Kepak Roscommon SHC Round 1 (all games in Athleague on Saturday evening)
Format: Two groups – Athleague, Tremane and Pearses (Group A). Four Roads, Oran, St Dominics and Roscommon Gaels (Group B). Top two teams in each group will qualify for the semi-finals.
Athleague v Tremane at 5 pm
The parish rivals open the 2009 Kepak Roscommon SH Championship and both teams will be without players who are involved with either the Roscommon seniors or minors.
Tremane will be without Niall Kilroy and Peter Keelehan for this game and both will be major losses. It looks like Tremane’s most accomplished player, Mike Keaveney, will also be an absentee through injury, so he will be a huge loss if he doesn’t play.
Athleague are a battle-hardened team full of excellent, experienced players. Lads like David Connell, Colm Moran, Tom Reddington, Mervyn Connaughton, Gary Fallon and others have been through the mill before and have the medals to prove it.
It will be competitive, but Athleague should win it by a few points.
Team managers – Tremane: Sean Farrell. Athleague: Paul Connaughton.
Four Roads v Oran at 6.15 pm
Four Roads have to be considered as possible county champions at the start of every season – and with good reason too, given their great record. This year they start their campaign with a very tough game against Oran, who may well be the dark horses in this year’s championship.
Four Roads have loads of experienced and skillful players and are always there at the business end of the championship. Oran are a team on the way up. They won the county hurling league earlier this year and come into the championship with lots of confidence. They will be confident of getting through their group and reaching the semi-finals at least.
Sunday’s game will set down a marker for the rest of the year and it could be very close. Maybe Oran to cause a surprise?
Team managers –
Four Roads: Adrian Tully. Oran: Colm Kelly and Padraig McInerney (joint).
St Dominics v Roscommon Gaels at 7.30 pm
After a very disappointing championship in 2008 for both sides, 2009 will bring new hope for these teams. With heavyweights Four Roads and Oran also in the group, it is going to be very hard for these teams to get a semi-final spot – and that means a win in this game is vital for both sides in preparation for the tough challenges later in the group.
Both sides have been working hard and this will be a close game. Roscommon Gaels looked like possible winners of the championship two years ago, but they have slipped back somewhat. St Dominics have struggled in the past two years and are a very young team.
Hard to separate the teams but The Gaels seem to have more experience and more good players in vital positions and may edge a close game by a point or two.
Team managers –
Roscommon Gaels: Mick Brehony. St Dominics: Christy Miley.
Prediction: Roscommon Gaels.