Allianz National Football League Division 1:
Tyrone v Roscommon at Healy Park, Omagh on Sunday at 3.45 pm
And so it starts all over again. Another huge season for Roscommon footballers is upon us, and with just three of our seven games at home this time around – and Dublin and Derry having joined the top table – this is going to be a tough campaign for Davy Burke’s men.
The Roscommon manager says he will go out to try and win every game. The reality is that six points would probably be enough to keep Roscommon up. Looking at the schedule of matches, Sunday’s game against Tyrone is one that Roscommon can target for a win.
The Red Hand county have been one of the strongest in the country over the last two decades, but their star has slipped a little in the past couple of years and especially since they won the 2021 All-Ireland title.
Conor Carroll is nailed on as the starting goalkeeper for Roscommon, but there are places up for grabs in front of him. Brian Stack (one of the St Brigid’s’ absentees) will be a huge loss. Niall Daly, Davy Murray, Colin Walsh and Eoin McCormack look certain to figure in defence, but the likes of Luke Glennon, Niall Higgins, Senan Lambe and Evan Flynn have seen game time in recent weeks and could come into contention. Ronan Daly and Conor Hussey are back in action too.
In the absence of Enda Smith (suspended), Keith Doyle and Dylan Ruane will probably form the midfield partnership. Up front, Diarmuid Murtagh, Conor Cox, Cathal Heneghan and Donie Smith look likely starters, while Daire Cregg could well get the nod. Adam McDermott and Ciaran Lennon are also in with a chance in the absence of Ben O’Carroll.
Tyrone still have some fantastic players but are not as formidable as in recent years. Niall Morgan remains a colossus between the posts and they will also be looking to the likes of Michael McKiernan, Padraig Hampsey and Niall Devlin in defence. Peter Harte, still a major influence, may well be used in attack this season. Darren McCurry, Conn Kilpatrick and Darragh and Ruairi Canavan are exceptionally talented players.
Joint managers Fergal Logan and Brian Dooher were given a further three years in charge recently and they will be aiming to knock Derry off their pedestal later on in the year in the Ulster Championship. Staying in Division One will be high on their priority list too.
On paper this looks like a massive task facing Roscommon but it is a game that they can win. They are without probably their two best players, Brian Stack and Enda Smith, but there is scoring power there.
Tyrone represent difficult opponents, but then again every game in this division will be tough. If Roscommon hit the ground running, they can get their league campaign off to a flier.