Rossies to finish league campaign in style

Allianz NFL Division One (Round 7):
Roscommon v Donegal on Sunday at Dr Hyde Park at 1.45 pm

For the purposes of this preview it might be the wisest course of action not to dwell too long on the scores of possibilities that could happen with regard to the league table on Sunday afternoon!

The most likely scenario is that Donegal will be relegated and that Roscommon will survive, but the facts are that both teams will certainly want to win on Sunday for vastly different reasons. The action elsewhere will take care of itself.

From a Roscommon point of view, this is the last big test before the championship clash against Mayo. Davy Burke and his selectors will have a very good idea of their starting fifteen for that game already and they will want to see signs that their charges are ready for the white heat of championship football.

Roscommon have been ultra competitive in Division One this campaign and not to put a tooth in it, they should be winning this game. Donegal have been struggling of late and hit a new low against Mayo last Sunday.

Beware the wounded animal, however, and a win at Hyde Park would be a huge boost for the visitors ahead of their Ulster championship match in Newry on April 24th.

But the truth is that they have been very much below par in recent games. The loss of Paddy McBrearty and Ryan McHugh and the retirement of the great Michael Murphy has weakened their challenge considerably. The turmoil in Donegal football with Karl Lacey and all their underage coaches resigning recently has not helped their cause either.

Roscommon supporters will want to see their team start a game on the front foot and get stuck in from the first whistle. In five out of the six games so far Roscommon have been off the pace in the first half only to come thundering into the game in the second period. Those slow starts will have to be erased from Roscommon’s game.

Conor Daly will probably be out for this game again and the defence will be much the same as we saw in Tralee. Roscommon could do with more around the middle of the field so we might see a change or two there while up front the welcome return of Cian McKeon will give the management team even more options in that sector.

While Burke and his team must exercise caution this Sunday, Roscommon are expected to win and a loss to Donegal would be a setback.

If the hosts are to have any chance of winning in Castlebar then this is certainly a game they should be comfortable in. Don’t be surprised if there are five or six points between the two at the final whistle this Sunday.

Prediction: Roscommon.