Seamus Duke’s weekend preview: Pearses look to bounce back!


Hodson Bay Roscommon SFC Round 2

Game Of The Weekend

Group A:

Pádraig Pearses v Western Gaels on Saturday in Pairc an Phiarsaigh at 7.15 pm

While a defeat would not be a fatal blow to them, Pearses will want to recover from a poor display against St. Brigid’s last weekend to get their campaign up and running. But it will not be easy against a Gaels side who blew Boyle away in the final 20 minutes last weekend to put up a very impressive total of 1-23.

  Pearses will have to ensure that Hubert Darcy is not ploughing a lone furrow up front as he did against Brigid’s and at home Pearses will surely improve.

  Western Gaels can blow hot and cold, but they look a solid outfit this year and a win would almost certainly put them into the quarter-finals at least. They look strong up front with Kevin Higgins, Finbar and Cathal Cregg and Derek Moran scoring freely. This has the makings of a great game but the Gaels look stronger.

Prediction: Western Gaels

Roscommon Gaels v Boyle on Friday in Kilbride at 8 pm

Roscommon Gaels were impressive as they defeated St. Faithleach’s last weekend but they will be without the injured Mark Healy this weekend. They will have been happy with their haul of 3-13 but they conceded 2-11 and that will be a worry to Liam McNeill and his management team.

  Boyle collapsed in the final 20 minutes against Western Gaels last weekend but they will be hoping to have Seanie Purcell and Enda Smith back for this game and that would be a huge boost for them.

  The Gaels have to be the strong fancy to win but they will not need me to remind them that they lost to Boyle in the championship last year. If Boyle are close to full strength they should push the Gaels all the way but a win for the town side looks the most likely outcome.

Prediction: Roscommon Gaels

St. Brigid’s v St. Faithleach’s on Sunday in Kiltoom at 3.45 pm

They may not be the St. Brigid’s who won the All-Ireland title in 2013 but they are still a formidable force and are still the team to beat. Garvan Dolan and Senan Kilbride ran the show against Pearses last Sunday and they continue to be a very impressive side.

  St. Faithleach’s did well to stay in the game against Roscommon Gaels last weekend but they will have to have the Murtaghs, Darragh Hussey, Dave Rooney and the rest firing on all cylinders to have a chance here. Anything other than a home win would be a major shock.

Prediction: St. Brigid’s

Group B:

Clann na nGael v St. Croan’s in Pairc an Phiarsaigh on Saturday at 5.30 pm

Clann did not play last weekend while Croan’s were suffering defeat to Elphin. Clann look a very impressive side this year and if they can keep their main players fit they will be contenders for the title. They will be expected to win this match with a bit to spare and they should accomplish that.

Prediction: Clann na nGael

Strokestown v Kilmore on Sunday in Kilglass at 3.45 pm

Strokestown made a very good start to their campaign last Sunday against Castlerea while this is Kilmore’s first outing. If Strokestown are to be serious contenders this year, they should win this match. However, it will not be plain sailing as Kilmore are renowned championship battlers. Strokestown have a lot of quality players and should win it by a few points.

Prediction: Strokestown

Elphin v Castlerea St. Kevins on Sunday in Enfield at 3.45 pm

Elphin can almost secure their championship status with another win here and then they can look at possible play-off qualification. Castlerea struggled against Strokestown and they will have another uphill struggle here. Elphin should be good enough.

Prediction: Elphin