Roscommon’s U-20 hurlers can continue a good year for the game in the county when they take on Down in the All-Ireland U-20 ‘B’ final in Cavan this Saturday.
Mike Fallon of Four Roads is the Roscommon manager and he and his selectors have presided over a team that have been very impressive in their wins against Mayo (3-26 to 1-8) and Wicklow (2-15 to 1-9) .
Speaking to the Roscommon People at a team training session last week, Mike Fallon praised the effort being put in by the players.
“The lads have done very well so far. Against Mayo we asked them to go out and set a standard for themselves and they did that and played very well. Any day that you score 3-20 from play out of 3-26 is a great return…you would have to be very happy with that”.
Mike says that there has been great cooperation among the clubs not only at U-20 level but in underage hurling in general.
“I’ve been involved with the U-17s over the past couple of years and I know all these players because they came up through the ranks so we know the calibre of hurlers that we are dealing with”.
The manager says that it is vital for the future of hurling in the county that these underage players are looked after and developed.
“We are looking at winning an All-Ireland, but a by-product of that would be that they are prepared to move on into the senior ranks”.
Mike says that Down will be very tough opposition on Saturday.
“We will certainly not be underestimating Down. They have a great calibre of player and we know that from playing against them at U-17 level”.
The manager reports that there are no major injuries in the squad. “We have a few niggles but nothing serious – and let’s hope everyone is in top form on Saturday”.
Roscommon have been very impressive in their two matches thus far, with James Dillon, Naoise Coyle and James Mannion excelling in defence. Jack Dowling and Mikey Lohan form a very solid midfield partnership. Up front, Patrick Fallon, Adam Donnelly and Ryan Conlon have all been in terrific scoring form.
Down have had a perilous journey in this competition. In round one they pipped Armagh by a point (2-12 to 1-14) and then in the semi-final last Thursday night they ended level with Derry after extra-time (2-21 to 1-24) before winning the ensuing penalty shootout on a 2-1 scoreline.
It’s very difficult to read the form of teams in this competition but in the games that have been played so far Roscommon have looked a very strong team and if they can get their attack playing as well as they have done against Mayo and Wicklow they should win what would be a badly-needed All-Ireland title – and provide a great boost for the game in the county.