two…

Derry v Down on Saturday at 6 pm; Galway v Meath on Sunday at 2 pm; Clare v Offaly on Sunday at 2 pm.