Seamus Duke on sport – March 2nd



League campaign back on track

When I saw that there were so many changes in the Roscommon team for last Sunday’s game in Drogheda I was a bit fearful, but those doubts were proven totally unfounded by an excellent display and a big score too. It puts the Division Two campaign back on track and the good crowd of Rossies who made the long journey were very happy on the way home.

  Having played four games in the league now by far the best team we faced were Tipperary and we beat them! Down and Meath were poor and Louth were by far the weakest side that we have faced so far. Peter Domican, Seanie McDermott, Niall Daly, Conor Daly, Conor Devaney, Diarmuid Murtagh and Donie Smith were outstanding on the day.

  Donie Smith’s story is amazing. So many times over the past couple of years the Boyle man has come off the bench and saved Roscommon’s bacon. This time around he led the charge, and a haul of seven points in the space of 30 minutes is a fantastic return by any yardstick. I don’t know what he has to do to get a starting jersey but maybe he will become the best sub in the game!

  On a more serious note, Louth were very, very poor and next Sunday’s game against Clare will be a much different prospect altogether.

  With regard to the midfield conundrum I was ever so impressed with Conor Daly last Sunday. He is improving with every game and maybe he is one part of the equation in the middle of the field. I am convinced too that Enda Smith is more suited to a place in the half-forward line.

  The game against Clare is previewed elsewhere in the paper but on the back of what was a morale boosting win against Louth, I am expecting another two points in Ennis on Sunday (weather permitting of course). 

A great day of televised sport

If there is a better day of sport on the box this year than last Saturday then I will be looking forward to it. The Ireland v Wales game was an absolute cracker. It looked bad for Ireland early on but this team under Joe Schmidt seem to be confident that they can get out of any bind that they get into and there were some marvellous performances not least that of Chris Farrell who replaced Robbie Henshaw in the centre. He was sensational. Surely nothing could trump that thriller at The Aviva.  

  But there was even more excitement at Murrayfield as Scotland tore into England and beat them with a bit to spare. The atmosphere was unreal as the crowd realised it was going to be their day. If Ireland think that all they have to do it turn up to beat Scotland then they will be beaten. If Scotland play with the same passion that we saw last Saturday then Ireland are in for a huge tussle.

  The excitement on Saturday wasn’t finished. Nemo Rangers and Slaughtneil produced a classic in the All-Ireland club football semi-final. Nemo pulled away in extra-time but there was some mighty football from both sides. Best player on the field was Tomas Ó Sé who played every single minute of the game and extra and injury-time too and at 38 years of age, turned in what was a phenomenal display. He will get the chance to play in Croke Park one last time on St. Patrick’s Day. What a final that should be.

Snow sign of new GAA era

Will there be a new era in the GAA after last weekend’s Congress? I doubt it somehow. We will have a new president and a new Director General shortly but the problems will remain the same.

  As I write this column on Tuesday there is a possibility that there could be wipe-out of fixtures this coming weekend because of the weather and if that happens there will be chaos. I warned months ago that the new fixtures regime would lead to serious problems and that’s what will happen. It is hard to believe that we are about five weeks away from the start of our own local football championships, yet Roscommon still have three rounds of the National Football League to play.

  On a more positive note, congratulations to Brian Carroll who was appointed to the powerful CCCC committee in Croke Park at the weekend. Is the Kimore man the first Leeds United Supporter to sit on that committee? I wish him the best of luck.

Letter from a Roving LOI fan


I hope you will stick with the League of Ireland throughout the 2018 season. Is your piece on Bohs/Rovers the first of many? The game was poor. Dalymount is being redeveloped. There will be many cracking games this season. John Caulfield’s Cork will be the team to topple.

  I was in Tallaght Stadium on Friday night. Over 5,000 there, a lot of kids too which was great to see. Decent game too. Very good match day experience. Were you ever at a game in Tallaght Stadium? If not, you should go.

  Too many soccer “supporters” in Ireland sit on barstools and sofas and neglect clubs in their locality. There are Rossies living in Roscommon and Dublin who actually attend Rovers games and “keep an eye” on English clubs. It can be done.

All the best,


Mick, I take an interest in all sports but for live action I am confined to covering Roscommon sports events every weekend, but will be following from afar. SD

Unpredictable Division Two!

Predicting results in Division Two is almost impossible and there have been a number of very surprising results.

  Last weekend Clare went to Newry and went home with two points despite having a man sent off early in the second half. Reports of internal strife in Cavan seem way off the mark as they top the table after a great win in Cork. Meanwhile, Tipperary beat Meath easily and that wasn’t a surprise at all as they look a good side.

Wenger’s time looks up!

It would appear that Arsene Wenger’s long career at Arsenal is over. Many a team have been hammered by Manchester City this season, but the manner of The Gunners’ defeat to City in the League Cup final will surely signal the end of what has been a remarkable career.

  Liverpool are going well and their front three attacking players are superb to watch. They seem to be improving with every game and they may well have a good chance in the Champions League. Over two legs they can beat anyone.

  City have to be in with a huge chance in the Champions League too. Chelsea will struggle to make it any further as Barcelona will be almost impossible to beat at the Nou Camp.

  Manchester United are driving their fans  (including yours truly) to distraction with their sterile style of play. They were brutal against Sevilla and were lucky to have emerged with a nil-all. Having said that, the win against Chelsea last Sunday was a vital one. It shows that the team can actually play if they are allowed to.

  Spurs are also going well. Harry Kane improves with every outing. They look good for at least the last 8 in the Champions league and a top four place too.