TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Intermediate Quarter-Final
Roscommon v Laois on Saturday at Hogan Park, Moate at 3 pm
With the momentum of a Connacht final win against Sligo and qualifier wins against Meath and Fermanagh behind them, Roscommon’s ladies footballers face Laois with a place in an All-Ireland semi-final at stake this Saturday in Moate with quiet confidence.
The fact that Laois have just come down from the senior ranks and that they are playing in a division higher than Roscommon would indicate that they should be the hot favourites to win, but the formbook has shown that most of the teams left in this Intermediate championship are of a similar standard and are capable of beating each other on any given day.
Sligo, who were well beaten by Roscommon in the Connacht Intermediate final, were comfortable winners against Laois in the last round of the qualifiers and Laois will have to find far better form than that if they are to beat Roscommon on Saturday. They have some fine players, the likes of Erone Fitzpatrick, Laura Nerney, Ciara Burke, Eva Galvin and Claire Conlon are particularly impressive.
However, Roscommon have had a great championship so far and Helena Cummins has been rock solid between the posts. Honor Ennis, Rochelle Mullaney and Rachel Brady have been very impressive in the full-back line while Aisling McAuliffe, team captain Sinead Kenny and Amanda McLoone have been playing well in the half-back line.
Joanne Cregg and Jenny Higgins have been dominating at midfield and they will have to perform well again this weekend. Up front Michael Finneran has plenty of options. Laura Fleming was outstanding against Meath and Fermanagh and Jenny Downey, Sorcha Bruen, Niamh Feeney, Roisin Wynne, Alice Kelley, Rebecca Finan and Sheila Brady are all excellent operators in attack.
Roscommon manager Michael Finneran spoke to People Sport on Tuesday and is well pleased with how preparations have gone ahead of Saturday’s match.
“Everything has gone well since the Fermanagh game. We had a few knocks after that but they have cleared up. There were a few club games last weekend but everyone came through those fine and we have clean bill of health.
“Laois will be strong. They were senior last year and they operate in a division higher than us in the league so that’s to their advantage. We will be going into the match in a confident mood after a good campaign so far but it will be a big test.
“Hopefully there will be a big crowd there to shout us on. The crowds are getting better as the games go on and there is nothing better than winning to increase the interest. There is a massive prize for the winners: a place in the All-Ireland semi-final would be huge for this group and that’s our aim now.
“The victory in the Connacht final has given us great momentum and there is a great buzz about the camp and we are looking forward to the match. We want to be competitive and put in a performance on Saturday and see where it takes us,” he concluded.
The performances against Sligo, Meath and Fermanagh have shown a growing maturity about this Roscommon team. They were playing poorly against Fermanagh in the first half but they never panicked and they put in a great second half display to run out easy winners. There were equally impressive showings against Meath and Sligo.
The fact that Laois were beaten by Sligo will give Roscommon a huge boost going into the game although this will be a tight and tense championship encounter. Roscommon’s preparations have gone well and there is no reason why they cannot account for the O’Moore County girls and qualify for the last four.