Rossies set for top of the table clash with Armagh

‘We back ourselves at the Hyde!’ – Davy Burke

Allianz National Football League Division One (Round 3): Roscommon v Armagh at Dr Hyde Park on Sunday at 1.45 pm

Brian Stack lined out at centre half-back in Roscommon’s excellent win over Galway in Salthill two weeks ago. Photo: Bernie O’Farrell

A big crowd is expected to descend on Dr Hyde Park this Sunday for the visit of Armagh for this somewhat unexpected top of the table clash in National Football League Division One.

Both Roscommon and the Orchard County unbeaten and know that another two points this weekend will put them in a strong position with four rounds of matches still to play.

Given the visitors’ recent form (beating Monaghan and drawing with Mayo) and the large support they have enjoyed in their first two league matches, this promises to be Roscommon’s toughest test so far.

Speaking to the Roscommon People this week, Roscommon manager Davy Burke said he was looking forward to the challenge.

“Armagh are a very good side but at Dr Hyde Park we have to back ourselves and go for the win. We have to aim to win our home matches and this one is no different,” he said.

Burke confirmed the return of Cian McKeon and Niall Kilroy ahead of Sunday’s game, and called on the Roscommon supporters to get behind his team.

“We are expecting a cracking atmosphere and a big crowd. We will be targeting a win and we need the crowd behind us. We know we are not going to win every game at this level but we are targeting our home games for wins,” he said.

While Roscommon football is riding the crest of a wave in recent weeks, Armagh, who have enjoyed a very good 12 months, are improving all the time.

Rian O’Neill remains the heart and soul of their team but there is plenty of talent available in each line. ‘Fly’ goalkeeper Ethan Rafferty is liable to pop up anywhere on the field while the likes of Aidan Forker, Jarly Óg Burns, Ciaran Mackin, Stefan Campbell, Rory Grugan and Conor Turbitt will be confident of continuing the Orchard County’s excellent recent form.

You could be forgiven for regarding this as something of a ‘free hit’ for a Roscommon side which has taken maximum points so far but Davy Burke will want his charges to develop that winning habit.

There won’t be too much between the sides in what promises to be a fascinating contest, and while both teams will be confident of taking both points on offer, a draw looks the most likely outcome.

Prediction: Draw.