Connacht Championship semi-final Preview
Roscommon vs Galway on Saturday June 30th at 5.30 pm in Tuam
A mere week after recording their emphatic win over Leitrim in the opening round of the Connacht minor football championship, all roads lead to Tuam this Saturday where Roscommon will hope to book their place in the provincial decider at the expense of Galway.
Hopes have been high throughout the year that this current crop of Roscommon minors are good enough to retain their provincial crown and although they enjoyed a comprehensive win over a disappointing Leitrim team last weekend, a truer test of the teams credentials lies in store this Saturday.
This eagerly awaited semi-final clash is very important considering the winner will be - despite the result of the Connacht final – handed an All-Ireland quarter-final place, which would be Roscommon’s fifth in seven years.
Standing between them and that much coveted prize is a Galway team who themselves will have aspirations to make a mark this year, particularly when one takes into account how close they came to reaching an All-Ireland final last year.
The form which Roscommon have shown throughout the year would suggest that they are favourites going into the game, especially bearing in mind that they won the Connacht league – defeating Galway in the final – as well as their resounding win over Leitrim.
The Roscommon team which takes to the field should line-out close to the one which began the game against Leitrim. Shannon Mannion will start in goals with Phillip Neilan, Denis Barron and Cathal Kenny forming the full-back line.There is a slight injury concern over centre-back Conor Hussey – who had to be replace in last weekend encounter and if he is deemed unavailable Niall McInerney should deputise once more. Tadgh McKenna and Ronan Daly should fulfil the remaining half-back positions while Thomas Corcoran and Ultan Harney are set to form a formidable midfield partnership once more.
Their half-forward line should consist of Ciaran Casserly, Ruardhri McManus and Enda Smith while the inside trio of Michael Gunning, Kevin Finn and Diarmuid Murtagh, who accounted for the lions share of their scores last weekend, will once again form a potent combination up front.
Speaking to the Roscommon People this week manager Gareth Carroll highlighted the magnitude of the task which lies ahead this weekend.
“We’re under no illusions going into this game against Galway as we are well aware how good they are. They have a great pedigree and history within the game of GAA football so they’re always turning out good team year upon year.”
“They were very unlucky in last years semi-final against Dublin and they should have made it into the final on that occasion so they will always be a test for any team at this level,” explained Gareth.
“We played them in the Connacht league final so we know how strong they are. It’s a massive game for both sides so we are just really looking forward to it now.”
“The players have been working so hard as they have been all year long. They really are busting their gut in training and there is a massive competition for places, which is very healthy,” concluded Gareth.
The most worrying aspect about the nature of their one-sided win last Saturday was the fact that their resolve was never tested and although the game served as a good confidence builder, manager Gareth Carroll will have to ensure that his players feet are kept firmly on the ground.
They showed great potential in that encounter and if they replicate the form that they have shown throughout the year then they will certainly be a tough not to crack. Gone are the days when Roscommon minor teams travel to Salthill, Tuam or even McCale Park, Castlebar, in trepadation and there is no reason to believe that this current Roscommon team won’t add to the rise in fortunes being experienced by the county at this level in recent times.
However taking all factors into account, both the head and the heart point to a Roscommon win which would see them qualify for another provincial decider – their fifth in seven years.
Issue dated: 29 June 2012
© Roscommon People