Allianz National Football League Division Two (Round 4): Louth v Roscommon in Drogheda on Sunday at 2 pm
The unpredictability of the league campaign so far ensures that one must be cautious about making sweeping statements about any game in this division, but it is fair to say that this fixture in Drogheda on Sunday is of the ‘must win’ variety for Roscommon.
After a lucky draw against Meath, a good win against Tipperary and a very poor show against Down, it has been a real mixed bag so far for Kevin McStay’s men. Louth have lost all three of their games so far and they have shown nothing so far to suggest anything other than they are the weakest team in the group. But therein lies the danger on Sunday.
Louth are short the inspirational Jim McEneaney who is out with a shoulder problem and others like Sam Mulroy and Niall Conlon are also out with long-term injuries. That, plus the three defeats in the league so far, means that Louth football is not in a great place at the moment. Reading social media this week there has been severe criticism coming their way from the locals. But a wounded animal is a dangerous one and with the wily McGrath at the helm, he knows well a win against Roscommon would give them a huge lift and take the pressure off.
Roscommon will have to play well to win make no mistake. With Niall McInerney and Sean Mullooly out, there will be places up for grabs in the defence. Seanie McDermott and Peter Domican played last Sunday and did well so both will be in contention as will Ross Timothy who was impressive against Galway.
The midfield problems haven’t been sorted out but I presume that Enda Smith will be used there with any one of several possibilities to partner him. It will be interesting to see if Cathal Cregg and Donie Smith retain their places in attack. Hopefully Ultan Harney will be available too.
Louth will have experienced players like Emmet Conlon, Andy McDonnell and the very talented Ryan Burns to call on and they will go into the game hoping to cause a shock.
But Roscommon need the win to ensure that they are not dragged into a relegation battle later in the campaign. Two points in Drogheda would then give them the platform to challenge for promotion. It’s that tight. They will have to stop giving the ball away cheaply as it is costing them dearly. In defence, any team which has ran at them have got their rewards in recent weeks. They will have to rectify that weakness.
The win in the FBD League has been a very timely one. Scoring 2-16 against Galway, without looking too deeply into it, will give the team great confidence ahead of the rest of the league campaign.
Roscommon are a better team than Louth, they have better players and if they go about their business properly then they should get the two points on offer in Drogheda. Anything else would be a calamity.