Connacht Minor FC Final: Roscommon v Mayo at Dr Hyde Park on Sunday at 12 noon
Roscommon minor footballers can make history on Sunday in Dr Hyde Park if can retain their Connacht minor title. However standing in their way are old rivals Mayo, and while Roscommon deserve to be the 1/2 favourites with the bookies, seasoned followers of Roscommon football like yours truly know well that favouritism sits very uncomfortably on the shoulders of any Roscommon team, regardless of the code or age level.
Roscommon have been superb this year and Garreth Carroll and his selectors have prepared the team brilliantly. They have worked hard, scoured the county for talent and have come up with a strong panel that has worked diligently and who look a very strong side.
The success of colleges football in the county at various levels in recent years has been a help, and early in the year Roscommon had to play in the Connacht minor league missing several key players who were out through injury and who were unavailable for a variety of reasons. Despite those setbacks Roscommon retained the Connacht minor league which has given the players who played in that competition great confidence.
The opening championship game against Leitrim saw Roscommon turn in a powerful performance and they recorded an easy win. Against Galway it was a completely different game. It was tight, tense and exciting but both teams made plenty of mistakes and Roscommon held their nerve best to emerge winners after extra-time. That battle should stand to them as they prepare for Sunday’s game against Mayo.
The players who were part of last year’s win against Galway and that successful campaign will form the backbone of the Roscommon team on Sunday. Lads like Kevin Finn, Enda Smith, Thomas Corcoran, Ronan Daly, and the returning Cathal Compton will all have major roles to play on Sunday.
However there have been some super displays this year from Dennis Barron at full-back the hugely impressive Tadhg McKenna at centre half-back, Ultan Harney at midfield, Ruardhi McManus, Diarmuid Murtagh and Michael Gunning in attack. There are also several excellent players in reserve who can come in and do good job for Roscommon. It looks a strong Roscommon side.
Mayo have beaten Sligo to get to the Connact final. They will go in as underdogs but anyone who has studied Connacht football over the years will know that anyone who dismisses a Mayo underage team do so at their peril. Manager Tony Duffy will have his charges primed to cause a shock and they are capable of doing so. Watch out for players like Michael Plunkett, Adam Gallagher, Diarmuid O’Connor and Sean Regan who are top class performers for the Mayo side.
Minor football is notorious for turning up shock results. All one has to do is look back at least year’s All-Ireland final when Tipperary shocked the 1/5 favourites Dublin. That’s should be warning enough for Garreth Carroll and his palyers as they prepare for Sunday’s game.
Having said all that, this Roscommon team looks strong and determined and Garreth Carroll will be careful not to believe the bookies odds in the run-up to the game. Roscommon have never won two provincial minor titles in a row. They should do it on Sunday.
Match odds: Roscommon 1/2 v Mayo 2/1; Draw 15/2
Issue dated: 13 JULY 2012
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