Three key battles


Enda Smith v Aidan O’Shea

Enda Smith put in a phenomenal performance in the middle sector against Galway. He covered more ground than anyone else on the pitch and started many attacks after winning kick-outs. He faces an even greater challenge in Croke Park this Sunday against a formidable Mayo midfield and with Aidan O’Shea working as a ‘third’ midfielder.

  O’Shea seems to be back to his best, peforming brilliantly in the qualifiers and getting on the scoresheet in all three games. If Enda Smith can win this battle it would do Roscommon’s chances the world of good.

Niall McInerney v Cillian O’Connor

Niall McInerney looked comfortable marking Damien Comer in the Connacht final. He will more than likely be given the job of marking Mayo’s talisman, Cillian O’Connor, on Sunday.

  O’Connor has been one of the most consistent forwards in the country since bursting onto the scene in 2011. He proved last Saturday in Limerick that he is one of the best forwards in the game, nailing pressure frees and scoring 0-6 from play.

  McInerney has shown that marking some of the best forwards in the country doesn’t faze him and he has been one of Roscommon’s most consistent performers this year. If he can limit O’Connor’s influence from open play, Roscommon will feel that they have dealt with Mayo’s main threat up front.

Diarmuid Murtagh v Ger Cafferkey

Ger Cafferkey picked up Cork forward Donnacha O’Connor last Saturday and looked very suspect at times, especially in the first half.

  Murtagh will certainly fancy his chances after proving against Leitrim and Galway that he is back to his scintillating best. He has the potential to become one of the best forwards in the country; it’s just about showing it on the big stage and getting the recognition he deserves nationally.

  If he can produce moments of magic like the pass he gave into Cian Connolly for Roscommon’s first goal in the Connacht final, Roscommon will cause Mayo’s back line major problems.