The league table never lies…

Ultimately, Roscommon ‘deserved’ to be relegated. The league table never lies, and all that…

Oddly, given Roscommon’s lacklustre 2024 National Football League campaign, there was still hope of a great escape as late as the early stages of the second half of game seven of seven.

I didn’t get to Celtic Park last Sunday, instead tuning in to Shannonside Radio. A few minutes into the second halves of Derry v Roscommon and Kerry v Galway, it was plausible to hope/believe that Davy Burke’s men might actually avoid the drop into Division Two.

Kerry were moving clear of Galway, and Roscommon had scored three points in a row to draw level against Derry. A Roscommon win combined with a Galway loss would have seen Davy Burke’s team safely on the shore as the ‘relegation boat’ sailed towards Division Two. Game on? It was not to be.

After a good first-half showing, Roscommon continued their pattern of wilting badly in the second half of games. As Derry turned the screw on the Rossies, on Shannonside, Willie Hegarty and co-commentator Nigel Dineen bemoaned Roscommon’s shot selections. Entering the fourth quarter, Derry ruthlessly pulled away. In the end, the margin was a bit of a shocker. It finished in a sobering 13-point defeat that exposed a gulf in class between the teams.

There’s no shame in being relegated from the top flight; after all, Roscommon famously ‘yo-yo’ between the top two divisions. We are used to this trans-division travel, and can make the return journey. What’s worrying is how flat, lacking in energy and indeed in imagination Roscommon are at present.

Burke’s men have lost their last three games (Derry, Kerry and Mayo) by a combined total of 25 points, i.e. an average of more than eight per game. Roscommon are conceding fairly heavily, and are currently utterly unconvincing in attack, scoring a mere 2-29 in those three games.

Roscommon may well be a different proposition in the championship, but for now they look very much out of sorts. A huge amount of work needs to be done over the coming weeks. It was a poor league campaign, but the big one is still to come – and hope springs eternal!