Seamus Duke on sport – August 16th




Dublin on cusp of five-in-a-row!

I was never more sure or certain in many years watching football that Dublin would easily defeat Mayo in last Saturday’s semi-final and I said so here in this column several times in recent weeks. When I saw them in the flesh against Roscommon I was convinced that they would power past every team that was left in the championship at that stage and I am still of the same opinion. They are simply too strong and too powerful and they have so many selection options that they will secure the coveted five-in-a-row on September the 1st. Dublin will do to Kerry what they did to Mayo, Roscommon, Cork and everyone else. It may not be a ten-point margin but it will be a comfortable victory.

  However, I’m glad it’s Kerry that Dublin are playing and not Tyrone. At least there is a chance of a football match with Kerry involved. The Kingdom have some excellent attackers but I would fear for them in defence. Dublin’s attack will be too strong for them.

  It was another wonderful effort from Mayo but it looks like the end of the road for this team. What enjoyment and excitement they have given over the past ten years but they always found one team too good for them. They were just unlucky that they came along in the era of a brilliant Dublin team.

  On the other hand, I wasn’t one bit sorry that Tyrone were beaten. I don’t like their attitude and some of their underhand tactics which have been there for years are very unsavoury.

  It was also a surprise to see how small the crowd was in Croker on Sunday (less than 34,000) after the full house on Saturday evening. The attendances at big football games are certainly falling (if you take Mayo out of the equation) and it is something of a worry for the association. Was it that the Kerry supporters didn’t travel or that people just do not like watching Tyrone play football? There has to be some reason!

Ladies fighting for All-Ireland final spot

It’s a huge weekend for the Roscommon Ladies footballers. They have a large gap to bridge against Meath after last year’s semi-final in Dr. Hyde Park but the way they have been playing this year would suggest that they have a real chance this Saturday.

  They have been scoring heavily but they must ensure that they keep the back door shut as Meath have some marvellous attacking players who will take full advantage of any slackness defensively. I wish Michael Finneran and his team the very best of luck.

  It is a pity that the game is on so far away (in Nowlan Park) and that it clashes with the start of the club championships. It will certainly take away from their support on the day. Fair play to TG4 as they are going to cover the game live. It would be a marvellous boost to the ladies game in Roscommon if they were to qualify for the All-Ireland final.

Championship Watch

All-Ireland SHC Final

Tipperary v Kilkenny on Sunday in Croke Park at 3.30 pm


After all the huffing and puffing we are down to old rivals Kilkenny and Tipperary to contest Sunday’s All-Ireland final and there are so many sub-plots as usual.

  Kilkenny were written off on a number of occasions this year not least after their Leinster final defeat to Wexford. Brian Cody has masterminded another memorable year for the Cats but it remains to be seen whether they can cap their revival off with another title. 

  Liam Sheedy was brought back into Tipperary hurling to deliver the MacCarthy Cup and it’s so far so good. However, they can also point to a chastening loss at the hands of Limerick in the Munster final.

  There are great players on both sides. For Tipp, the Mahers are magnificent performers and up front Seamus Callinan, ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer and the McGraths are lethal if they get enough ball. Kilkenny have the truly great TJ Reid in their corner but he will need plenty of help this weekend from the likes of Walter Walsh, Colin Fennelly and Richie Hogan.

  There won’t be a lot in it and I am very reluctant to back against a Brian Cody managed side in an All-Ireland final. But forwards win games and, in my humble opinion, Tipperary are stronger in attack and should be able to get the scores to win it.

Prediction: Tipperary


Club championships begin this weekend


The senior, intermediate and junior club football championships are starting this weekend and the match previews are elsewhere in the paper this week. There is a new format this year and while we’ll give it a chance before it starts…I would have left the format the way it has been for the last few years.

  The fact that the championships are not starting until this weekend means that it is going to be flat out for club players over the next few weeks with games every weekend, which is unfair. However, the clubs voted for this championship format and fixture list so let’s see how it goes. Hopefully the matches will throw up a few new players for Anthony Cunningham and his selectors over the next couple of months.


City, Liverpool and United off the mark


It was the start that most people expected in the Premier League at the weekend with Liverpool and Manchester City winning very easily. Manchester United also got off to a good start but their 4-0 win against Chelsea was a bit of a flattering scoreline as Chelsea had hit the post twice before United scored. I suppose that a 4-0 win is better than a 4-0 loss but I wouldn’t be getting carried away just yet!


Rossies deserve All-Star nominations


The speculation about who might be on the All-Star teams will begin in earnest over the next few weeks, and over a few scoops at the weekend we agreed that Conor Cox and Niall Daly deserve to get nominations with Enda Smith and Conor Hussey outside bets. I don’t think any Roscommon players will actually win an award this year but it would be nice to get a few nominations.


What might have been…


It’s amazing what can happen. Roscommon minors scored a memorable victory against Galway in the Connacht minor championship in Dr. Hyde Park a couple of months ago with Aaron Oyiki scoring a spectacular goal.

  In fact, Galway were also defeated by a point in the Connacht final after extra-time by Mayo. But lo and behold if they are not into the All-Ireland final after a thrilling win against Kerry in the semi-final last Sunday. Now they take on Cork in the final on September 1st – what might have been folks!


No ‘donor fatigue’ for Club Rossie!

The support for the GAA in County Roscommon was plain for all to see once again at last Friday night’s Club Rossie Draw which was held at Hannon’s Hotel.

  For Club Rossie to be able to sell over €250,000 worth of tickets barely six months after the ‘Win a House’ draw is truly remarkable. It seems that there is no such thing as ‘donor fatigue’ when it comes to supporting Roscommon GAA and hopefully now the work can begin in Dr. Hyde Park and that there are realistic plans to develop a centre of excellence for our county teams to train in. With the goodwill that’s there are the moment it is entirely achievable.