Thursday, 24 April 2014

Tough test in London on Saturday

Nicky Rackard Cup (First Round): Roscommon v London on Saturday in Ruislip at 2 pm

Seamus Duke 

Roscommon hurlers have not had much time to savour their excellent win and promotion last weekend as this Saturday they face London in the opening round of the Nicky Rackard Cup in Ruislip.

  It has been a great few weeks for Seamus Qualter’s men. They had a ‘must-win’ game against Louth – which they duly won with a good bit to spare – and then last Sunday they battled their way to a great win over old rivals Mayo in Carrick-on-Shannon to lift the Division 3A title. As a consequence the team will travel full of confidence at the weekend. However London would be viewed as probably the strongest team in this competition. 

  Roscommon manager Seamus Qualter is looking forward to another tilt at ‘the exiles’. “We are going over there to give it a hell of a go. We were thrilled to win last Sunday and we celebrated on Sunday night, but we were back training on Monday night and we got those celebrations out of our system. 

  “We have a couple of injury worries this week. Ian Delaney is very doubtful at full-back after sustaining a leg injury last week, but we have Mark McLoughlin to step in there. We have also left a vacancy at full-forward because David Loughnane is struggling with a knock he got last Sunday. 

  “To have to go and play a championship game so soon after last weekend is not ideal, but we will get on with it now and give it a real hard go. Last year there was only a point between the teams and we were unlucky that day so there is not a lot between us. 

  There is a back-door element to the competition, which Seamus alluded to. “If we win we will be playing the following week again but if we lose then we will have another week before the next game. It is great to be going to London on the back of last weekend’s win but it will be a tough game. They are the team to beat in this competition but we will give it 100% and hopefully we can win it” he concluded. 

  The Roscommon team is likely to be almost the same as that which defeated Mayo in Carrick last Sunday. Padraig Dolan will again be the man between the posts while captain Shane Curley, Mark McLoughlin and Brian Donnelly will be the most likely combination in the full-back line. 

  Alan Moore, Micheal Kelly and Padraig Kelly played really well last weekend in the half-back line and they will line out there again on Saturday. John Moran and Declan Nolan will again be the first choice at midfield.

  In attack, Peter Kelleghan Kevin Conneely and ace free-taker Gary Fallon will line out in the half-forward line, while in the full-forward line Jamie Lawlor and John Coyne will be in the corners with either David Loughnane or Mike Keaveney (who came on as a sub last weekend) at full-forward.

  Hopefully the Roscommon lads can build on the momentum generated in the last few weeks and come home with a win under their belts. If they can win this one then Nicky Rackard Cup success would be very much on the cards this year.

Prediction: Roscommon.