All-Ireland U-20 ‘B’ Hurling Final:
Roscommon v Derry at Croke Park on Saturday at 2.45 pm
The pain of losing last year’s decider to Down will be fresh in the minds of those still involved with the Roscommon U-20 hurling team, who, this weekend, will have a rare chance of bringing an All-Ireland hurling title back from Croke Park when they meet Derry.
Mike Fallon is managing the team this year, and alongside his selectors, Kieran Farrell and Mike Mullins, is looking forward to the big day at headquarters.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for these young lads to play an All-Ireland final in Croke Park. Every young hurler or footballer dreams of playing in Croke Park and now we have to make sure we do ourselves justice on the day,” he told People Sport this week.
Roscommon have already been dealt a significant blow ahead of this Saturday’s final.
“Unfortunately Brian Mannion is out. He dislocated his shoulder on Thursday night last and won’t be involved so that’s very disappointing for him,” Mike said, adding that he expects a stern test from Derry.
“Look, any team who get to this stage will be a good side so we will have to play really well in all sectors to win it…but we have done well so far. We had a good win against Tyrone in the first round but it was against Down in the semi-final that we played our best hurling. (Roscommon won by 3-17 to 0-20) and we have to step up that performance up again on Saturday”.
There is plenty of experience in the Roscommon team that will line out this weekend including nine players who part of last year’s panel.
“A lot of the lads on the panel will be underage again next year so there are plenty of young hurlers on the way up which is great to see,” Mike said.
“We are trying to build something here. It is important that we have young hurlers at U-17 and U-20 level coming along for the future and this is another step along the way.
“Last year we came into the final without being tested (beating Wicklow and Mayo) and then Down beat us in that final. I think that we are better prepared this time.
“The atmosphere at training has been great and hopefully the lads can go out and produce a performance and do themselves justice on Saturday and hopefully that will be good enough to win it,” he concluded.