Hodson Bay Roscommon SFC Round 5
Group A – (all games on Saturday evening at 6.45 pm)
Pádraig Pearses v Roscommon Gaels in Kilbride
What’s at Stake? Any of the three games in Group A could lay claim to the ‘Game of the Weekend’ title as all six teams have a chance of progressing, but the range of possibilities in this game are many. It would take a heavy defeat and an unlikely set of results elsewhere to knock Pearses out of contention. For Roscommon Gaels the result of this game could see them into the semi-finals, the quarter-finals, or it could see them relegated to Group B for next season!
The Verdict? There is less pressure on Pearses than there is on The Gaels but this is as close to knock-out football as you can get in the group stages. The Gaels have been wildly inconsistent, playing well against St. Brigid’s, especially in the first half before being shocked by Boyle in the last round. The loss of Enda Lannon, and with Kevin Kilcline almost certain to be absent will weaken the town team challenge.
It’s unlikely that the Daly’s (Ronan and Conor) will be back for this game and Pearses would love to knock The Gaels out at this stage. They have been consistent and have some excellent young players to call on. This could be a cracking game and with so much at stake surely The Gaels can lift it and produce a win that will see them through.
Key Players: Roscommon Gaels – David O’Gara. Pádraig Pearses – Niall Daly. Prediction: Roscommon Gaels. Narrowly.
Castlerea St. Kevin’s v St. Brigid’s in Strokestown
What’s at Stake? Castlerea need to pull off another shock win to elbow their way into contention but that looks unlikely against a Brigid’s team who were second best against Clann in the last round but who have a positive scoring difference. A win would most likely propel Brigid’s straight into the semi-finals.
The Verdict? Brigid’s will be worried that they managed only two points in the second half against Clann in the last round. However they have plenty of firepower and they should be able to manage a Castlerea team who conceded three goals against Pearses in round four. If Brigid’s play up to the standard they are capable of they will win.
Key Players: St. Brigid’s – Senan Kilbride. Castlerea St. Kevin’s – Fintan Kelly. Prediction: St. Brigid’s
Boyle v Clann na nGael in Enfield
What’s at Stake? There are plenty of permutations here. Clann can qualify for the semi-finals with a win but if Boyle win it will throw the cat among the pigeons and they would qualify for the quarter-finals, even if Roscommon Gaels win their game. Clann will be the strong favourites to win and despite Boyle’s surprise win against Roscommon Gaels in the last round Clann look to have the strength to prevail.
The Verdict? Boyle will be boosted by the return to action of Enda Smith and they will be confident after beating The Gaels in round four. I was really impressed with Clann against St. Brigid’s and the defending champions seem to be coming back into form at the right time. The midfield partnership of Donie and Cathal Shine was influential against Brigid’s and if they can repeat that form they should win.
Key Players: Boyle – Enda Smith. Clann na nGael – Cathal Shine. Prediction: Clann na nGael
Group B – (all games on Sunday at 1 pm)
Western Gaels v Michael Glavey’s in Castlerea
What’s at Stake? Western Gaels were powering on at the top of the table until they were stopped in their tracks by Elphin in round four but they should copper-fasten their quarter-final place with a win against Glavey’s who were well beaten by Strokestown in the last round.
The Verdict? Western Gaels look to have far too much power throughout the field and while Glavey’s have impressed at times on their return to the SFC, this looks a bridge too far.
Key Players: Western Gaels – Seanie McDermott. Michael Glavey’s – Andy Glennon. Prediction: Western Gaels
St. Croan’s v Elphin in Loughglynn
What’s at Stake? Both these sides have an outside chance of a quarter-final spot but they will be depending on St. Faithleach’s to beat high-flying Strokestown. Elphin will come into the game on a high having beaten Western Gaels in round four. Croan’s will have to lift it after a disappointing defeat to St. Faithleach’s.
The Verdict? Not a lot to choose between these two teams. Elphin were impressive against Western Gaels with Frankie Cregg on fire. Croan’s were very dependent on the free taking of Kevin Smyth against Faithleach’s and they need more fire power up front.
Key Players: St. Croan’s – James Connaughton. Elphin – Fintan Cregg. Prediction: Elphin
Strokestown v St. Faithleach’s in Kilglass
What’s at Stake? Strokestown are the form team and they will look to ensure a quarter-final place with a win. They put up a huge score against Michael Glavey’s in the last round. Faithleach’s have a chance but will need to win here to have a chance to progress.
The Verdict? St. Faithleach’s will always have a chance with Diarmuid and Ciaráin Murtagh and Darragh Hussey in attack, but Strokestown seem to be finally reaching their potential and they have good players all over the pitch. They have flattered to deceive on many occasions in the past but there is a feeling that this could be their year.
Key Players: Strokestown – Cathal Compton. St. Faithleach’s – Ciaráin Murtagh.Prediction: Strokestown