Seamus Duke on sport – May 24th



Rossies hoping for unfamiliar result


It’s a huge weekend for Roscommon senior footballers, and for the Roscommon supporters and media alike we will be travelling a familiar road on Saturday evening on the way to MacHale Park.

  It is hard to believe that it is all of 33 years since Roscommon won in Castlebar and that statistic has to fall by the wayside some year or other. Some of our most difficult championship days have come there over the years and it would be one of the best wins in many decades if Anthony Cunningham’s men were to triumph there on Saturday. We go there with a chance but it would be unrealistic to expect a win.

  Mayo will have a huge crowd there expecting another win. It will be well contested but if Roscommon were to win it would shake the championship up big-time. We can only hope and pray! 

  Our minors are also playing Mayo on Friday night in Ballina. They were superb in the second half against Galway last weekend and hopefully they can draw inspiration from that display. It is absolutely ridiculous that this game is being played on Friday night so far away. What was wrong playing it as part of a triple-header on Saturday in Castlebar? As it stands, very few Roscommon people will bother to travel to Ballina on Friday night especially when there is another big game in Castlebar the following day.

  In addition, not many Rossies will be in MacHale Park in time for the U-20 match at 3 pm on Saturday. Then there is a junior game of no interest to Roscommon at 5 pm as Mayo play Leitrim. It would mean Roscommon people leaving home at 1 pm in many cases and not getting back home until after 11 pm on Saturday night. Those fixtures just don’t make sense at all.

  However, well done to the Roscommon minors last Friday night on their brilliant comeback against Galway. The game was lit up by one of the finest goals I have seen scored at Dr. Hyde Park when Roscommon sub Aaron Oyiki buried the ball in the top corner at the cemetery end of the ground from 20 yards out to aid that Roscommon comeback. It was worth going out to the match to see that goal alone.

Hurlers deserve great praise


The transformation in the fortunes of the Roscommon senior hurlers is one of the local sports stories of the year. Not only did they reverse the 26-point beating that they got from Kildare last year but they went to Ruislip and beat London by ten points to qualify for the Christy Ring Cup semi-finals. The way they are playing they could easily make it to the final, which would be some achievement.

  Meath look the best team in that competition this year but Roscommon look as good if not better than any of the rest. Ciaran Comerford and his players deserve great praise for their efforts.


Don’t rule out a shock in ‘Paradise’


The Leinster v Munster match in the Pro14 semi-final last weekend was a damp squib. I was very disappointed with Munster who seem to be in turmoil behind the scenes at the moment.

  Leinster were very strong but they seem to be suffering from a hangover after losing the Champions Cup Final. They will have to improve if they want to beat Glasgow who have a very good side, and who will relish taking on Leinster at Parkhead on Sunday in the final.

  There will be a super atmosphere at Celtic’s home ground for this final and while Leinster will be the hot favourites to win another title, Glasgow will give them plenty of problems. Don’t rule out a shock.


Ulster throws up two thrillers!


Could it be that the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship is to provide us with some top class entertainment this year after years of watching the hurling totally dominate in terms of thrills and spills?

  Last weekend in Ulster there were two very good games. Cavan were excellent as they dumped Monaghan out on Saturday night. It may not have been a great game in terms of quality but there was plenty of drama.

  The Down v Armagh game on Sunday was a thriller laced with top class scores and loads of drama and controversy. It’s early days yet but the signs are good.


Koepka comes good to land major


For most of the way the US PGA Championship was looking like it would be the most boring golf major ever played as Brooks Koepka led the field a merry dance for three and a half rounds. But he had a wobble on the back nine before he steadied up to win in the end by two. The fact that he has won four majors in the past two years is some achievement. It’s like what Tiger Woods was doing in his prime. But Koepka comes across as being very machine-like and a dour character.

  The next major is only three weeks away as the US Open will be staged at Pebble Beach in California. The Tiger will be back for that one. It’s a course he loves and always plays well on. Oh and by the way, I tipped Brooks Koepka to win here last week. That’s the two major winners correctly predicted this year so far. It’s nice to get an odd one right!