Seamus Duke on sport – 25th of August


Club action returns with a bang!

It was another very interesting weekend in the Roscommon football championships. I was at four games and was very impressed by Roscommon Gaels, who put down a marker for all comers against Western Gaels, and also Boyle who easily disposed of an admittedly weakened St. Brigid’s side.

  In addition to good displays from county players in most of the games, there were three players that certainly caught the eye at the games I was at.

  Cian McKeon was on the fringes of the panel this year already. He was excellent for Boyle last Saturday. Mark Healy was a commanding presence for Roscommon Gaels and looks back to himself and Finbar Cregg was also very effective for Western Gaels. Hopefully the selectors were watching too.

  Roscommon Gaels are almost certainly in the semi-finals now and it will be a battle to see who will join them. In recent years they have been a bit flaky when it came to the big games but there were signs of steel in their play last Sunday. They are a bit too reliant on Mark Healy and Cian Connolly for scores but they look a very solid side.

  St. Brigid’s and Western Gaels will have a chance to get back on the winning trail this coming weekend but Brigid’s will need to get the likes of Senan Kilbride and Niall McInerney back as soon as possible.

  Pádraig Pearses are now in big trouble with three losses which is a surprise. Clann na nGael and Strokestown are now in pole position for the quarter-finals from Group B but Clann will have to get more help in attack for Donie Shine who is dominating the scoring.

  In the IFC, Michael Glavey’s showed that they intend to be back in the senior ranks very soon after a mighty win against Fuerty. It will take a very good team to beat them now.

  Oran are also going well as are Creggs who are only back in the intermediate ranks but who have three wins out of three so far which is excellent.  

  One of the highlights of the weekend was the goal scored by Nathan Bligh for Castlerea at the end of their clash with Clann. He cut in from the right wing and blasted a left foot shot into the top corner from at least 20 metres out. It was worth going to Castlerea to see that goal alone.

  I was going to let fly this week at the decision to fix games at 2.45 pm last Sunday but now as it turns out a lot of games this Saturday will clash with the Mayo v Kerry replay. There is nothing that could be done this weekend for sure.

Massive day for young Rossies

This Sunday is a massive day for Roscommon’s U-17 footballers. The game is previewed in detail elsewhere in the paper this week but the lads themselves and their families will be looking forward to this huge occasion.

  Anyone who has ever coached underage footballers will tell you that you cannot predict how they will react to the big day until it arrives. Some lads will relish it and will grow even further as the day goes on while others will be overawed. All the management team can do is prepare the lads and try to keep them calm. It’s up to the Gods after that. Remember that it is exactly the same for the young Tyrone team too. They will be anxious and nervous too.

  I saw a video of the semi-final win against Kerry and Roscommon played some wonderful football in that game. More of the same will get them very close on Sunday. I wish everyone concerned the very best of luck. What a boost it would be for the county to lift this title. It would be nice that ‘Ros Comain’ would be the first name on the new cup!

Forget Las Vegas, I’ll be in ‘Land of Nod’!

On Saturday night/Sunday morning probably the most lucrative sports event of all time, Mayweather v McGregor, will take place in Las Vegas. I know that I am probably in the minority but I couldn’t care less what happens. But the facts are that Mayweather will get at least $200 million while McGregor will get 100 million.

  In fact, there is so much money involved I have a fear that the whole thing might be fixed so that we can have a re-match in six months’ time. Having said that, there are tens of thousands of people who will stay up until 4 or 5 am to see this ‘fight’ and I hope it lives up to expectations.

  I will be getting up early on Sunday morning to go to Croke Park please God so while they are slugging it out in Las Vegas I will be in the land of nod!

Pick your all-time Premier League team

The Premier League is 25-years-old this year and the BBC Sports website is running a competition to pick the best XI which is a very interesting exercise.

  I had a go and it was so hard to leave out so many talented players. I settled on this XI: Schmeichel, G Neville, T Adams, J Terry, L Dixon, C Ronaldo, S Gerrard, R Keane, R Giggs, T Henry, S Aguero.

  Have a go at it and see how you get on. It’s not as easy as it looks. It will be interesting to see what final team is picked by the experts like Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker and Ian Wright.

Mayo can go one better this weekend

The Kerry v Mayo game last Sunday was an absolute belter. The fact that the weather conditions were so poor made it an even better game and what entertainment we were treated to.

  The national media have been very harsh on Mayo this week. Yes, putting Aidan O’Shea on Kieran Donaghy may have been a mistake, but what about the brilliant performances of Andy Moran, Jason Doherty, Colm Boyle, Donal Vaughan, Keith Higgins and Cillian O’Connor who all dominated in their positions. The much-vaunted Kerry midfield was well beaten and Mayo played some great football throughout.

  In fact, looking back on the game again on Monday, it was Paul Geaney and Donaghy who saved Kerry’s bacon. Lee Keegan did not have a great game for Mayo and that won’t happen two games in a row and if they put Aidan O’Shea out into the midfield area they certainly have the beating of this Kerry team who are not as good as a lot of people think.

Championship Watch

All-Ireland SFC Semi-Final Replay

Mayo v Kerry on Saturday in Croke Park at 3 pm

The “Kerry will never play as bad again” brigade are out in force again this week and there are very few who are of the opinion that Mayo can improve again and can win this replay.

  It may well have been a mistake to put Aidan O’Shea on Kieran Donaghy but that won’t happen in this game and if Donaghy is in any way restricted, Kerry will be in big trouble.

  Despite criticism, the Mayo attack has shown this year that they can score plenty and if Aidan O’Shea is further out the field this Saturday they can complete the job. This Kerry team are not as good as they are being made out to be.

Match odds: Kerry 4/7, Mayo 7/4, Draw 8/1.

Prediction: Mayo

Dublin v Tyrone on Sunday in Croke Park at 3.30 pm

Conventional wisdom has it that Dublin will be in big trouble against Tyrone but I disagree. The Ulster champions have the capacity to hold the Dubs for 50/55 minutes but once the Dublin bench is emptied in the final quarter it will be curtains for Mickey Harte’s men.

  Dublin have a dodgy full-back line but Tyrone might not get in that far too often. Dublin to win it by six or seven points for me.

Match odds: Dublin 4/9, Tyrone 9/4, Draw 9/1.

Prediction: Dublin