The experts have their say!

This Sunday sees a repeat of the 2006 decider when Athleague meet Padraig Pearses in this year’s Roscommon SHC Final. Our Sports Editor SEAMUS DUKE spoke to well-known members of the other five Roscommon senior hurling clubs to ask them who they thought might win Sunday’s big game. Jackie Kilroy (Tremane) I forecast that Athleague would win the semi-final replay by nine points and I wasn’t far out! I think that Athleague will win next Sunday by five points. They are playing well now.   ‘Tommy Reddington is playing well again now and he is a threat up front while Mervyn Connaughton is playing brilliantly at midfield. I think that Athleague will just be too strong for Pearses.’ Michael Fallon (Oran) I’m expecting a close game but I am also expecting that Athleague will win it narrowly. I know that Pearses, having been in last year’s final, will be a help to them but I also think that Athleague are coming to the boil at the right time.    ‘Pearses are a better team this year than last year but Athleague would seem to me to have just the edge in craft and experience. A narrow win for Athleague for me.’ Gerry Browne (Roscommon Gaels) I am really looking forward to this game. I am expecting an open and very evenly-contested match. There will not be a lot in it, that’s for sure. I have seen both teams playing at close quarters this year and they both have a very similar style.    ‘I was most impressed with Athleague last Sunday against Oran and they will be hard to beat surely.          ‘My heart says Pearses because I would like to see them win it after so long, but my head is telling me that Athleague will shade it.’ Kevin Rogers (St. Dominics) I think that Athleague will be a bit too strong on the day. They have had a few matches in recent weeks while Pearses have been idle and that will stand to them on Sunday.    ‘Pearses are the kind of team that could go to town if they get on top but I think that Athleague have more experienced players who will be able to lift them on the day.’  Andy Lawlor (Four Roads) I think that Pearses will take it if they mark Mervyn Connaughton tightly. He is the main man for Athleague and if he is watched closely Pearses have a great chance.    ‘Pearses have the forwards to win this county final and if they can get enough ball they will upset the favourites. It will be a close game but Pearses have the players to win it this year.’