Youngsters face tough Sligo test

Eirgrid Connacht U-20 FC semi-final: Roscommon v Sligo at Markievicz Park on Wednesday, April 13th at 7.30 pm

Roscommon’s U-20 footballers provided GAA followers in the county with their highlight in 2021, reaching the All-Ireland final and losing out narrowly to Offaly in a memorable decider in Croke Park.

  The journey back to Croke Park begins in Sligo next Wednesday evening and the home side will fancy their chances of causing an upset following two very good years at underage level.

  In the delayed minor championship final in 2020, Roscommon were the outsiders against a strongly fancied Sligo team but Emmett Durney’s men prevailed on a really foul day of weather on St. Stephen’s Day in Bekan. Roscommon followers will also remember Sligo beating Roscommon in the Connacht minor final at Dr. Hyde Park in the summer of 2021.

  Roscommon manager Liam Tully is well aware that his team face a tough test next Wednesday.

  “We know the quality that Sligo have. They were probably unlucky against Roscommon two years ago and last year they won in The Hyde at underage level. They have plenty of good young players and at home they will be confident that they can beat Roscommon so we will have to play well”.

  Liam says that there are a number of Roscommon players carrying knocks at the moment: “Paddy Gavin, Cian Glennon and Cormac Regan are all doubtful and we have a couple more lads who are not 100 per cent but hopefully they will come right over the next week or so,” he said.

  “We were happy enough with how we have prepared. We played in the pre-season league competition and we looked at a lot of players and we played Dublin in a challenge last week as well so we are happy enough with that”.

  The Kilbride man says that Roscommon will have to be ready for a major test and will need to perform if they want to win.

  “We have a number of lads who have experience from last year and that’s good, but what we need from the team is a good performance. If we can get that then the scoreboard will look after itself and hopefully that will mean a Roscommon win,” he concluded.

  This is a dangerous game for Roscommon. If there is any complacency then Sligo will make them pay. Sligo GAA is in mourning for one of their greatest ever young players, Red Óg Murphy, and emotions will be raw and it could well be a motivating factor for the Sligo players on Wednesday.

  In what will be a tight game, Roscommon should – with the likes of Daire Cregg and Adam McDermott up front – have enough to advance to the provincial decider.

Prediction: Roscommon.