Seamus Duke On Sport – 27th May

An easy win, but Sligo will be stiffer challenge

There was a little trepidation amongst Roscommon fans in the run-up to last Sunday’s game against Leitrim in Carrick-on-Shannon in light of what happened in New York, but, after a hesitant enough first 10 minutes, Roscommon won as they pleased in the end.

  While I am not taking away from Roscommon’s win I thought that the Leitrim team we saw were as poor a side as they have sent out in many years in the championship. I have always had a soft spot for Leitrim after the years that I worked in Shannonside, and it was sad to see them struggling so badly. Not only were they well beaten but they lost their discipline too and it was a pity to see them finish the game with only 12 players on the field.

  Roscommon have loads to work on for the match against Sligo and the challenge they can expect in that match will be several steps up from last Sunday. The positive thing is that Roscommon should be well warned after what happened last year and they know that they will have to be up for the challenge, and I think that they will be. But there are plenty of headaches for Kevin McStay and Fergal O’Donnell.

  The injury list is a long one and we will need some of the injured players back for the game against Sligo. We still need to solve the midfield conundrum. The players who have stepped into that area have all done well, but we have to find a working midfield combination. Cathal Shine is an obvious choice and he looked sharp when he came on last Sunday. He needs to get fit enough to last 70 minutes.

  Roscommon are also missing goal chances. It would be worse if they were not creating those chances, but they may need to take one or two against Sligo in the semi-final. But the reality is that if Roscommon approach this Connacht semi-final in the right frame of mind then they are well capable of winning it and getting to the decider.

  Let’s see then what happens between Galway and Mayo. I am assuming that Mayo will dismiss the challenge of London this coming Sunday in Ruislip. All in all it was a good day in Carrick.

United say ‘Yes way, José!’

Even though I do not like Jose Mourinho, Manchester United have little option but to recruit him as manager at this time. Louis van Gaal has been a disaster, and United’s style of football under the Dutchman has been shocking to watch, notwithstanding that they won the FA Cup.

  With Pep Guardiola coming to Manchester City and Klopp sure to make a success of his term with Liverpool, United need Mourinho, who has a good track record at several of the biggest clubs in Europe. But his arrogance and bombastic attitude is very hard to take. One thing is clear – it certainly will not be dull around Manchester way from August onwards.

Humble Joe will be sadly missed

 

I was very sorry to hear of the passing of former GAA President Joe McDonagh last week. I met Joe on many occasions and he was a great character and a lovely man too. He was an excellent president of the GAA and a humble man who loved the association dearly.

  Joe was a great Galway man, and while he made his name with the Galway hurlers, he was a good footballer too. His rendition of ‘The West’s Awake’ on the steps of the Hogan Stand when Galway won the hurling title in 1980 has gone into folklore. To his family and friends I extend my deepest sympathy. May he rest in peace.

Edinburgh set for Irish invasion

 

There have been many great days and nights for Connacht Rugby in the past couple of years – and especially this season – but the atmosphere at the Sportsground for the match against Glasgow last weekend was particularly sensational. It was a mighty win too.

  Pat Lam has been an inspirational choice as manager and the team are going out week in week out with massive belief in their own ability, which is crucial. They will need to do that again in Edinburgh this weekend when they play Leinster in the Pro12 Final. 

  As we all know, Leinster are just so strong, and on paper they look to have a much better team than Connacht. However there is just so much fire in the bellies of the Connacht players just now that a Western win cannot be ruled out. I give them every chance of winning.

  It will be interesting to see the size of the crowd in Edinburgh with two Irish teams playing. According to reports the flights and hotels in the Scottish Capital are a rip-off but I expect that there will still be a huge crowd there. What an end to the season it would be if Connacht were to pull off a victory.

Rory roars with Special K performance

 

It took me a long time to warm to Rory McIlroy, but he is now one of our greatest sporting heroes and the way he carried himself at the Irish Open last weekend spoke volumes about his character. He has taken on the task of improving the status of the Irish Open and has done that in the space of two years. It will only keep growing now. His charitable foundation raised over €1 million last week alone, which is phenomenal money.

  Meanwhile, out on the golf course, McIlroy showed just how great a player he is with those two shots on 16 and 18 last Sunday. Those were shots that very few players in the world are capable of playing and he is certainly up there in the top three at present.

  Hopefully his brilliant win last Sunday can drive him on for the rest of the season, and with the PGA at Wentworth this weekend and the US Open coming up, maybe he can kick on and win a few of the big prizes.

  Shane Lowry was not as prominent in the Irish Open but he will come good again. He loves Wentworth and could be a good each-way bet this coming week.

Championship Crystal Ball

 

Connacht SFC – London v Mayo in Ruislip, London on Sunday: The last time Mayo played in London in the championship they were almost knocked out in a game that was James Horan’s first championship tie as manager. They will not take any chances this time and will win easily. Prediction: Mayo.

 

Munster SFC – Limerick v Clare in The Gaelic Grounds, Limerick on Sunday: There was a time not so long ago when Limerick would be the hot favourites to win this fixture,  but times have changed and Clare go in here on the back of a superb win in the Division 3 Final against Kildare. It would be a shock if they don’t advance. Prediction: Clare.

 

Waterford v Tipperary in Dungarvan on Sunday: Tipperary’s star has slipped in the past two years but they still have some excellent players who have come through from the underage ranks. They should win comfortably here. Prediction: Tipperary.

Ulster SFC – Cavan v Armagh in Breffni Park, Cavan on Sunday: A tight game in prospect here and definitely the game of the weekend. Armagh are excellent championship battlers and they will go to Cavan expecting to win. But Cavan have qualified for Division One in the National Football League and they have a decent record on their home patch. I think they might just squeeze through by a couple of points. Prediction: Cavan.

 

 

Note: Having got four predictions out of four correct in week one, we got all five correct last week. I’m sure the bad week is coming though!